The afternoon rituals of many Havre High School students will soon be interrupted as a popular shortcut through the alleyway south of 17th Street will be made one-way going east.
That will force the teenage speed demons into the flow of the rest of the 17th Street exodus as school lets out for lunch and at the end of the day.
After spending a few weeks considering options on how to handle alley traffic after complaints from residents in the area, the Havre City Council voted on Monday night to install one-way traffic signs in the alley, but not without consideration of alternatives.
At first, council member Allen “Woody” Woodwick proposed that the council simply place speed limit signs in the alley, reminding drivers they can only go up to 15 mph, as was originally proposed by the Streets and Sidewalks Committee.
Mayor Tim Solomon said he personally leaned toward the one-way option.
Acting Police Chief Gabe Matosich said that his officers had checked with residents in the area and said, “most everybody was good with the one-way. ”
Woodwick said he had heard some concern voiced about that proposal.
Council member Janet Trethewey said that simply having a sign in the alley would probably do little to solve the problem and that a patrolman would be required to actually have any effect.
The argument that a one-way would be more effective, as students are more likely to be in a hurry to get away from school, was restated by a few members of the council.
Council member Pam Hillery said that her son, a Havre High student, has definitely been in a hurry to get back to school to avoid a detention for tardiness. Regardless, she said, she would prefer the one-way sign.
The council voted 3-5 on Woodwick’s initial proposal, with Robert Kaftan, Cal Long and Woodwick supporting the 15 mph sign.
With that motion voted down, Woodwick then proposed the city place the one-way sign in the alley, which passed unanimously.
Solomon said this morning that he didn’t know when the sign would go up, but it would be as soon as the Department of Public Works could erect it.