The Knoxville City Council approved a trial run for potential street improvements at the intersection of Roche and Robinson Street starting on Tuesday.

Based on a study done in 2018, the Traffic Engineering Assistance Program recommends the city remove seven parking spaces on the north and south sides of the intersection to open up visibility and maintain driver safety. The program also recommends creating a four-way stop by adding stop signs for east and west traffic.

City Manager Aaron Adams mentioned the city currently does not meet the program’s Triangle of Safety regulations, and the intersection is one of the biggest complaints the city receives. Knoxville Police Chief Dan Losada stated there have been four accidents in five years at the intersection resulting in two injured individuals.

While removing parking spaces and creating a four-way stop would help driver safety, Losada stated two businesses currently use the parking spaces the program recommends eliminating. Additionally, an apartment complex nearby with no parking relies on off-street parking in this area.

Adams and Losada sought council member’s guidance on the proposal. Council members stated they would prefer to speak with business owners who would be impacted by limited parking before moving forward with a decision. There were also mixed feelings on what course of action would be best for the city; some members thought eliminating the parking spaces would suffice, but others thought a four-way stop sign would be more beneficial for driver safety.

“The impact here is human lives and property damage at that corner,” said council member Megan Suhr. “I understand that business owners may not like this, but what’s safest for our community is the most important thing.”

Council members have decided to speak with business owners and perform a trial run before approving any action on the project. Starting on Tuesday, the city will temporarily block off parking spaces that could potentially be removed and encourage feedback from the community.

“I think this is the best first step,” said Suhr.

In other news:

- Mayor Brian Hatch signed two proclamations declaring the week of May 19 as Emergency Medical Services Week and National Public Works Week.

- Council members held a public hearing regarding minor changes to the Senior Center Lease Agreement. The lease received no verbal or written objections, and council approved the agreement.

- Council members established the alley between South Second and South Third Street as a one-way alley running east to west for a book drop-off at the new Knoxville Public Library.

Emily Hawk can be reached at ehawk@pellachronicle.com or by calling the newsroom in Pella at 641-628-3882.