SUNBURY — A traffic study was conducted earlier this year by the Sunbury Police Department at a busy intersection near the new Big Walnut High School.
In a letter to Sunbury City Council, Officer Justin Whiteside said that during school day mornings on West Cherry Street and Miller Drive “the increase of traffic happens between 7:15 a.m. to 7:40 a.m. After 7:40 a.m., the traffic resumes to normal with no assistance needed.” The study took place in January, when the new high school opened to students.
Whiteside said he briefly used a handheld device to control the traffic lights, but it did more harm than good.
“The main area of concern now points to North Miller Drive at Tippett Court,” Whiteside wrote. “Vehicles are trying to turn left onto Tippett Court from North Miller Drive. The vehicles are unable to do so because of southbound North Miller Drive traffic.”
For example, a morning school board meeting held at 7:30 a.m. caused “a dramatic increase in traffic in all areas,” “resulting in vehicles getting stuck in the intersection.” The district’s administration building, where the meetings are held, is at 110 Tippett Court. However, a McDonald’s at 85 N. Miller Drive. also attracts a lot of traffic at that and other times. Two other businesses across from the drive thru on Tippett get their share of traffic — an OhioHealth office and the Noah’s Ark Learning Center.
Three recommendations were proposed. One was to make North Miller Drive a one-way entrance during the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up hours (2-4 p.m.) at BWHS and Prairie Run Elementary, with those drivers exiting on Kintner Parkway.
Another recommendation was that “the city consider a left-hand turn lane on North Miller Drive to Tippett Court. This would help with the congestion with northbound traffic.”
It was also suggested the Big Walnut Board of Education change the time of its monthly morning meetings.
In other Sunbury news, council passed four ordinances by emergency on first reading on Feb. 2. The first approved the final plat for Sunbury Rolling Hills section one, next was the purchase of a Chevrolet Tahoe police vehicle from Tim Lally Chevrolet, and the other two involved the creation of separate new community authorities.
The city is seeking a new finance director. Administrator Steven Pyles said current Finance Director Kathy Belcher will retire at the end of the calendar year, and they want “to have someone on board for a few months prior to that time to assist in the transition.”
Sunbury is also seeking a worker at its Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Also in the city, the Big Walnut Civic Association said the Community Easter Egg Hunt is on from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on April 9 at General Rosecrans Elementary, 301 S. Miller Dive.
Finally, the March 30 council meeting has been cancelled.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.