Panel recommends $585,000 traffic-calming plan for 17th Avenue South.
A proposal for a $585,000 traffic calming project along 17th Avenue South is headed to the Fargo City Commission. The city's Traffic Technical Advisory Committee voted 6-0 on Wednesday to recommend a plan that uses roundabouts, a service road and...
A proposal for a $585,000 traffic calming project along 17th Avenue South is headed to the Fargo City Commission.
The city's Traffic Technical Advisory Committee voted 6-0 on Wednesday to recommend a plan that uses roundabouts, a service road and curb extensions to ease congestion on the avenue from 25th Street to 35th Street.
Residents have complained about the speed and volume of traffic along a stretch of the avenue since an Interstate 29 underpass opened three years ago.
"I hear every tire that squeals when they leave the traffic sign," said Lonnie Ballweg, who lives at the corner of 32nd Street and 17th Avenue South.
The preferred option would be to install a roundabout at Ballweg's intersection. Roundabouts direct traffic into a counter-clockwise circle around a center island.
A second roundabout would be placed at West Gateway Circle.
Curb extensions on the north side of 17th Avenue between 32nd Street and 34th Street would protect parked traffic. A service road would provide easier access for properties fronting 17th Avenue on the northwest corner of that avenue and 32nd Street.
The traffic calming measures could create maintenance problems, said Dennis Walaker, operations director for Fargo Public Works.
Snow removal equipment isn't designed to handle roundabouts, he said.
Some of the 10 residents at the meeting, such as Ballweg, were jubilant at the committee's recommendation. Others voiced concerns.
Teri Zollinger, who lives in the Prairiewood Drive area, opposes using roundabouts in a residential area.
"I don't think there's enough room for this to be effective," Zollinger said.
The plan was preferred by Winnipeg-based ND LEA, a consulting firm Fargo hired to study the avenue's traffic troubles.
It was the first of three alternatives the company looked at.
The second option includes chicanes between 32nd and 34th streets.
A chicane is a combination of small medians used to steer drivers through a course.
The third option includes central mid-block median islands between West Gateway Circle and 32nd Street and between 32nd and 34th streets.
About 100 people submitted comments to the city on the options. The biggest responses, said City Commissioner Mike Williams, were to do nothing or install traffic signals.
"As far as the options go, option one carried the day," he said.
Now, that option will be forwarded on to the City Commission for a final decision, said Fargo City Engineer Mark Bittner, a member of the advisory committee.
The Public Works Project Evaluation Committee will look at ways to finance the $585,000 project, Bittner said. He would prefer to pay for the project through street sales tax.
The project could be designed this year and bid out early next year, Bittner said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Andrea Domaskin at (701) 241-5556