Last or first: Brookhollow Condominiums and Calhoun Road traffic count discrepancies are tabled—Perpetual easement granted to well on Elm Grove Rd.
Alderman Jerry Mellone addressed the Public Works Board Tuesday night with his report questioning the traffic studies and other criteria used to justify the scope of the Calhoun Road widening project. Although last on the agenda, the board voted to move it to item #1. Over 1 ½ hours of discussion followed.
Aldermen Jerry Mellone, Chris Blackburn, and Lisa Mellone brought up many good points about the faulty traffic study used to justify the widening project. The study used 2003, the highest traffic count year, as the base year to add their 2% yearly growth increase to. Trouble is, 2003 was not a typical traffic year; it was a higher than normal year. This has resulted in the projections now being off by a few thousand. Since we are basing the road width needs on this study’s projections, and it is already off target by 2,000-3,000, shouldn’t we reevaluate before proceeding with this very expensive project?
Tom Grisa and Jeff Chase from Engineering defended their plans, stating that they were only doing what the Common Council and Master Plans had asked for. They did say that any project could be changed at any time, but that such changes and delays have consequences.
The question of development came up again too. Chris Blackburn asked, are we willing to got the taxpayers and say, we need $11million in tax dollars to facilitate the highest level of density for VK’s Ruby and WTMJ property? The present plan is based on the VK property being developed at its highest level. But this remains an unknown. No plans have been submitted to the Plan Commission to date. So, we in essence are building the biggest road to accommodate something that is unknown for sometime in the future.
A simple resurfacing of Calhoun was mentioned. Grisa was quick to point out that this would not last and said this would be throwing money away. For comparison, a figure of $220,000 to resurface Sunny Slope Road was cited (similar length, but only 2 lanes from Blue Mound to Greenfield). He called this a band-aid approach to Calhoun’s needs.
Time was ticking on, and so Ponto, Nelson, and Owen voted Yes to table; Blackburn and Lisa Mellone voted No.
I think a band-aid is just what we need right now. With the faulty traffic study (not to mention the conflict of interest in having the traffic study be done by the same firm designing the road), the wetland issues, and the real needs issue pertaining to the VK property development still unknown, I like the idea of the band-aid.
Public Works Board Members:
Rick Owen – Chairman firstname.lastname@example.org