A Jefferson City businessman’s concerns about the safety of his customers may lead to modifications at the downtown intersection he characterized as “Russian Roulette.”
Kris Nocula, owner of Polished Nail Salon on Bolivar Street, petitioned the city to change the intersection of West Main and Bolivar streets from a two-way stop to a four-way stop because he was concerned about the line-of-sight where the roads intersect.
“It’s really a Russian Roulette to enter the intersection because you can’t see any oncoming traffic, and they’re not stopping,” he said.
Members of the Transportation and Traffic Commission, which received the request, said Thursday they agree with the line-of-sight concerns, but weren’t sure about Nocula’s proposed solution.
Roger Schwartze, commission chairman, said he doesn’t think the proposed solution is right, but there is a problem there with parking.
City Engineer Tia Griffin said based on city standards, the stop signs are in the right places, but there are other potential options that could help address Nocula’s concern.
She said there have been four accidents in the intersection over the last 10 years.
“They are all turners intersecting with a car they didn’t see,” Griffin said.
The area at the intersection along Main Street — in front of Paddy Malone’s Pub — is a loading zone, which means vehicles are only supposed to park there when making a delivery to one of the businesses. Otherwise, it is a no-parking zone.
“Looking at sight distance on the intersection, when there’s nobody in those no parking zones, there’s plenty of sight distance,” Griffin said. “When somebody parks in the no-parking area, then you can’t see, particularly if it’s an 18-wheeler off-loading.”
Nocula and several commission members said they’ve regularly seen non-delivery vehicles parked there — particularly during peak business times.
Schwartze said he spent some time at the intersection observing it to prepare for the discussion and noticed a sight distance issue.
“You cannot see when there’s a truck there,” he said.
Griffin said the city can put a no-parking sign up, which would be in addition to the delivery zone sign, without changing anything within city code.
However, the commission wanted also to explore other options.
For instance, they discussed whether the loading zone could be moved farther from the intersection or extended, but parking is also a concern.
While some businesses have private parking lots, the area mostly relies on street parking — which is available on both roads.
They also discussed whether Bolivar Street could work better as a one-way road that would funnel people around onto West Water Street back onto West Main Street.
Bolivar Street, when heading toward the Missouri River, turns into West Water Street.
Another point of discussion was whether there should be a crosswalk at the intersection, which there isn’t at the moment on either road.
The commission asked city staff to come back at next month’s meeting with options to consider.
They also want more input from the owners and employees of businesses in that area about what they think should be done, if anything.
“I’m concerned about my employees and customers,” Nocula said.