Should busy street in downtown Owensboro be blocked off?

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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) – City leaders are considering closing off a well traveled block in downtown Owensboro. The board of commissioners met tonight to discuss safety in the popular destination area.

Safety is the key word for a couple of business owners we spoke to earlier who support blocking this portion of the street – especially during events and on weekends.

They say an accident which happened right here where their customers were eating — may have prompted further conversation.

“A couple guests that were quite shaken up due to the trash can flying through their table….It was scary for quite a few patrons,” said Jared Bradley of The Famous Bistro.

Just a couple of weeks ago, a motorcycle plowed through a couple of steel planters and ran up into a busy sidewalk narrowly missing the sidewalk tables. The incident raised more concerns among business owners along this strip of 2nd street between Allen and St. Ann.

“I would say that that definitely had a hand in it. I know. It’s something that a lot of downtown business those have talked about for years, honestly. So I think it was just one more thing in the pile of reasons,” said Bradley.

Today’s work session among Owensboro commissioners took a closer look at the city’s options for safety along 2nd Street in downtown Owensboro, especially as more events and people make their way to this block.

Owensboro’s city engineer presented data to open up the conversation.

“We’ve reviewed some accident history, we’ve done a speed study, we’ve reviewed the traffic signal coordination,”

Another 2nd street business owner says he feels traffic signal coordination is a great start.

“It doesn’t cost anything. So there’s no taxpayer money invested into it. It literally from what I understand it’s a flip of a switch to change it to change the timing online,” said John Condray of The Pub on 2nd.

He says it would slow traffic down and help take the strain off of Owensboro police.

“We have more significant issues in the city than to be concerned with people driving rhirty in a twenty-five,” said one OPD officer.

But closing the block for events and weekends could backfire causing traffic congestion in the surrounding area.

“You see that, you know, there is a significant amount of vehicles that use that and, and just just shutting it down does impact the transportation network.”

“You let them know that you know, streets downtown, or close on these dates, you put the detour sign out,” said Condray.

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