ST. MARYS — Motorists heading west onto Indiana Avenue from Defiance Road could soon be able to turn right on red.
Members of the St. Marys Traffic Committee voted to send a recommendation to city council that would allow for right turns on red at the intersection of Indiana Avenue and Defiance Road, near the Auglaize County Council on Aging, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. John Bubp, the 1st Ward Councilor, asked the matter be referred to the committee during last week’s city council meeting.
“To my knowledge, that was put up last year at the request of the Auglaize County Council on Aging due to the driveway that exited and entered onto Indiana Avenue for the council on aging,” Interim Safety-Service Director Craig Moeller said. “From what I heard, they said by people leaving the council on aging, they look to their left, and people stopped at the red light on Defiance. The people leaving the parking lot would go out onto Indiana Avenue and the person would turn right on red and there were some close calls in the past.”
St. Marys Police Sgt. Tim Eberle said the driveway leading from Indiana Avenue into the council on aging could get “a little hairy.”
He also mentioned traffic could impact the turn lane because motorists heading west on Indiana Avenue often move into the right lane as soon as they enter the intersection.
“I actually thought the reason it was implemented was I noticed in the warmer weather, several senior citizens walk,” Eberle said.
“It can be a real challenge getting across Indiana Avenue and then you add on people turning on red.”
Committee members Robin Willoughby and Dennis Vossler expressed some visibility because the roads do not form a 90-degree intersection.
“I just drove it a week or so ago and I thought if you sit in the right-hand turn lane and a car sitting beside you is going through the intersection, you don’t have much sight vision down to the east on Indiana Avenue because of the angle of the road,” Vossler said. “The road kind of sits out in front. There’s not a lot of sight down there.”
Bubp said constituents repeatedly complained about the no turn on red sign at the intersection.
The matter will be brought before city councilors during their meeting at 7 p.m. Monday.
Committee members also discussed the no turn on red sign coming out of the Shoppes at St. Marys. Moeller said that regulation was put in place so residents living along Hillcrest Drive can exit without battling traffic.
Vossler said officials may want to consider capping Hillcrest Drive where it meets Spruce Street to create a cul-de-sac and make the traffic exit another way.
“That is nothing but a real bottleneck right now,” Vossler said.
“It’s just too close to that intersection and as that stuff grows out there at that mall, it’s getting busier and busier and more and more traffic. We did the same thing up on Indiana Avenue with Perry Street.”
Committee members opted to keep the no right turn on red in effect.