Municipal Services, Tuesday, 6:30 pm
Back in early December I mentioned that the city was working to finalize a design for the reconstruction of the portion of County Highway JJ between Ballard Road and Lightning Drive, and outlined the recommendation the Department of Public Works sent to council for consideration. At that time the Municipal Services Committee was not satisfied with the recommendation or either of the alternative options presented, and opted to direct staff to look at more possibilities.
On Tuesday the committee will again be asked to make a recommendation regarding this project, and the staff recommendation has not changed. The proposal, typically referred to as "Option 2," includes a raised concrete median to be installed between Ballard and Lightning, effectively turning all entrances into properties along that stretch into "right-in, right out" entrances.
As one might imagine, this has created some concerns for business owners along the north side of JJ, who will have less convenient access to their property. Their concerns are a large part of the reason why this item was held and why the city spent an additional $24,000 researching options for this redesign. In the end, however, no new feasible options came forward.
I attended a stakeholders meeting for this project last week and feel comfortable summarizing the arguments against this specific proposal into two points:
- A dispute over whether or not the safety issues caused by the current construction are severe enough to warrant major changes, and
- A debate about whether or not the safety improvements created by the proposed change should be valued above the interests of the business owners and developers on the north side of the street.
While I recognize the concerns of the property owners on the north side of the street, I think we have a great deal of evidence to suggest that the safety issues we're working to resolve are real and have been exacerbated by development in the area in recent years. And while I recognize the challenges created, I think the opportunity to fix these issues for both drivers and pedestrians and alleviate the possibility for a truly tragic event at this intersection is worth having to deal with some inconvenience.
Keeping you informed on issues that may impact you around the city is one of my primary goals as an alderman. Good governance happens in the open, and I remain committed to raising awareness on the issues coming before us.