Stop signs signal swift change of pace on HooperPublished 8:21pm Thursday, June 27, 2013
Those who travel down Hooper Drive on a regular basis are likely to see more brake lights illuminate the street because of several changes that were put in place this week to slow down drivers on the street.
Hooper Drive is a major thoroughfare through the west side of Selma, with a 25 mph speed limit, and is now home to new stop signs and will soon welcome speed tables.
The two new stop signs appeared Tuesday, creating a three-way stop on Hooper Drive and the corner of Atkins Avenue. The city council, in addition, approved the insertion of several speed tables on Hooper in a unanimous vote during Tuesday’s meeting.
Ward 3 Councilman Greg Bjelke said the city placed the stop signs there to slow down drivers after residents on Hooper expressed concerns about constant speeders.
“There was a mom in particular with young children and on several occasions cars had come around the corner, over corrected and landed in her front yard and took down her light pole and mailbox,” Bjelke said.
When Bjelke gathered a petition for the speed tables, he said multiple residents told him about their dogs hit by speeders and witnessed countless accidents where drivers speeding around the curvature of Hooper Drive, crashed into other cars over the years.
Sgt. Roy Nix of the Selma Police Department confirmed there was an accident involving the new three-way stop Wednesday, when a driver stopped at the sign traveling north from Dallas Avenue and the driver behind them failed to stop, not knowing the signs were placed there.
While a petition was created for speed tables, no notices to the residents were required and no petition was created for the three-way stop. Bjelke said the issue came up in a discussion at a previous council meeting and Selma Mayor George Evans said he approved of the three-way stop if it was needed.
“This is to slow down traffic. It has nothing to do with the bridge closing on Dallas Avenue,” Bjelke said about speed tables, asking the council to consider approving their implementation. “As everyone knows, the curb there on Hooper has quite a few accidents and little children who live there.”
The bridge on Dallas Avenue, over Valley Creek, will be closing at the end of July and will be replaced by the Alabama Department of Transportation. The city and ALDOT have already put signs in place for the detour route around the bridge and Hooper Drive is a key part of that detour, leading to a projected huge increase in traffic.
In addition to the speed tables on Hooper, Bjelke is considering several different types of speed tables based on available funds for his ward for infrastructure improvements.
Bjelke said several he has considered would allow for emergency vehicles, traveling to Medical Center Parkway, to go over them at full speed but normal passenger vehicles would have to slow down to 25 mph or slower.
Bjelke said he would like to see the speed tables installed in the next six weeks, but would prefer to place them on the road as soon as possible once they have been selected.