BEATRICE – The City of Beatrice will take different approaches on two long-time one-way streets. The city council has voted 6-2 to convert 8th Street between Ella and Monroe, to two-way travel. But it left 7th Street as a one-way northbound road between Ella and Monroe, after only one councilman voted to change it to two-way travel.

The actions were taken following public input Monday night on the traffic resolutions…the bulk of it from residents who live along 7th, like Kent Harlan.
"We like it. We live it, every day. You don't. You represent us. Leave Seventh and Eighth Streets alone. Now, you've already changed Eighth need to leave Seventh Street alone. I think there's benefit for what it does for the traffic that is going to be put back onto Sixth Street."

Councilman Ted Fairbanks favored switching 7th to a two-way street.  "It happens daily that somebody who is not from our community drives down it the wrong way, because they didn't see the sign or didn't notice it. It happens every single day. We've just been really fortunate. I just want to remind you all you can still drive down it....we're not closing it."

Janet Byars resides along 8th Street, which has been a one-way for southbound travel. She opposed the switch to two-way travel and said it’s been a one-way since the 1960s.  "In all the years that I've lived there, I cannot remember an accident occurring on 8th Street, other than at 8th and Lincoln. And, I think at one time there were a lot of accidents happening there, but I don't believe it was because of the one-way street. I believe it was because they were going through the stop sign."

In discussion of both streets, some council members said traffic speed may be one factor the city will have to examine. Vicky Kane, who lives along 7th Street, says it can get pretty fast at times.  "I would just like the traffic to slow way down because it is actually very terrifying to try to back out onto that street when you've got people drag racing on 7th. By the time they hit my house, they're doing 40-miles-per-hour."

Harlan says it may not be necessary to alter speed limits, if police officers address the speeding issue, occasionally.  "They didn't come and baby-sit my house. They didn't park in front of my house. But, if you go another block north of my house, those that launch from 7th and Lincoln, are probably into that $424 range (fine) by the time they break that hill. And you know what? They only have to write a few...and the problem solves itself."

Mayor Bob Morgan said he appreciated the way the public responded and gave input about 7th and 8th. "It was a very professional and well-thought-out conversation and I truly appreciate that."

With the council approving the change on 8th Street to two-way travel, City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer said the change will take place around May 1st…allowing time for signage and installing stripes on the street to show it as travel in both directions.