NPJ sat down with City of Natchitoches Police Chief Micky Dove to talk about the new traffic sign explaining the proper way to turn off of St. Clair Avenue onto Williams Avenue. The new signs states “Vehicles Entering Bridge Must Obey Traffic Light.”
Chief Dove explained that this means that vehicles on St. Claire Avenue turning onto Williams Avenue must come to a complete stop at the stop sign and use their turning signal to indicate whether they are turning right or left. Vehicles wishing to turn right to head north on to Williams Avenue or cross onto the Church Street Bridge will then merge onto Williams Avenue and must obey the traffic light before proceeding.
“If the vehicle on St. Clair that is heading north on Williams Avenue or crossing the Church Street Bridge doesn’t follow the traffic light, then there is no control of traffic. This may cause an accident and if it does, then the vehicle coming off St. Clair is at fault,” said Dove. “This intersection is very complicated. Before we start issuing tickets we are going to give the public time to get used to the sign, at least 30 days. I have been in communication with the City Court and the City Prosecutor so everyone knows what is going on.”
Before the meeting with Chief Dove, NPJ observed the corner of St.Clair Avenue and Williams Avenue for an hour to see if residents are catching on. Three out of four vehicles turning off St. Clair Avenue completed the action properly while some others still had difficulty. It seems that when one car pulls up to the stop sign everything goes smoothly but once a second or third car approaches things get sticky. The first car pulls up to the stop sign, makes a complete stop, uses their turn signal to merge right on to Williams Avenue then uses their turn signal to indicate if they are crossing the Church Street Bridge, which is correct, but once the light turns green the second vehicle waiting at the stop sign would also merge on to Williams Avenue which is incorrect. Sometimes, even a third or fourth car would attempt to dart through the intersection which is illegal. Another common mistake is rolling through the stop sign to merge on to Williams Avenue without making a complete stop at the stop sign, which is also illegal. A few vehicles, that may have not noticed the new sign, stopped at the stop sign and proceeded without observing the traffic signal. Then there were the vehicles who did everything correct except they would fail to use their turning signal at all. Hopefully, the new sign and instructions from Chief Dove will sink in before the 30 days are up.