Interested parties meeting to discuss controversial intersection project
COLUMBIA - After residents said they did not want a roundabout, the Columbia Public Works Department has come up with other options. It will hold an interested parties meeting to present the possibilities for improvement to the Forum Boulevard and Green Meadows Road intersection on June 27. Currently, there is a four way stop at the intersection.
Columbia’s Engineering Supervisor Allison Anderson said the project aims to relieve traffic congestion and improve safety at this busy intersection.
“You have a potential of six cars meeting at the intersection at the same time,” she said. “It’s very confusing on who goes when, and we’ve had many complaints about people, you know, racing, not coming to complete stop.”
She said the city conducted a traffic count in January 2016 and found there’s a delay of 46 seconds for vehicles on average at peak hours.
“The intersection does back up,” she said. “Because it is a stop and go condition, where everybody has to stop and figure out what everybody else is doing at the intersection before you can proceed on.”
The city initially proposed a plan to build a roundabout to replace the current four way stop around two years ago. However, Anderson said some people living near the intersection told the city they did not like the idea. According to a KOMU 8 News report in 2015, the Green Meadows Preschool was worried having a roundabout so close wouldn’t be safe for the children. A January city council memo also says there was opposition to the proposed roundabout from residents of the Country Club Villas, who live next to Green Meadows Road.
“They’re concerned since there’s so much more traffic going on Forum, that they are not gonna be able to find a gap to get out,” Anderson said.
She said the interested parties meeting will be an opportunity for the city staff to introduce the alternative solutions they’ve come up with.
According to the council memo, other than a roundabout, there are four additional plans:
1) Full Signal:
total estimated cost: $914,700
2) Reduced Signal:
total estimated cost: $868,900
3) J Turn:
total estimated cost: $1,208,200
4) J Turn with Pedestrian Signal:
total estimated cost: $1,248,700.
She said even after reevaluating the options, the city staff still think a roundabout would be the best solution.
“We feel that that is the safest options for both vehicles and pedestrians and bikers,” she said. “It also moves the traffic, reduces the delay at the intersection.”
She said the contractor, Bartlett & West, has designed the roundabout very well to make sure it wouldn’t be confusing and would allow residents to get on Forum Boulevard from Green Meadows Road.
She said even though the council turned down the roundabout plan in a public hearing in 2016, the council members voted to bring it back again in January. She said the staff also asked the Columbia Bicycle/Pedestrian Commission for advice in November.
“They motioned that they supported the roundabout option,” she said.
The interested parties meeting on June 27 will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Rock Bridge Elementary School. Anderson said the staff will hear any questions and concerns the residents may have. She said the city expects to start the construction process in 2019.