The Norfolk City Council is hoping to convince the Nebraska Department of Transportation of the need for yellow traffic warning lights that the traffic signal ahead is about to turn red at a couple of busy intersections on Highway 81, which is 13th Street through Norfolk.
The topic came up Tuesday during the public comment session at the end of the council meeting. Public comment periods are held periodically in which citizens may offer their comments.
A Madison citizen made the suggestion, saying the yellow flashing light coming into Norfolk headed north over the viaduct, similar to what takes place on Highway 81 south of the viaduct, is needed.
The yellow flashing light gives truckers and others a warning, which seemed to help red light runners stop the other way.
The citizen said three times in the past six months, he has seen trucks coming down the viaduct going north with their momentum and they go through the intersection with Omaha Avenue, including a cattle truck at about 40 mph.
“I was just hoping that someone from the east wasn’t going to pull out in front of him,” the man said. “I think this is pretty important because I don’t think it is a matter of if (a fatal crash) is going to happen, but when.”
Steven Rames, the city engineer, said he agrees the yellow light would be effective. Rames and council members said this topic comes up periodically.
“We have taken that conversation to the Nebraska Department of Transportation,” Rames said. “They’ve indicated it can work, and vice versa, where it can speed up traffic as the truckers will actually increase speed as a matter of trying to make that light.”
Rames said the conversation hasn’t gone away, and the city is doing what it can.
City officials and council members said they would look at other ways as well to get traffic to slow down coming off the viaduct.
Mayor Josh Moenning said that because 13th Street, also known as Johnny Carson Boulevard, is part of the state highway system, at minimum the city would need the state’s OK for those warning lights.
Moenning and Rames said they also believe that getting input from citizens could help to get those lights installed.
Council member Rob Merrill said it might be time to have the council pass a resolution urging the yellow light. Council member Shane Clausen said he agrees, but he also might like to have 13th Street and Benjamin Avenue included.
During a public comment session last December, a citizen spoke about the danger of people running yellow lights on the northern part of 13th Street, including on Benjamin Avenue.
The Norfolk City Council met Tuesday evening at the Norfolk City Council chambers.
Council members present: Mayor Josh Moenning, council president Rob Merrill, Kory Hildebrand, Gary L. Jackson, Corey Granquist, Frank Arens, Andrew McCarthy, Thad Murren and Shane Clausen.
Council member absent: None.
Meeting lasted: 40 minutes, in addition to a 5:15 p.m. meeting of the Community Development Agency.
Others in attendance: City staff, about 10; media representatives, three; and five from the public.
— Conducted a public hearing to receive a report on findings and suggestions from the economic development citizen advisory review committee as required by statute. Randy Gates, Norfolk finance officer, said citizens serving on the committee are Cindy Morrow, Brandon Day, Aaron Otten, Jan Einspahr and Kathie Means. Gates serves as an ex officio, non-voting member. The committee met on June 2 and found that the city’s economic development program is operating in compliance with the budget and the voter-approved economic development plan. Nobody from the public commented.
— Approved a resolution for the preliminary planned development on property generally located immediately northwest of Legacy Bend Sixth Addition at the request of Innate Development.
— Approved the second reading of an ordinance annexing a tract of land generally located about one-fourth of a mile east of North 37th Street and south of West Eisenhower Avenue. The ordinance passed on first reading June 6.
— Approved the second reading of an ordinance annexing a tract of land generally located immediately west of part of Walters’ East Knolls 13th Addition. The ordinance passed on first reading June 6.
— Heard Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning issue a proclamation for June as National League of Cities Small Cities Month.
— Approved the keno report for May.
— Approved the mayor’s appointment of Chad Bryant to the Norfolk Planning Commission to complete the term, ending February 2025, of Melissa Figueroa.
— Approved the mayor’s appointment of Trentee Bush to serve a three-year term on the tree advisory board, beginning July 2022.
— Approved the mayor’s appointment of Lonn Atwood to serve the remainder of board member Tim Haley’s term on the tree advisory board expiring September 2022.
— Approved an assignment of agreement to occupy county road right-of-way between Elkhorn Rural Public Power District and the city.
— Approved forwarding no recommendation to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission on the manager application of Kelsey K. Cole in connection with the Class C liquor license of VFW 1644, 316 W. Braasch Ave.
— Approved a special designated liquor license requested by Norfolk Panther Booster Club, a nonprofit organization, to serve beer, wine and distilled spirits at the Norfolk Armory, 817 S. First St., from 4 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. for a fundraiser on Friday, Aug. 19.
— Approved an agreement with Fatt Sunnie Studios and Big Bang Boom to close a portion of Magnet Drive immediately west of North Victory Road for the purpose of filming a scene for a community film event, which includes the use of pyrotechnics and city emergency vehicles and personnel, on Friday, July 15, and Saturday, July 16, (with a rain date of July 16-17).
— Approved an agreement with The Zone Afterschool Program, allowing the use of a portion of Central Park to hold a Rock the Block event, including but not limited to carnival games, music provided by a DJ, raffles and selling food on Saturday, Aug. 6.
— Approved an agreement with Lutheran High School Association of Northeast Nebraska, allowing the use of the football field in Veterans Memorial Park for football games, scrimmages and practices through June 30, 2023.
— Approved an agreement with Christ Lutheran Church of Norfolk (also known as Christ Lutheran School), to hold a cross country meet in Skyview Park on Saturday, Sept. 10.