Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Grant Neighborhood to talk Calming Traffic on Fairgrounds Road

On Thursday, March 7th at 6:15 p.m. in the Grant Community School Library (725 Market St NE), the Grant Neighborhood Association will talk about traffic calming on Fairgrounds Road.

Fairgrounds at Norway:  School and bikeway crossing
Church in-line at far end of Fairgrounds
You might recall last fall when a driver killed himself while speeding when he failed to navigate the turn from Fairgrounds Road onto Hood.  The road is a wide, straight shot, a configuration that encourages speeding.

Killed Self Driving into Church
This has been a persistent problem, and over the years several drivers have run into the building on the corner, which is now operated as a Sunday school.

Fairgrounds turns onto Hood, with Church in-line on Fairgrounds
The neighborhood has been interested in barricades where the yellow directional signs are presently installed.  As you might suppose, the signs do not stop a speeding car! At the last neighborhood meeting, City Traffic Engineer Kevin Hottman discussed possible solutions:
Kevin Hottman discussed the problem with impaired drivers and high speeds at this intersection that have resulted in multiple crashes. In the past, the city has installed signs, flashing beacons, solid striping through the intersection and reflectors. None have been completely successful. The intersection will not allow the placement of Jersey barriers because the ends cannot be protected and that yields a dangerous situation.

Kevin brought aerial photo maps with a preliminary layout of the City’s proposal to place a meridian in Fairgrounds Road/Hood Street from Norway to Broadway. The meridian would be 6’ wide and bike lanes (required by law with redevelopment of streets) would be added. Parking would be eliminated. Travel lanes would be 11’ wide. Crosswalks would be maintained with protected areas at the meridian.
Proposed Median from Norway to Broadway in Yellow

The neighbors preferred, and Kevin supported, landscaping the meridian with trees and shrubs. The ground may also be mounded. Maintenance would be by the parks dept. and might include inmate work crews. Neighborhood involvement would be deemed too dangerous in the middle of traffic. The intent is to narrow the view, forming an almost tunnel like affect, to control drivers and slow them down. Left turns will be restricted from Fairgrounds at Church and Cottage, but there are alternative choices. The most impact to parking will be in the area of Shipping.

An alternate idea presented by a neighbor from Highland is to place small side islands and an isolated bike path which will maintain more parking. However, the small islands would be difficult to run street sweepers around and would tend to collect debris. One neighbor commented that losing lives is more serious than losing parking.

There was a brief discussion about changing the exit pattern at Fairgrounds Road and Portland Road to slow down traffic, but that is out of the scope of this problem.

With the current budget conditions, it is not likely to be built until 2014. Kevin said one option would be to utilize some of the savings the city is accruing from the transportation bond work. That would have to be approved by City Council. The rough, ballpark estimate is $100,000. In an effort to keep the project moving, Tim will provide outreach to all affected properties along the route and within 1 block of the route with a copy of the map and a letter. The Neighborhood will approach City Council, at the appropriate time, to advocate for 2013 construction.
This looks like a promising discussion! If you are interested, check out Thursday night's meeting. And if you live in the Grant Neighborhood, show your support!

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