The real information about ICW/Merrimount/44th
April 16, 2009 · 4:05 PM
Last week, a letter appeared in the Reporter titled “Misinformation on ICW/Merrimount road diet.” The problem is the author has her facts wrong.
First, she states that the City Council two years ago “hired an engineering firm to review the traffic issues along the corridor,” which recommended a “road diet.” The fact is that the engineering consultant and the city staff, on May 15, 2006, recommended an installation of a traffic light in 2010. Then a serious accident occurred on April 3, 2007, and immediately 34 residents requested that a traffic signal be installed. At the City Council meeting on May 21, 2007, the city staff and engineering consultant recommended again that the “traffic signal is the only alternative that will improve safety and restore level of service to C or better.” (The intersection was rated as F.) The recommendation for a traffic signal was accelerated for construction in 2009. Then the City Council ignored the recommendations and selected another alternative, the road diet.
The author of last week’s article also stated, “There is a huge misconception that the corridor will be reduced to two through lanes with a center turn lane … that option was specifically rejected by the Citizen’s Advisory Committee.” She clearly did not understand the option, that the road diet is a reconfiguration of the four lanes to three lanes, two driving lanes and a center turn lane.
I, too, was on the Citizen Panel, and I completely understood that ICW would be reduced to two lanes of traffic with a center turning lane south of Merrimount. That is the reason why I abstained from voting.
The final voice is the voice of the citizens. So far, the voices of the citizens caused the City Council to again delay the decision for reconfiguration until September. The priority for the City Council should be a safe and efficient transportation system for all Islanders, including opening all corridors on ICW, 44th and Merrimount.
I recommend reading the City Council minutes and the Transportation Improvement Plan, available online. There, you will find in-depth information as well as the names of four citizens who spoke to the council in favor of the road diet and were selected for the “impartial” panel.