Sunday, September 13, 2015

No Money Left For Traffic Problems?

Fairhope, Al.


The Planning Commission heard Building Director Johnathan Smith introduce Shane Berglin of Neel Schaffer Engineering Inc. who presented an update to a traffic study his company did in 2006: The city council authorized the update about 2 years ago.

Smith said the recommended improvements "could effect the city in a major way."

Berglin said 33 traffic counts were collected by his firm plus 33 by ALDOT, as well as two speed studies on roads where speeding is a concern; other data from the planning jurisdiction outside of city limits were used as well.
Berglin left, Smith right

The data showed traffic counts had actually declined since 2006 in some cases, including Greeno Rd. and Fairhope Ave; Berglin attributed that to the opening of the new sections of CR 13 north of Hwy 104 and the new Booth/Bishop road -- as well as lingering effects of the Great Recession that began in 2008.

He added that that use of "secondary streets" had increased though, taking traffic off of main arterial roads.


The following intersection improvements were recommended based upon a 2%/yr traffic increase projection until the year 2020 (Berglin called this a "conservative" estimate: it may be turn out higher):

1. Fairhope Ave/Hwy 181:  This intersection is working well, turn lanes were added since the last study.

Completing the sidewalk connection on the SW side and adding pedestrian crossing buttons needed.

Cost estimate $44,300.

(Note: This intersection was improved in 2010 (turning lanes added) based on the original 2007 study)

Fairhope Ave/Hwy 181 (up is north)

2. Fairhope Ave/Greeno Road:  Construction of an eastbound right turn lane (on Fairhope Ave.) similar to the existing one on the westbound side.

Modify the numerous commercial driveways on west approach  to reduce conflict points (consolidate driveways).

Cost estimate: $245, 400.

(Note: The east side of this intersection (Fairhope Ave.) has already been improved (turning lanes) per the original 2007 study)

Fairhope Ave/Greeno Rd.

3. Fairhope Ave/Mobile Street/Magnolia Ave: Limit turning from Mobile St. onto Faihope Ave and Fairhope Ave onto Mobile St. to prevent current sight distance issues. Use of signage and striping for a short term solution.

Reconstruction of the Mobile St approach is recommended for a long term solution to allow vehicles to stop before turning.

The significant change in grade in the area would require significant reconstruction measures to avoid erosion issues.

ADA compliant  sidewalks on Mobile Street hill will require "switchbacks" to meet federal guidelines.

Estimated cost: $633,900.

4. Fairhope Ave/Ingleside St: Improve line of sight by removing vegetation recommended now. Construction of a roundabout to improve deficiencies created by high-angle intersection approaches needed. Cost estimate $1,282,000.

5. Fairhope Ave/Bishop Rd: Construct left turn lanes and install a traffic signal. Construct an on-site staging area for parent student pick up ("traffic queues")  within the school campus. Align school access driveway with Burlington Drive.  Cost estimate $1,004,400.

north is up

(Note: The Baldwin School Task Force's 'Facilities Committee' is also expected to recommend similar improvements to this chronically-congested intersection)

6. Section Street/Oak Street: "Sight-distance limitations" are extreme (vision blocked when turning off Oak St.).

Reconstruction of NW side (cemetery) with a retaining wall and improved embankment will improve driver's line-of sight vision when turning.

Eliminating some on street parking (Section St.) will improve visibility of approaching vehicles.

If on-street parking is not restricted, a traffic signal is recommended and a new driveway entrance to city hall from Oak Street. Cost estimate: $615,800.

7. County Road 13/Manley Road: Construct a right-turn lane eastbound (on Manley) and a northbound left turn lane (CR13). A traffic signal added after soccer complex opens, if warranted. Cost estimate: $739,300.

8. Fels Avenue: Police patrolling may help reduce speeding. Also, speed lumps and "radar speed-limit signs" should be considered.


Mayor Kant told the Times several weeks ago he was probably not including funding for any of these projects in his FY2016 budget proposal, except for the cross walk/sidewalk at Hwy 181/Fairhope Ave.

Estimated costs for all of the recommended improvements comes to about $4.3 million.

The Times has requested a copy of his proposed 2016 budget per state open records laws, but has so-far been denied access. (The city council has the finished document)

The city council is scheduled to review the proposals at this Monday's council work session;  and could choose to add necessary funding if considers it of a higher priority.

[Some other major competing capital projects may include adding two more baseball fields to Volanta Park and expansion of the airport (possible new land purchase, office building, terminal and access road). Various private non-profit groups are expected to request more "community development" funding for their construction projects as well (ie. the Thomas Hospital birthing center]


Anonymous said...

#4 - The Mayor and Jennifer won't like that - removing vegetation.

#6 - Really needs to be addressed. Line of sight is terrible, but the speeding traffic does not help. Evidently people do not realize the speed limit there is 25 all the way from Gayfer, not just during school hours.

Anonymous said...

What about more flowers? That should be a higer prioity to.

BevAnn Ellis said...

I drive Co. Rd. 13 home from work everyday from Daphne - at the corner of Fairhope Ave and 13 is a two way stop sign. This is dangerous because Fairhope Ave is a busy road. It is difficult to cross - one reason - we do not have a clear view to my left (east). Could the city please clear the trees that are blocking the view. I told my husband that if I should have an accident it will be at this intersection.
Please take this serious and address this problem.
BevAnn Ellis. 9/13/15

Publisher said...

The Fairhope Times' longstanding anonymous comment policy prohibits mentioning most private individuals and government employees by name; they may be deleted at our discretion.

Anonymous said...

Why is access to the proposed budget being denied if the law requires that the public have access? What is going on with the money in Fairhope that is kept hidden from the public? I find this very disturbing and this will play into how I vote.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Publisher said...

To Bev Ann Ellis: A roundabout is scheduled for construction at Cr 13 and Fairhope Ave late next year. It is outside of city limits (mostly) primarily the county's responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Why no transparency here? It is the Fairhope way to hide how the politicans waste our money, give it away to fiends at private hospitals and schools and sport clubs. less controversy to just keep it all out of the public eye.

Anonymous said...

Something is out of whack. why is a five million dollar soccer complex a higher priority?

Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord. Jesus saves!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for the next election . Throw these bums out.