While school is out for a four-day weekend, the residents of the south side of 17th Street may be enjoying a break from the high school students racing through their alley, but a more permanent solution may be around the corner.
After the residents’ concerns were first aired at a Havre City Council meeting a few weeks ago, a couple of options were considered to try stopping Havre High School students from driving so fast through the alley that opens almost directly into the northwest corner of the high school parking lot.
Students trying to leave the school, particularly during the time-crunch of lunchtime, would take the alley to avoid the high traffic volume of other students taking 17th and 18th streets.
The initial proposed solution was to post a 15 mph sign in the alley to let students know they need to slow down.
While discussing that solution, Havre Public Works Department Director Dave Peterson offered an alternative that his department had come up with, making the alley one-way going east. The argument was that students couldn’t drive quickly westward, away from school, and are not frequently in a hurry to get back to school.
At Monday’s council meeting, Mayor Tim Solomon said that city officials had heard differing opinions from 17th Street residents about what they preferred.
On Thursday afternoon, Solomon said that he and other city officials are waiting to hear back from the council members and police officers who are talking to those residents and trying to come up with a solution for everyone.
Walking door to door along 17th Street on Wednesday afternoon, a Havre Daily News reporter found that residents had support for both solutions.
Some thought that the one-way would be inconvenient for them throughout the day as they regularly approach their homes from both directions.
Others thought that the one-way would be more effective.
“A speed limit is just a speed limit, ” said Paul Nelson, who lives on 17th Street. “You can’t always have someone patrolling there. ”
Though most felt that something needs to be done, everyone who answered their door expressed concern for neighborhood children and pets, as well as their own well-being.
“If you try and back out of your garage around noon, it’s dangerous, ” Nelson said.
When asked which method he preferred, Solomon said he thought “the one-way definitely corrects the problem completely. ”
He said that, if the thoughts of the residents are gathered in time, action could be taken as soon as the next council meeting on Monday, Nov. 7.