A recent change to traffic patterns on South Water Street will be changed yet again by the end of July – this time, back to its original configuration.
Kittanning Borough Council approved a motion last night that will eliminate the center turn lane and future parking spaces along Kittanning Riverfront Park and opted to revert it back as it was prior to the street being paved.
The concept for the change in the traffic pattern came from a traffic study done as part of the Revitalization Project for Market Street. PennDOT had scheduled resurfacing of the South Water Street for this month, and has been in the process of laying down new pavement. However, after temporary markings were placed on the new pavement, numerous complaints from drivers and congestion as traffic approached Market Street caused Kittanning Police Chief Bruce Mathews to voice concerns to Council about the new configuration.
First Ward Councilman David Croyle said that although he liked the concept of parking along the park, it eliminated parking that was available in front of businesses along South Water and caused congestion.
“That center lane, which is the most used lane, is where they have the shortest turn lane,” Croyle commented. “So it backs up almost to Jacob (Street) at times when it is really utilized. So I have real concerns about that part.”
Armstrong County Planning and Development Assistant Director Carmen Johnson was not in favor of returning to the original configuration. She said Council would have to decide last night if that was their consensus because PennDOT was ready to lay the final top coat next week. After that is done, it could not be changed.
“Once the markings are down, (PennDOT) feels that everybody will adjust to it. It was a recommendation in the study by the advisory committee from the borough to go with that. It’s our recommendation that you stay with the configuration as it is.”
However, with the exception of Joie Pryde, who voted no and Betsy Wilt, who was not in attendance, the motion passed to return the street to its original configuration. Johnson said she anticipates the traffic pattern to be restored before the Fort Armstrong Folk Festival begins at the end of July.