By Mike Hazlip—
During a community meeting held Thursday evening, the city outlined major changes to four key intersections as part of the first phase in the Old Auburn Road Complete Streets plan.
Senior Civil Engineer Daniel Kehrer presented details on four intersections along Old Auburn Road that are part of the first phase of improvements. The stretch of road is a little over three-quarters of a mile and extends from Tiara Way to Garry Oak Drive.
Plans for the intersection of Old Auburn Road and Fair Oaks Boulevard drew significant attention among residents attending the meeting. The intersection has been the site of more than three dozen collisions involving a left-turning vehicle from Fair Oaks Boulevard colliding with a planter along Old Auburn Road.
Past alterations to the intersection have reduced the collisions by half, Kehrer said. Current plans show further improvements, reducing Old Auburn Road to one lane in each direction between Fair Oaks Boulevard and Antelope Road. Some residents voiced concerns over the change, saying it will increase traffic congestion.
Kehrer said reducing the number of lanes not only aims to improve safety, but also discourages cut-through traffic along Old Auburn Road. Information published to the city’s website says increased use of cellphone navigation that re-routes drivers based on minimal travel time has contributed to motorists taking side streets.
Changes include adding bicycle lanes for improved pedestrian safety, Kehrer said. Improved lighting and what he called “minor” traffic signal modifications are also planned.
In an interview after the event, Kehrer said pedestrian improvements increase the city’s chances of being awarded the grant funds.
“This money has been specifically programmed for this project, focusing on those added mobility elements,” he said.
To improve bicycle and pedestrian safety, the free right-turn lane from Old Auburn Road onto Antelope Road will be eliminated along with the free right-turn lane from Old Auburn Road onto Fair Oaks Boulevard, according to Kehrer. Plans presented at the meeting and available online show those right-turn lanes would become protected bicycle lanes.
Kehrer outlined what he called four “hot spot” intersections along Old Auburn Road that will be modified for increased safety. Those are the intersections at Tiara Way, Sunrise Boulevard, Dannon Court, and Fair Oaks Boulevard.
Among the concerned residents attending the meeting was Randy Pastor, owner of Pastor’s Valero at the corner of Old Auburn Road and Sunrise Boulevard.
“Whether this is going to help us residents and businesses, we’ll see,” Pastor said. “I’m here just to make sure critical ingress and egress to my commercial site does not get impeded.”
The next step for the city is acquiring right-of-way permits and coordinating with utility companies, Kehrer said. A construction start date has not been set, however.
“That’s still kind of a big question mark for the city,” Kehrer said. “We are intending on applying for a grant and hopefully constructing before the end of the decade, so wish us luck and success.”
By Mike Hazlip—
During a community meeting held Thursday evening, the city outlined major changes to four key intersections as part of the first phase in the Old Auburn Road Complete Streets plan...
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