The City of Pine Bluff Traffic and Aviation Committee on Tuesday decided against temporarily closing a street to combat illegal dumping. It also agreed to improve signage near the intersection of Sixth Avenue and University Avenue to prevent wrecks.

In January, Pine Bluff City Council Ward 4 Alderman Steven Mays proposed blocking off a street in west Pine Bluff where illegal dumping is most problematic. The proposal would have blocked Lee Street from West Short Third Street to West Fifth Avenue. Mays called the closure a temporary measure until a permanent solution to illegal dumping could be found.

The wooded, less-populated west side of Pine Bluff is a popular site for illegal dumpers. They deposit yard waste, furniture and other household items, which spares the time and cost of a trip to the Jefferson County Landfill. The landfill is located a little over 14 miles northwest of central Pine Bluff. In addition to being an eyesore, the garbage clogs storm drains and drainage ditches. Heavy rain washes the garbage into yards and floods the streets, residents have said.

Members of the traffic and aviation committee, which includes Pine Bluff Aldermen Donald Hatchett, Glen Brown Jr. and Win Trafford, said blocking the street isn’t the answer to the problem.

“We’re not going to block the street,” Trafford said. “That doesn’t solve a problem, it just moves a problem [to another street].”

The committee voted instead to refer the issue to the public health and welfare committee, of which Hatchett is the chairman.

Mays said in a telephone interview he still would prefer the street to be closed for 30 days. But he said he supported moving the issue of illegal dumping to the public health and welfare committee in order to explore other solutions.

Hatchett predicted the committee would meet within 30 to 45 days to consider alternative solutions to illegal dumping. Potential options include installing security cameras in dumping areas and coordinating with Waste Management, Inc. officials and city code enforcement officers. The city’s municipal code may also need revision to mandate that landlords require tenants to dispose properly of waste, he said.

Hatchett said a Torrance, California, surveillance camera firm named Q-Star Technology has contacted him about installing security cameras for the city to combat the dumping issue. The cameras are solar-powered and can record license plate numbers when it is dark, according to the company’s website. The plate numbers can later be used in court to prosecute dumpers.

The committee also resolved to improve signage where Arkansas 190 and Sixth Avenue merge. A yield sign at the merger often confuses motorists driving eastbound on 6th Avenue near Scallion’s Car Wash, committee members said.

Adding to the confusion, they said, is that motorists frequently do not realize the two-lane road is one-way. That has led to accidents when drivers attempt to turn left onto Locus or Ash Streets from the right lane. They collide with motorists in the left lane who have merged from Arkansas 190 onto Sixth Avenue.

Committee members agreed to meet with relevant planning and traffic officials to replace the yield sign with a stop sign and to install at least one traffic sign stating that the road is one-way.