Shannon Carter calls the intersection of Donnybrook Avenue and Loop 323 “the worst stretch of the loop.”
A solution to traffic problems on the section of Donnybrook that runs alongside Robert E. Lee and empties onto Loop 323 was the goal of the city's traffic and safety board that met Thursday.
The situation is the most challenging in the mornings and afternoons when school is in session, Peter Eng, city of Tyler traffic engineer, said.
Major traffic snarls happen before and after classes, and students, buses and parents are trying to make right and left turns from the section of Donnybrook near the school.
Ms. Carter, who was not at the meeting, also said the medians don't help the situation at that location, calling them “ridiculous.” The traffic and safety board touched on medians as a concern, but they were not the focus of the discussion.
Eng and the board members discussed solutions to the problem but weren't able to find one Thursday.
City officials added a left turn lane from Donnybrook onto Loop 323 near the high school for a short time, but had to cover the arrows because drivers were pulling too close to the intersection, over the painted space bar. The space bar is the white painted strip drivers should stop behind at a traffic light.
“If a person stops too close to the space bar or on it, it doesn't leave enough room for the buses to get through in the morning,” Eng said. The buses need a much wider turning radius, he said.
The board members and Eng discussed adding a right turning lane to Donnybrook near the high school to allow traffic to turn right onto the loop, or relocating the guard shack from its current spot on Donnybrook to Independence Place. Vehicles stopping at the guard shack can slow traffic, Eng said.
Any decisions on relocating the shack would have to go through the school board and district officials, Eng said.
“I am sure they are aware of it,” he said.
Adding a right turn lane to Donnybrook would be difficult because the land on that spot slopes downward toward a creek and would need to be leveled, and a retaining wall would need to be added, Eng said.
“There is no easy solution,” Eng told board members.
Tim Loper, director of facilities for Tyler ISD, said that a former Lee principal had suggested moving the guard shack a few years ago.
“But there are no plans now to move the guard shack,” he said.
Records of crash data from the Tyler Police Department for 2008 through the present showed the intersection has between five and six accidents each year. The most common cause was the failure to yield in a left-hand turn to oncoming traffic, the records show. Disregarding a stop sign or signal was the second most common reason for an accident to happen, according to the police records.