FD street changes pondered to ease traffic

A long stretch of 10th Avenue North will be converted into a three-lane street this summer to ease traffic congestion near Fort Dodge Senior High School and the new middle school.

Doing that will require some new lines to be painted on the road and the elimination of on-street parking.

A bid to further reduce traffic congestion in that area by making Sixth Avenue North a one-way street between 22nd Street and Martin Luther King Drive faces an uncertain future after some City Council members said Monday night that they were opposed to the idea or hadn’t made up their minds regarding it.

Plans to alter both streets to ease school-related traffic were presented to the council Monday by Chad Schaeffer, the city’s director of engineering, business affairs and community growth.

His plan to alter 10th Avenue North between 22nd and 29th streets was welcomed by the elected officials.

He proposed creating a center turn lane to accommodate vehicles turning left. The revamped street would have one east-bound lane, one west-bound lane and the center turning lane. No costly construction will be needed to make the change. The only costs will be for painting lines on the street and putting up ”No parking” signs.

”Certainly it’s going to see increased traffic,” Schaeffer said of the street. ”How much, I can’t say.”

He also proposed making another part of Sixth Avenue North a one-way street, with all traffic going eastbound between 22nd Street and Martin Luther King Drive.

Now, Sixth Avenue North is a one-way, eastbound street between Ninth and 22nd streets.

The change was requested by leaders of St. Edmond Catholic Schools, and it would support the plan to make the entrance on the school building’s north side the main entry point. That change is expected to draw even more traffic to the Sixth Avenue North side of the school.

Schaeffer said officials from Fort Dodge Senior High School asked that the new one-way section end at North 25th Street, which leads to the front of that building.

However, Schaeffer said he believes that’s a bad location to end the one-way section. Extending the one-way section to Martin Luther King Drive is a better plan, he said.

Councilmen Dave Flattery and Andy Fritz said they are in favor of making the street one-way as Schaeffer recommended.

Councilman Robert ”Barney” Patterson first said he was in favor of making the road one-way between 22nd and 25th streets. He then suggested making it one-way to Martin Luther King to test the idea for at least one school semester.

”Why don’t we go ahead and make it one-way out to Martin Luther King and try it and see what happens?” he asked.

Councilmen Kim Alstott, Dean Hill and Mark Taylor said they are opposed to making the street one-way.

”It might fix their problem, but it moves it to a different spot,” Taylor said.

Councilman Don Wilson said he wanted to wait until after the new middle school opens at 10th Avenue North and 32nd Street so that city officials could see how that will impact traffic flow in the area.