Merrillville To Study Traffic Woes

Merrillville To Study Traffic Woes

If you drive through Merrillville, you will most likely experience traffic woes at various times of the day. It is not unlike most cities and towns throughout Lake County, Indiana. But Merrillville wants to seek answers as to how to deal with the issue.

Town Council President Rick Bella (D-5th) read from a prepared statement during Tuesday’s Merrillville Town Council meeting to explain that although the council has made great strides to calm the traffic in town, much more needs to be done.

The council then unanimously approved a motion to start the process for a Request for Proposals for a town-wide traffic study. Merrillville will pay for the work with American Rescue Plan Act funds that the town has received.

“It seems like driving habits have changed with motorists driving way over the posted speed limit, TEXTING while driving, talking while holding cell phones, and generally not paying attention to traffic signals,” Bella said. “Speeders are all over even throughout our neighborhood streets and shockingly even the streets that the speeders live on. And that is just a real ‘head-shaker.’ You live here, and you speed in your own neighborhood?”

The town has installed several radar speed limit signs, speed humps, and even added stop signs, but the council realizes that more is needed. “We see that better street configurations, properly timed traffic signals, and right-turn lanes can assist, but we need a comprehensive plan, not a continuation of a Band-Aid approach,” said Bella.

Council members all agreed it’s necessary for a traffic study in town that would include a plan for the Town Council to consider making improvements in our traffic flow. A plan, done by a qualified engineering company, will help the town prioritize and focus on the worst areas of town first to gain relief. Knowing where stop signs are needed, signals, turn lanes, and even street markings to assist drivers could make a big difference.

Councilman Shawn Pettit (D-6th) said that he hopes that Merrillville’s police force would realize the seriousness of this and keep that in mind when stopping speeders in town. “We should not be just giving warnings, those should all be tickets,” he added. Police Chief Kosta Nuses said officers are writing tickets every day, but with such a large problem, it will take more than just that to stop bad drivers.