Parishioners express concerns over traffic

2013-06-10T00:00:00Z 2013-06-10T11:36:05Z Parishioners express concerns over trafficJoyce Russell, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222

PORTAGE | Nativity of Our Savior parishioners Dorothy Hoover and Vivian O'Brien said exiting their church's parking lot is getting more and more difficult.

The two said they decided to take it upon themselves to approach Portage's Traffic Commission this week to seek help.

The two said it is not only difficult to exit the church property on Willowcreek Road after Sunday Mass, but is also difficult during weekdays when the church's school ends and parents are leaving with their children.

They initially asked the commission if something could be done with the timing of the traffic signals along Willowcreek Road to help with the flow of traffic.

The traffic count on the four-lane road indicates 25,000 vehicles travel the road each day, City Engineer John Hannon said.

And that the road has become more congested in the last decade.

Hannon explained traffic signals act independently and cannot, at this time, be connected or coordinated.

Director of Public Works A.J. Monroe said Portage has sought federal funds to improve traffic flow on Willowcreek Road from Central Avenue to U.S. 6, which will include improving the signals, but that the money won't be available until 2016.

Commission members also told the women the police department cannot commit members after services to help direct traffic. They suggested the church look into hiring off-duty officers or reserve officers to assist with traffic.

Police Capt. Ross Haynes said the best way to improve traffic flow from the church's parking lot is to limit exiting from the church to right turns only onto Willowcreek Road.

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