With talk of possible improvements to Broadway between Garth Avenue and West Boulevard on hold, the city staff has selected a consultant to study the street’s present and future traffic capacity.
City Manager Bill Watkins said in a memo to the City Council that the staff has chosen Crawford, Bunte, Brammeier Traffic and Transportation Engineers to conduct the study. The study will determine the costs and benefits of widening the street to three, four or five lanes from Garth to Fairview Avenue. The staff is also recommending the firm complete the study and present its findings before asking for public feedback.
The council was scheduled to consider authorizing the study during the latter part of its Monday night meeting.
The consulting firm, CBB, proposed a 15-step study that would include meeting with the city to review a scope of services and to discuss previous efforts; inspecting the Broadway corridor from Garth to Fairview; recording existing traffic conditions; determining whether there would be a need for turn bays, raised medians and bike lanes and sidewalks; and preparing a final report with recommendations.
“We need to do a significant amount of data collection,” Watkins said.
The city has been considering a plan to widen West Broadway to four lanes since the early 1970s. However, in the 1980s, residents voted not to widen the street. Last year, the Missourian reported that residents along the historic section of West Broadway had suggested a compromise in which residents would give the city the necessary right of way for new gutters and curbs, buried power lines and utilities, a new water line, decorative street lights, an 8-foot-wide bicycle pedway with low retaining walls on the north side of the street and a 5-foot-wide improved sidewalk on the south side.
In August, the Missourian reported that a city plan for the project would cost about $4.5 million. Under the proposal, money for widening the sidewalk and building the pedway would be taken from the $21.5 million federal Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program.
Watkins said before the Monday meeting that the proposed CBB study would give the city just the basic information, then the council would decide what to do. He said that, if authorized, the study would begin sometime in March and last for 90 to 120 days.
The CBB in a Jan. 29 letter to Public Works Director John Glascock said it will strive to offer recommendations that accommodate both the historic nature of West Broadway and traffic along the street.
West Broadway resident Blaise Brazos said he thinks money for the traffic study could be better spent. He said adding lanes to Broadway would destroy the neighborhood and degrade property values. He said he and other residents plan to get together and discuss the situation.
“Our main concern is preserving our neighborhood,” said Brazos, who has lived in the West Broadway area since 1969.