Cleveland eyes Highland Avenue traffic

Cleveland eyes Highland Avenue traffic

October 30th, 2012 by Paul Leach in News

The intersection of 8th Street and Highland Avenue, near Arnold Elementary School in downtown Cleveland, Tenn., has been the scene of a number of accidents.

Photo by Paul Leach/Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The intersection of Eighth Street and Highland Avenue is receiving a lot of attention from several quarters of the city government.

At a recent meeting, Cleveland officials discussed their concerns and possible solutions to prevent accidents at the intersection, located between Arnold Elementary School and the city's greenway.

"Something needs to be done, and it needs to be more than just the city police slowing traffic as it comes down Highland with radar," City Councilman Bill Estes said. "Something needs to be done at that intersection before someone is paralyzed, before a kid is hit."

Estes asked whether a four-way stop sign might help because a contributing factor is the speed of vehicles going downhill, headed north on Highland.

Removable speed tables -- large wide humps in the road -- could be a solution, Councilman George Poe suggested.

Another problem is a pair of side-by-side communication poles at the intersection that cause line-of-sight problems, others said.

Canon & Canon Inc. of Knoxville will perform an analysis of the intersection, and Cleveland Utilities is working with Charter Communications and AT&T to try to eliminate one of the poles, according to city officials.

Estes said several pieces of "soft information" should be factored into Canon & Canon's assessment.

First, he said, is consideration of the frequency of accidents at the site. Destroyed mailboxes and "T-bone" impacts are not uncommon, he said, citing three accidents in the last six weeks.

He described a recent automobile collision resulting in one vehicle plowing through a neighbor's yard, leaving its bumper in the home's basement, and cutting a gas line.

Another major issue is the amount of pedestrian traffic in the area, Estes said. Residents walk along the streets to and from the greenway entrance at Willow Street.

But a greater concern for Estes is Arnold Elementary foot traffic. He said increasing numbers of students from Brown Avenue, which is one block away, cross Highland as they go to and from Arnold, which is on Eighth.

"More kids walk to Arnold than any other school in our city schools," Estes said.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.