GREENFIELD — Traffic jams and fender benders on the north side of Greenfield have prompted officials to consider redesigning traffic patterns in the city’s retail district.
City officials are working with VS Engineering, a Indianapolis consulting firm, to conduct a study to determine whether a traffic signal is warranted at the intersection of Barrett Drive and New Road, north of Wal-Mart.
Plans are in their infancy, but construction could begin as early as this winter if weather is mild, said city engineer Karla Vincent. Officials don’t yet have cost estimates on the project.
Barrett Drive is the small stretch of street that gives drivers access to Greenfield Corner — the shopping center that houses Home Depot and Gander Mountain — to the north and Wal-Mart to the south. With Kohl’s and PetSmart slated to open north of Home Depot by year’s end, traffic in the area is expected to increase, officials say, and a stop light at the intersection with New Road could help traffic flow and make that portion of New Road safer.
Stop signs control traffic pulling out from Barrett Drive and Melody Lane, the street that runs near the plaza housing Starbucks and Qdoba, onto New Road, but oncoming traffic doesn’t stop. Drivers looking to turn onto New Road from either street have to wait for traffic to break on the street that sees as many as 14,000 vehicles per day in the area, according to traffic counts from the Indiana Department of Transportation.
Greenfield Police Maj. Derek Towle, who tracks accidents in city limits, said the volume of traffic combined with the number of vehicles turning to local stores and restaurants likely lead to fender benders.
In the past year, the intersection has seen 10 accidents, and eight of those were the result of a driver failing to yield to an oncoming vehicle.
A stop light in the area will cut down on those types of crashes, he said.
With the signal project at Barrett Drive, officials will also consider restricting left turns from Melody Lane onto New Road by installing a median, said Mayor Chuck Fewell.
Because Melody Lane is too close to State Road 9 for a stop light, and left turns from the street are difficult for drivers to make, officials hope to direct drivers to Barrett Drive for left turns once the stop light is installed, Vincent said.
“Right now, (with) drivers turning left, there is an unsafe situation,” Vincent said. “The whole New Road corridor is a busy one, even without retail.”