Archive for Thursday, March 20, 2008

Roundabouts proposed in traffic study

March 20, 2008

Roundabouts would be the best way to handle increased traffic from growth in eastern Eudora, a traffic study commissioned by the city of Eudora indicates.

The results of the traffic study were shared March 10 with the Eudora City Council. The study was started in mid-November and covered the eastern corridor of Eudora via 10th Street said traffic flow currently is moving at an acceptable rate, but future growth due to construction will need to be accommodated.

In a presentation made to the Eudora City Council, engineering firm BG Consultants suggested roundabouts were the best and most cost-effective manner to deal with the possible increase in traffic as a result of construction of the new elementary school and the tax increment financing district.

"Roundabouts tend to be controversial," City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said. "They can save the taxpayers and the city a lot of money and they have been proven to be safe, but the four-way stops or lighting systems are considered to be safer long term."

BG also advised the city against attempting to construct any structures all at once.

"The engineers approach of phasing in improvements is important because there aren't any of the four parties who are involved in that corridor right now - the developers, the city, the county or the school district - that have the ability to just plop down a bunch of money right now and do it all at once," Beatty said.

The high amount of semi-trucks already traveling the corridor also worries Beatty.

"My concern with the roundabout, as well as the council's, is truck traffic," she said "We have an industrial park there and there will be commercial developments with trucks coming in. I can understand where roundabouts are good for residential developments, but my concern is trucks wouldn't be able to negotiate a roundabout very well."

Douglas County will make a final decision within the next two weeks on interim as well as long-term solution for the area in front of the site of the new elementary school since it is the most immediate project.

BG recommended widening the street and adding turning lanes as temporary solutions.

The study cost about $11,000 and was paid for by the city, Eudora USD 491 and Douglas County.

Although there may not be enough money to make use of the whole study right away, it will be relevant for several more years.

"Even though there's an economic downturn, it's not going to last forever," Beatty said. "As soon as the market opens up, the TIF will move forward and so will residential development. The study will just have to be updated with new traffic count numbers and it will be viable for another 10 to 15 years."

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