• Bill Raines

Obstructing Traffic - City Officials Must Consider Future Traffic Patterns - Lincoln Plaza

OPINION- BEDFORD - SEPTEMBER 5, 2022 - The Bedford Board of Works passed a ordinance for Lincoln Plaza to use an alley for its drive through window located between 6 1/2 and 7 1/2 Street during its August meeting.


In August 2018 both lanes of 15th Street are blocked by Bedford Middle School parents who pick up their children


The Bedford City Council members passed the same recommendation up until the final passage, giving residents in the area time to respond to the proposal.


Under previous city administrations this could have passed the same night without any type of input from the public. Under rules for ordinances, can be suspended passed at the third passage. City council member Dan Bortner has always felt that the public should be given the opportunity to respond to actions for the city council.


Many times, city residents are unaware of any action being taken by the city, until the meeting have already taken place.


The city council will be taking up the consideration for Lincoln Plaza to use an existing alley as a pick-up of prescriptions for COVID -19 and elderly patients. Steven Anderson says this will help with the customers not having to come into the store and make access easier.


Bedford City Council is considering turning an alley between 6 1/2 street and 7 1'2 street so patrons of Lincoln Plaza can utilize a proposed drive-through window at the business


While this is a great benefit to the customers of the business, city officials must be equally concerned about the public safety, traffic patterns and affect it will have on future traffic to the area.


In Bedford, there is no highway engineer to make determinations or studies on the proposed changes. Therefore, the police chief and highway departments will make recommendations based on observing the traffic flows in the areas.


The city has not done a very good job in this area, and on several occasions allowing certain business and the North Lawrence School Corporation to allow motorist to park and obstruct traffic have been permitted.


The first being the North Lawrence Community School Corporation to block both lanes of 15th Street from O Street to M Street causing major traffic back-ups and failing to allow through traffic to use the city streets. This problem has been reversed along N Street obstructing traffic on a less traveled street during school pick-up at Bedford Middle School, currently on a less traveled street.


For the majority of residents and people using the streets for this purpose is not a big deal as they benefit from this action. However, the residents who live and must try to navigate through the congestion it does affect them more than one might realize.


Starbuck's Parking and drive through has been an equal frustration to motorists traveling a busy 16th street to find the lanes of traffic being obstructed by customers trying to enter into the parking lot of that business.


A sign was put up along 16th Street to address traffic congestion and public safety issues after motorists try to get into the parking lot at Starbuck on Bedford's westside


The situation at Starbucks has been much more of a public safety issue as traffic accidents, near misses, and major traffic congestion have been reported.


City of Bedford city council members must carefully weigh the issue, not only for the business it represents, but equally the residents who live in the neighborhood and are affected more by the decision. The decision may have more of a future impact than while traffic congestion and counts are not that great at the time.


For a city to allow the obstruction of traffic is concerning within itself. The motorists at all three of these locations could be charged with obstructing traffic.


What is obstructing traffic


1) a Class A misdemeanor if the offense includes the use of a motor vehicle.


(2) a Level 6 felony if:

(A) the offense results in serious bodily injury.

(B) the person blocks an authorized emergency vehicle (as defined in IC 9-13-2-6) while the vehicle is:

(i) responding to an emergency call.

(ii) in the pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law; or

(iii) responding to, but not returning from, a fire alarm.

if the vehicle is using visible or audible signals as required by law; or

(C) the person obstructs the entryway to a facility that provides emergency medical services; and

(3) a Level 5 felony if the offense results in catastrophic bodily injury or death.

(c) A person who unreasonably obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic commits a Class C infraction.

(d) It is a defense to an action under subsection (c) that the obstruction was caused by a vehicle malfunction.


As added by P.L.158-2013, SEC.508. Amended by P.L.188-2015, SEC.130; P.L.174-2021, SEC.76.


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