Ashland Commission votes to alter traffic around KDMC

May 26—ASHLAND — Motorists around King's Daughter Medical Center know the area has been a briar patch full of traffic confusion.

Thursday, the Ashland City Commission voted to adjust some of the traffic flow and parking in the area where an expansion is underway that will see a portion of Bath Avenue become a part of the new wing to the hospital.

Going by recommendations from the city's traffic task force — Commissioner Amanda Clark and Police Chief Todd Kelley both said it was a lengthy meeting to hash out the details — the commission voted to remove a stop sign on 23rd Street heading north on Central Avenue and adding stop signs at 24th and Central.

Currently, 23rd Street dead-ends at Central, due to the construction fencing up at the sidewalk, that encompasses the 2300 block of Bath all the way up to the hospital.

"Twenty-fourth Street is the new 23rd Street," Kelley said. "It's where the main flow of traffic is going to get to the hospital."

Additionally, a set of stop signs at 23rd and Bath was formally nixed off the city's books — it's well within the construction zone and is not a street anymore.

Residential parking was also reduced in the area, mainly due to the fact most of the houses were torn down and turned into parking lots. Kelley said two residential houses still standing in the area of Bath and 25th Street had parking on their property so they would be unaffected.

Street parking on 24th Street between Lexington and Central, on Montgomery from 23rd to 25th and on Bath from 22nd to 25th was also eliminated.

Kelley said the parking, largely used by employees of KDMC, poses an issue with emergency vehicle access at the current ER entrance and at the loading docks.

Since construction has begun, Kelley said Montgomery has become a more common route to the ER entrance, but due to parking on the right-hand side when one is approaching the hospital, only one ambulance can pass through at a time.

He also said delivery trucks going to the loading docks at the intersection of 23rd and Montgomery didn't have enough room to turn around — if they backed towards Lexington, it could pose a risk to emergency vehicles trying to access the ER.

Kelley said the changes would probably not be the last and more adjustments were needed as construction progressed.

Here are some other highlights from Thursday's city commission meeting:

—The city commission voted on second reading to buy a $1.9 million ladder truck for the fire department, to be paid out of the capital purchase improvement fund. The city will have to pay $977,030 up front for the truck, then $930,213.98 upon completion. Estimated delivery date is three years.

—The commission congratulated graduates of Paul G. Blazer High School, who are set to walk tomorrow. The commission also praised recent ribbon cuttings and asked folks to have a safe Memorial Day.

—City Manager Mike Graese said improvements at the parks include the butterfly garden at the river front, the opening of Dawson Pool on Saturday and inspection and replacement of flags. He also said city schools are participating in a storm drain mural art program and the city's water treatment plant will be hosting an Ashland Alliance Business Afterhours on June 8, to show off its improvements.

(606) 326-2653 —