Options presented in transportation study

Photo submitted – Among the options presented in the city’s multimodal transportation study is to convert S. St. Marys Street into a two-way corridor while simultaneously eliminating through traffic on the S. Michael Street side of the Diamond. Photo submitted – A second option for Diamond area traffic improvements consists of a modified modern-day roundabout in the area near the theater. Photo submitted – A new alignment of state Route 120 between state Route 255 to Brusselles Street is one of the proposed phases of the city’s multimodal transportation study.
By: 
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

Findings of the city’s multimodal transportation planning study were discussed during a public meeting in which options were presented in an effort to improve traffic flow throughout downtown and surrounding areas.
The study is the city’s latest endeavor to delve into solutions to traffic patterns causing congestion and safety issues within the study area of downtown, Maurus Street (state Route 255) and configuring a connector to Brusselles Street to the airport industrial park.
City Manager Tim Pearson said they welcome the public’s input on the options presented. A full description of those options are available online at surveymonkey.com/r/StMarysMPS, where residents may provide feedback through the survey.
Representatives from Michael Baker International, the engineering firm who completed the study, were on hand at the meeting to present their findings.
The project would encompass two phases. Phase 1 focuses on downtown St. Marys improvements, specifically establishing a connector from SR 120 (State Street) between SR 255.
This would require a new alignment of SR 120 between SR 255 to Brusselles Street. The new road would serve as a bypass route for east-west traffic and would minimize existing conflict points while improving street system efficiency.
One significant challenge is right-of-way and property impacts where the new road would be constructed.
Phase one fails to solve the Diamond’s inherent traffic control and pedestrian accessibility issues. Its ultimate goal is contingent upon improved access to the airport from Brusselles Street.
Phase two focuses on Diamond area improvements and consists of two options.
The first option would convert S. St. Marys Street into a two-way corridor while simultaneously eliminating through traffic on the S. Michael Street side of the Diamond. This option would reduce existing vehicle conflict points and pedestrian crossings around the Diamond, decrease the impacts of tractor trailer traffic on the downtown, and improve access to ATA’s transit facility on Depot Street.
Option one poses challenges of increased pedestrian crossing lengths and potential right-of-way and property acquisition impacts.
The second option consists of a modified modern-day roundabout in the area near the theater. This would transform the Diamond configuration where entering motorists would yield to those that are circulating.
Option two would provide shorter pedestrian crossings at intuitive locations, additional green space, and improved access to ATA’s transit facility on Depot Street.
Potential concerns include community acclimation to the new traffic pattern and design feasibility.
The Maurus Street corridor was identified to be in need of traffic calming and increasing pedestrian accommodations due to the presence of Elk County Catholic High School and Penn Highlands Elk hospital.
Proposed improvements consist of the following:
nEstablish consistent posted speed limits. Currently the speed limit along that road is 25 mph from downtown to ECC where it increases to 35 mph, then again to 40 mph after the hospital.
nEnhance pedestrian crossing facilities by reducing marked crosswalks to minimize vehicular conflicts, install marked crosswalk signage and stripe edge lines to reduce travel lanes. Currently the road’s travel lanes are 19 ft. wide and decrease to 14 ft. wide in the residential area.
nEstablish a 15 mph school zone speed limit.
nImprove visibility at pedestrian crossing facilities by installing rectangular flashing beacons at marked crosswalks and bulb outs, a traffic calming measure, for priority crosswalks.
The Brusselles Street to airport connector improvements include removing the Rosely Road approach to Trout Run Road/Brusselles Street intersection, realigning Trout Run/Carbon Road intersection to provide north-south through movement and stop control on Eschbach Road approaches, improve the turning radii at Carbon Road and S. Michael Road intersection and reconstructing S. Michael Road and Airport Road between Carbon Road and the airport industrial park.

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