The “Traffic Study of Street Closures and Campus Expansion,” contracted to Burgess & Niple (B&N) by SSU, analyzed morning and afternoon peak hours of travel for three scenarios:
• Existing street network with estimated fall/winter semester student enrollment rates;
• Third Street closed to vehicular traffic (between Gay and Waller streets) with estimated fall/winter semester student enrollment rates;
• University Master Plan build-out street network (includes an estimated 40 percent increase in student enrollment).
The analysis shows that the changes in traffic patterns and volumes that result from scenarios 2 and 3 do not result in any severe detrimental impacts to traffic operations.
“The only potential traffic capacity and operational deficiency identified is the operation of the Fourth Street and Gay Street intersection for both scenarios,” the report said. “It was determined that westbound Fourth Street traffic may experience unacceptable delays while entering or crossing Gay Street. An apparent effective solution to this potential problem is to install a traffic signal at this intersection. All or part of the signal at Third Street and the existing SSU main entrance could be relocated to the Gay Street/Fourth Street intersection, since that section of Third Street would be closed to vehicular traffic.”
The only other potential concern, cited by the report, is an offset — or jog in the road — for north-south traffic at the intersection of Waller and Fourth streets in combination with increased traffic. The report said that could potentially cause some operational problems.
The Campus Master Plan realigns northbound Waller Street at that intersection to rectify the potential problem.
“However, if problems occur in the interim condition, dashed pavement markings can be placed through the intersection to help guide north-south traffic through the intersection, or signal phasing modifications could be considered that would provide separate signal phases for northbound and southbound traffic movements,” the report stated.
The Portsmouth Daily Times asked the university how the Master Plan could “realign” northbound Waller Street at the intersection with Fourth Street.
“I think it’s on our side,” SSU Communications Director Elizabeth Blevins said. “I think that there is a little jog there where we’ve got our entrance that we can move over.”
The report concludes that Fourth Street has the capacity to handle the closure of Third Street, with the two potential problems considered easy to fix.
Frank Lewis may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232, or email@example.com.