Council moves West Broadway project forward

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 | 6:37 p.m. CST

The first phase of a construction project aiming to improve the traffic bottleneck on West Broadway between Garth Avenue and West Boulevard is set to begin after gaining City Council approval on Monday night.

The council voted unanimously to hire CH2M Hill Inc. of St. Louis to prepare conceptual and preliminary design plans for the project. Solving traffic problems on Broadway have come to the forefront within the last two years, but the congestion has been an issue since the 1970s.

Fourth Ward Councilman Jerry Wade stressed that the public will have a say in the construction project that has some anonymous residents up in arms.

“There seems to be lots of jumping to conclusions and assumptions about what’s already been done,” Wade said. “It’s important for the public to understand (that) no decision has been made and there will be lots of opportunity for public input.”

The public outcry noted by the council came in the form of an anonymous flier that circulated through the West Broadway neighborhood and on the Internet in September. The flier advocated widening West Broadway into four lanes to reduce the traffic through Ash Street, West Worley Street and Stewart Road. "Free West Broadway" signs posted this fall on Stadium and West Broadway shared the same sentiments.

But, a July 2007 traffic study by St. Louis-based engineers Crawford, Bunte and Brammeier recommended medians, left-turn lanes and roundabouts to decrease accidents.

A year ago, more than 60 residents agreed with many of the recommendations in a letter to the council but added that improving the safety of sidewalks and adding landscaping to the proposed medians could improve the historic drive in a way that four lanes would not.

While there has been plenty of conversation on the topic, no residents were on hand to speak at Monday night's meeting.

“I think it’s a very important step,” Mayor Darwin Hindman said of Monday night’s vote to begin the project. “It’s an area that definitely needs some design done. The traffic study was wonderful in revealing what we can do. The sidewalk situation is basically deplorable. We need to make further process.”

The vote allots a $105,000 contract for a preliminary design, City Manager Bill Watkins said. The money comes from the Capital Improvement Sales Tax Fund, though the $350,000 that would be needed for the second phase of the project has no funding.

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Tony Thorpe November 19, 2008 | 2:42 p.m.

There is no bottleneck on West Broadway!

There may be a 2 minute wait at MOST for the W. Boulevard light from 5 - 5:30PM.

That's hardly a bottleneck. Some folks talk about this as if it's a given. Follow the money and see who's behind this myth!

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand November 19, 2008 | 3:07 p.m.

Agreed, Tony. This is a non-problem.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr November 19, 2008 | 3:11 p.m.

They are going to make that @!#$# %$^%^&* three lanes from Garth clear to Clinkscales if it kills every one of those residents who have to deal with the "Eminent Domain" issue of losing part of their properties in the process. You watch and mark my words this is just the start as this has been a very long running issue.

Is it those resident's fault that the lay out of this city was porked from the very beginning and now City Council is shoving a wedge in here or a wedge in there a little at a time to make happen what they want because somebody fumbled the ball from the beginning.

I feel the most sad for those residents on the section of Broadway who are having to go through all of this.

Tony Thorpe I fully agree with your last statement but it is almost impossible to prove.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle November 19, 2008 | 3:44 p.m.

I support the current roadway plan recommended by CBB. This is a tremendous opportunity for the city to invest in an historic boulevard that will compliment The District, provide functionality for commuters, and become a valuable long-term asset to the entire city. I have studied the impact of local residential traffic changes due to the medians. Peak traffic loads on W Broadway side streets will still average less than one car on the entire stretch of roadway at a time. The rest of the design streamlines east/west traffic flow and increases the overall capacity of the roadway. This is a solid, viable plan. It's great to see the council move on this, and I look forward to more great improvements to our city soon!

(Report Comment)
Learned Observer November 19, 2008 | 7:34 p.m.

There is a bottleneck on Broadway ... and the worst kind. It causes traffic to back up unexpectedly and lends itself to causing a rear-end collision. There is no good reason for this road not to be 4 lanes.

(Report Comment)
Panama Red November 19, 2008 | 7:44 p.m.

There is a bottleneck on Broadway ... and Ash Street .... and Worley street and on the Business Loop west. And it backs up on Stadium with people turning on to Forum. And Providence Road going south by Stadium is bad as well further north by Broadway. Bottlenecks all over the place!

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 19, 2008 | 7:53 p.m.

Learned Observer sez:

"There is no good reason for this road not to be 4 lanes."

The reason is that expensive (and perhaps scarce) fuel, in the next 5-10 years, will render this expansion unnecessary.


(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand November 19, 2008 | 7:56 p.m.

At worst, the Broadway bottlenecks occur twice a day (the rush hours) and last less than an hour each. If more drivers would pay attention to what they're doing instead of gabbing, writing text messages, putting on makeup, eating, smoking a bowl, etc., accidents would be even more few and far between than what they already are.

As for the other bottlenecks, give me a break. If you can't deal with it, work from home, take the bus or work different hours. Some of you folks couldn't hack it in KC, let alone Atlanta or Chicago.

(Report Comment)
Tony Thorpe November 19, 2008 | 8:30 p.m.

Derrick, I agree that the plan proposed is generally a pretty good one. My main issue with the story is that there was the "bottleneck" issue was referred to as if it were fact. It is not.
For those in a hurry, there's always Stadium. That's what it was built for. If it's not fast enough for the morning commuters, perhaps we should think about 6 or 8 lanes there. Far fewer eminent domain issues!

(Report Comment)

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