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Aldermen hear recommendations for Main Street improvements

File photo

West Main Street from the old courthouse to Highway 72 in Jackson is in for a facelift, if plans proposed by the Lochmueller Group (traffic consultants) are approved by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

The Main Street Corridor Pedestrian Safety Study was paid for by a grant which the City of Jackson received from the state.
Kyle Evans, project manager for the Lochmueller Group, presented key findings during a Board of Aldermen study session April 17.

Several things adversely affect pedestrian safety on West Main Street, Evans said. They include excessive traffic speed (the mean speed is about 30 mph, but the posted speed is 20 mph), gaps in the sidewalk (areas where there are no sidewalks), poor sight lines for cross-street traffic (areas where it is hard to see traffic coming) and frequent curb cuts (entrances and exits to parking lots).

Each solution that Evans presented was conceptual in nature and would require additional engineering and design before being implemented, he said.

As short-term solutions, Evans first suggested that a double yellow line be painted down the middle of Main street. This tends to slow down drivers as they stay on their side of the line.

Secondly, curb extensions were recommended for the intersections of Main and Barton, Missouri, Russell and Oklahoma streets.

Moving the curb (and part of the sidewalk) out into the street at these corners shortens the distance pedestrians have to walk across the street and makes pedestrians preparing to step into the street more visible to drivers. It also allows cross traffic to inch out further away from buildings, making cross traffic more easily seen. Curb extensions also slow traffic by emphasizing pedestrian traffic. Curb extensions can be added without taking away any parking spaces.

Thirdly, parking lots that now have five access points (curb cuts) could have those access points reduced to three.

Fourthly, it was also recommended that some parking spaces on West Main Street be removed if they block the view of Main Street traffic from cross streets. When one alderman objected to removing any parking spaces Uptown, it was admitted that the City did a good job of marking no-parking spaces near intersections, and it probably was not necessary to eliminate any parking spaces.

Some other possible improvements might be the addition of transverse rumble strips to slow traffic at the Hubble Creek Trail crossing and between High and Barton streets as westbound traffic approaches the roundabout.

A four-way stop is being considered for the intersection of West Main with Missouri Street. Buildings come out to their lot lines on two of the four corners, reducing line-of-sight distances; left turns can be difficult at certain times of the day; some students walking to and from school cross at this intersection; and there are more traffic accidents here than at other Main Street intersections.

A Lenco employee mentioned that company employees cross Main Street at Oklahoma Street, one block west of Missouri Street, and they risk getting hit by cars. She recommended a four-way stop sign be placed at Oklahoma Street instead.

City Engineer Anna Berg-mark suggested that future studies look at both intersections to see which (if any) would work better for a four-way stop.

Long-term solutions recommended by Evans include:

• Raising the pavement of Main Street to sidewalk level at the intersection of High Street (in front of the old courthouse);
• Adding new sidewalks west of Farmington all the way to Highway 72;
• Realigning the intersection of Main and Farmington (and adding a left turn road so southbound Farmington traffic can turn left into Uptown Jackson);
• Continuing the historic-style lighting from Missouri Street to Farmington Road; and
• Adding a crosswalk with pedestrian signals where Farmington crosses Highway 72 (this requires working with Mo-DOT since Highway 72 is a state highway).

Raising Main Street to sidewalk level at the intersection of High Street would slow down traffic, alerting drivers to the fact they are entering an area with high pedestrian traffic.

The V-shaped crosswalks in front of the courthouse would be replaced by crosswalks that would go straight across Main on each side of High street. This shortens the distance it takes pedestrians to cross High Street.

Evans will send a final report to MoDOT in early May. “Prior to that we will be working with Anna and [Public Works Director] Janet [Sanders], working on final revisions,” Evans said.

Once the study is completed, the City will decide which short-term improvements to make, and look for funding opportunities (such as federal grants) for the long-term improvements.

In other action

• Election: The Board of Aldermen accepted the certified election results of the April 4 election.

Later in the meeting, City Clerk Liza Walker administered the oath of office to Mayor Dwain Hahs and Aldermen Wanda Young, David Hitt, Katy Liley and Shana Williams. Williams is the only newcomer; she defeated Tommy Kimbel in Ward 4.

Kimbel received a plaque from Mayor Dwain Hahs for his years of service to the city as an alderman (2011-2023) and as a police officer (1979-1996).

“I appreciate everything that everybody has done,” said Kimbel as he bid farewell. “It has been fun working with everybody. I want to congratulate Shana. I have no regrets.” Speaking to her, he added, “Good luck to you. I wish you the best.”

“I want to thank Tommy for his service,” said Alderman Katy Liley during the informational go-around. Other aldermen and city officials echoed her sentiments.

• Tiny houses: A public hearing was held to consider a text amendment to Chapter 65 (Zoning) regarding the addition of provisions for defining and limiting tiny houses.

Jackson resident Bob Lichtenegger spoke in opposition to the ordinance as it was written. He said he was not opposed to tiny homes, but he felt they should be limited to their own zone, so once a zone was approved, each tiny home owner would not have to go through the process of acquiring a special use permit.

Alderman Wanda Young agreed.

The aldermen later refused to approve the proposed ordinance, and they chose instead to table the matter until a future meeting.

• Juneteenth: The regular meeting and study session of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen was moved from Monday, June 19, to Tuesday, June 20, in observance of the Juneteenth holiday.

• Public Works tile and flooring: A bid of $1,509.71 from Main Street Flooring & Interiors, LLC, of Jackson, was accepted, and a contact was authorized for replacing tile and carpet in the Public Works office in City Hall.

• Bonds: The aldermen authorized the issuance of combined waterworks and sewerage system revenue bonds, Series 2023. These bonds represent the final portion of the $11.5 million in bonds approved by voters on Aug. 4, 2015.

• Civic Center: The aldermen approved a $15,370 task order to Koehler Engineering & Land Surveying, Inc., of Cape Girardeau, for engineering services on the Civic Center pavilion and playground project.

• Hwy. 61: A municipal and Cost Apportionment Agreement was approved between the City and Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission relative to the Highway 61 bridge replacement (over Hubble Creek) and roadway improvement project (between the roundabout and Route D). The City will pay for half the cost of moving utilities from under the roadway to under the sidewalk. MoDOT will pay for all the rest of the work.

The aldermen also granted a temporary easement to MoDOT for construction purposes.

• Board updates: The aldermen were updated on recent meetings at the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Park Board.
Preparations are being made for renovations at the municipal pool.

Bleachers are expected to arrive May 1. Field 2 still needs some concrete footings set for the bleachers.

The City is waiting on a date for delivery of the Union Street restroom.

Outdoor basketball courts will be refurbished and new fencing is expected to be installed at the basketball and tennis courts.

New dugout netting has been ordered for the softball field. The new dugouts that were installed have netting below the railing but not above the railing. The new netting will offer added protection above the railing.

The pool schedule was approved and a two-hour pool party will be donated as a prize for this year’s “Walk Jackson” program.

• Comprehensive Plan: The City has received a draft of the Comprehensive Plan prepared by consultants Houseal Lavigne Associates. A committee met April 12 to review the draft and decided it needed more time to review it. The next committee meeting was set for April 20.

An updated draft is expected to go to the Planning and Zoning Commission for its review on May 10 or June 15.

• Rezoning: During study session, the aldermen heard a request from the City to rezone 403 and 409 E. Main St., and 108 S. Georgia. Homes in that area are currently zoned I-2 (heavy industrial), which does not allow residential use. The City would like to rezone them as C-3 (commercial), which allows residential use. If something should happen to these homes, owners would not be allowed to rebuild or repair their homes as residential houses because they are non-conforming uses. The property owners are being contacted to make sure they want the zoning changes made.

If they want the changes, this matter will come before the aldermen for approval at a future meeting.

• Roof repairs: The aldermen were alerted to the need for roof repairs to Water Well No. 5 and the Water Sale Station. The aldermen will vote on the matter at their next meeting.

• East Jackson Blvd. street lights: The City received a proposal from Strickland Engineering to update 2005 engineering specs to install lighting along East Jackson Boulevard. The $38,000 fee includes getting MoDOT permits, design, etc.

The city plans to install 130 street lights between the ALDI location and I-55, about 3-1/2 miles.

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at

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