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Talks rekindle about widening Market Street in Marion

MARION (WSIL) — Drivers and business leaders who use North Market Street can tell you that driving along the road is like walking a tightrope.

Mayor Mike Absher says vehicles on that road tend to sway towards the centerline so they can avoid hitting parked cars along the street. Absher says it has contributed to traffic accidents over the last few years.

"Cars are getting bigger, people are unfortunately driving faster", Absher said. "There’s a lot of distracted driving that’s going on that’s not just on the interstate that’s on the square and on local roads too."

Since August 2014 there have been 16 traffic accidents on north and south Market Streets, none of them fatal. However Absher wants the problem to be addressed before a serious injury occurs as a result of the tight road.

"My biggest concern is with that little margin of error you can easily see a small child or anybody for that matter accidently stepping out one foot too far between a car," Absher said. "if you can rip a car door off, you can mow a child down."

Some businesses have no problem with the idea of eliminating one side of parking on Market Street. Meredith Ashe, who owns M Boutique on Market Street, says she sees drivers getting frustrated daily. She hopes any decision the city makes can lead to safer driving.

"You never know, maybe it will actually slow people down due to the fact that they don’t have to speed through past a car," Ashe said.

Other businesses aren’t optimistic about the idea. One business leader tells News 3 that the lack of parking behind their business will affect their business negatively. Mayor Absher says he’s contacted every business along Market Street to find out how to craft the best possible solution.

"There’s a handful (of businesses) that have no other option," Absher said. "That’s our biggest concern right now.

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