In FD, new direction

New traffic patterns will be in place next week near Fort Dodge Senior High and St. Edmond Catholic Schools.

In that area, Sixth Avenue North will be converted to one-way traffic with all vehicles heading eastbbound. A center turning lane will be added to 10th Avenue North.

The changes will go into effect late Tuesday, after needed signs and street markings are in place.

They’re intended to ease traffic flow in an already busy area, and prepare for the opening of the new Fort Dodge Middle School at 10th Avenue North and 32nd Street, according to Chad Schaeffer, the city’s director of engineering, business affairs and community growth.

Sixth Avenue North

Sixth Avenue North is now a one-way street with all traffic going east between Ninth and 22nd streets. The road converts to two-way traffic east of 22nd Street, near St. Edmond Catholic Schools.

Schaeffer said leaders of St. Edmond asked city officials about two years ago to convert the street near the school to one-way traffic. He said that would support a plan to turn the doors on the building’s north side into its main entrance.

“We’re trying to provide better traffic flow through that area for buses and parents doing drop offs,” Schaeffer said.

To achieve that goal, Sixth Avenue North will be converted to eastbound traffic between 22nd Street and Martin Luther King Drive.

Parking will be prohibited on the north side of Sixth Avenue North along that stretch.

Stop signs will be placed on Martin Luther King Drive at the intersection with Sixth Avenue North. Those signs will make it easier and safer for vehicles to turn out of Sixth Avenue North, according to Schaeffer.

“Right now, you do get stuck there,” he said.

Fort Dodge Community School District officials had previously expressed some concern about making Sixth Avenue North one way to Martin Luther King Drive because some people reach the senior high school by going west on Sixth Avenue North and turning north onto North 25th Street.

Doug Van Zyl, the school district superintendent, said the one-way traffic pattern is still ”a little bit of a concern.” He said school officials will work with students and parents to make sure everyone understands the new traffic pattern.

“It really is all about enhancing the safety all around the school,” said Tom Chalsrtom, an executive consultant who has worked with the St. Edmond staff on a variety of projects. “We’re just pleased that the city is cooperating.”

10th Avenue North

Schaeffer said 10th Avenue North between 22nd and 29th streets will have one lane of eastbound traffic, one lane of westbound traffic and a center turning lane.

The turning lane, he said, “allows left-turning vehicles to get out of the flow of traffic and it protects them to make that left turn movement.”

Parking will not be allowed on that section of 10th Avenue North.

Stop signs will be placed on 10th Avenue North at its intersection with Martin Luther King Drive. Those signs will facilitate left turns from Martin Luther King Drive, according to Schaeffer. He added that they will also create “traffic gaps” that will enable turns at the senior high school parking lot and 29th Street.

Crews from Iowa Plains Signing Inc., of Slater, will paint the needed street markings and install the signs for both the Sixth Avenue North and 10th Avenue North projects. The company will be paid $9,000.