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Citizens' traffic concerns highlight Auburn City Council meeting

<p>Auburn's City Council meets in the City Council Chamber at 141 N. Ross St. on May 4, 2021.</p>

Auburn's City Council meets in the City Council Chamber at 141 N. Ross St. on May 4, 2021.

 At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Auburn residents highlighted concerns associated with the continued influx of new residents and their vehicles. 

Chief among those concerns were through traffic between U.S. Highway 280 and North College Street as well as the availability of parking around Felton Little Park.

“I really implore you to strongly consider a traffic circle there [the intersection of Watercrest Drive and Asheton Lane], vehicles travel way too fast and there are too many kids there,” an unidentified resident said. “I get up every morning at 5:15 a.m. during the school year, I did this last year and I do it this, and I put out three orange cones there to slow the traffic down because the school busses stop right there.”

The convergence of Watercrest Drive and Asheton Lane sits at the bottom of a hill that can produce poor traffic visibility in a residential area used for higher-speed through traffic.

Ward 3 Councilwoman and Mayor Pro Tem Beth Witten agreed that something needs to be done.

“I personally think we do need something at that intersection,” Witten said. “Years ago I asked for a three-way stop because I do know the south end of Watercrest will eventually open and that will turn into a blind hill.”

However, there was no consensus on what should be done to alleviate the problem.

To build a requested traffic circle, City Manager Megan McGowen Crouch said that the city would likely be required to purchase private property, which would not be an inexpensive proposition.

Other preexisting traffic calming measures in the area have also been unpopular.

“I’ve received not only from Mayor Pro Tem Witten but other complaints from people in Ashton Lakes and Park that our speed bumps are very, very hard to see and also very challenging to get their cars over,” Crouch said. “To install additional devices would be at the will of the neighborhood; if they are interested in it, it certainly can be studied.”

Closer to downtown, parking has continued to be a headache as Auburn’s population continues to grow.

That has been evident around Felton Little Park, located on East Glenn Avenue and next to several apartment complexes.

According to Herbert Walter Denmark, Jr., the constant use of the parking lot, especially around the Halloween weekend, has become noticeable.

“I’m not sure if that’s public parking,” Denmark, Jr. said. “I know a lot of people park there for a lot of reasons.”

While parking at Felton Little Park is available the general public during the week, it has increasingly become scarce to those that need it during the workday. 

“We’re having a number of issues with parking not being available in this complex and across the street because we have adjacent multi-family residential that is now using it as full time parking,” Crouch said. “Our intent was for it to be temporary parking, as in daily parking for people, not monthly or yearly parking.”

Crouch mentioned that the next City Council might need to take a look at current parking ordinance around the park.

“We are running out of parking for things that we need around here, including ball games at Felton Little because of it,” Crouch said.

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Daniel Schmidt | Assistant News Editor

Daniel Schmidt, senior in journalism, is the assistant news editor for the Auburn Plainsman. 

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