Traffic at Powell’s downtown intersection — known as Four Corners — has plagued its residents for some time, but Powell City Council is considering an additional measure to keep traffic moving through its busy downtown.
During Tuesday’s council meeting, city officials listened to the first reading of an ordinance that would further limit left turns at the Four Corners intersection. Currently, left turns are prohibited from 4-7 p.m during weekdays. If passed, the new ordinance would extend those prohibited hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for all days of the week.
In June, Powell’s Operations Committee held a public forum to get feedback from residents and business owners on what they would like to see done at the intersection.
Councilman Brian Lorenz, who chairs the Operations Committee, said he was very pleased with the turnout at the forum, as well as the involvement of most everyone in attendance in stating their opinions on the matter. He said the feedback was “sort of all over the board,” with many favoring a full restriction and plenty more okay with the current 4-7 p.m. restriction on weekdays.
Lorenz said the Operations Committee spent nearly four months discussing the Four Corners, and after several discussions and the public forum, the unanimous decision from the committee was to extend both the prohibited hours and the days in which those hours are enforced.
“The philosophy on that is from an enforcement standpoint, it makes more sense. The learned community, it makes more sense to have something that is constant,” Lorenz said. “We felt a 24-hour ban was unnecessary simply because of the volume of traffic counts that occurred outside of those hours.”
Lorenz added there are typically only two to three officers on duty throughout the night, and the proposed hours will allow the officers to “enforce it a little more proactively.”
Councilman Brendon Newcomb stressed the importance of the enforcement, saying, “No matter what we did, we’re really going to need the police department to enforce these rules.”
Vice Mayor Tom Counts, too, said he was interested in the enforcement of the ordinance, should it pass. Counts said he, like so many others in Powell, have seen plenty of instances where drivers continue to hold up traffic as they attempt to turn left during the restricted hours.
Lorenz suggested taking the ordinance to a second reading to allow the public another opportunity to weigh in on the proposed hours and days extension. The ordinance will be discussed again at the next council meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 20, at 7:30 p.m.
Police Chief Steve Hrytzik is expected to be present at the Aug. 20 meeting to weigh in on how the police department expects to enforce the extended restrictions.
Once the ordinance is passed, it will not go into effect until 30 days following its passage. It is expected the necessary signage for the downtown intersection will take three weeks to be ready for installation but will be ready to go when the 30-day period ends.