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“Road Diet” Proposal for 30th Presented to Hutchinson City Council

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By Lucky Kidd

 

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The city of Hutchinson’s engineering consultant has proposed a “road diet” shrinking 30th Avenue from just east of Waldron to K-61 from four to three lanes.

Brad Shores from JEO Consulting Group gave a presentation to the Hutchinson City council Tuesday on a study of 30th and Halstead where a traffic signal was damaged in an accident last June, for which a new pole is being installed this week with new signals to be put in place later this year as parts for it arrive.

Short term, once the new signal is up, a “split phase” traffic signal will be put in place that will have eastbound and westbound traffic on 30th move separately. Shores viewed this as a short-term solution to issues there, with a “road diet” the long-term solution.

We’re not going to change any pavement, we’re just going to re-stripe,” Shores told the Council, saying a road diet would make the 30th and Halstead intersection safer and will move traffic just fine.

The plan would also address some traffic concerns at the entrance to Prairie Star Health Center. Shores also presented a list of pros and cons, among them making possible bike and pedestrian lanes, and allowing parking along that segment of 30th. Cons listed include increased wait times at the Halstead intersection, and public perceptions of the concept.

Council member views on the idea were mixed. For Vice Mayor Stacey Goss, this is personal as when she was 15, she was critically injured in a crash at that intersection. In voicing support for the road diet concept, she noted the many crashes that have occurred at that intersection.

Reducing speeds in that area was also something Goss suggested. “I don’t think we would lose anything by slowing down traffic in this area. You’ve got two schools, you have a lack of sidewalk on the north side, it’s kind of a mess right now”, she added.

Council Member Steven Garza, a retired traffic signal technician, on the other hand doesn’t like the idea, which is in place now on Avenue A, which has less traffic than 30th. He was supportive though of the split phase signal at Halstead, which he said will solve a lot of problems in that area.

The cost for a road diet plan has been estimated at $340,000, with options to make 30th five lanes east of Waldron having costs ranging from $1.44 million to $3.17 million along with additional costs related to the 30th and Halstead signals.

The proposal will be studied further, and public input sought, with an expectation this will come back to the Council in May.