Letters to the Editor: Downtown needs traffic control help

I attended the ACTR temporary Hub (bus stop) relocation meeting a few weeks back. At this meeting an issue that has concerned me for several years was mentioned. On numerous occasions I have been present when another vehicle has gone the wrong way through Court Square onto North Pleasant Street.
I have nearly been crashed into on a few of these occasions. Vehicles entering Court Square headed northbound on South Pleasant Street do not always follow the one-way path around Court Square. I feel this is often a result of the driver not being familiar with the area and the Middlebury traffic patterns. The current procedure of depending on a too small “Do Not Enter” sign about 30 feet away from the “Stop” sign obviously isn’t doing the job.
I have two suggestions that I think could help this dangerous situation immensely.
My first suggestion is better signage. A bigger “Do Not Enter” sign would be a great start. In addition, I think replacing the “No Left Turn” sign that accompanies the “Stop” sign with a clearly marked “Right Turn Only” sign might help clear things up.
My next suggestion I admit would be more expensive, but might become necessary if the problem persists even with the proposed signage changes. Raise the level of the fake stone between the pavement and the actual curb. This would move the curb out to a point where it would become clearer to drivers coming in all directions that this part of the road is not to be driven on. It should help those traveling northbound on South Pleasant Street to see that they are not supposed to keep going straight at that point.
I realize this would force drivers coming down the hill to turn left to travel further into the southbound traffic from North Pleasant Street. Let’s be honest, everyone traveling through that series of intersections needs to slow down and be more careful, anyway. There are several crosswalks, and the Court Square/ Pleasant Street/ Merchants Row intersection marks a starting point in the downtown area where bike riders are restricted to traveling on the street during normal business hours. Auto drivers have a lot to watch out for in this intersection.
This intersection is just one of several areas in Middlebury that demands attention. However, addressing this issue sooner rather than later would most likely save lives in the long run.
Ian Ross

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