• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

City applies for second traffic signal

Traffic study shows warrant met for stoplights

SOLON– The vehicle counts are growing.
Time for another traffic light.
At a March 21 meeting, Solon City Council members authorized City Engineer Dave Schechinger to proceed with an application for state funds to assist with the construction of stoplights at the intersection of Highway 1 and 5th Street.
The intersection was the subject of a recent study by the Metropolitan Planning Organization of Johnson County (MPOJC), which measured traffic flow in April and again in September of 2017.
The MPOJC found over 11,000 vehicles are traveling either the northbound or southbound lane of Highway 1 at the intersection on a daily basis, Schechinger reported at the meeting.
That volume is causing significant delays for eastbound and westbound traffic on 5th Street, he said. During peak periods, he noted, motorists on 5th Street wait an average of a minute or more at the intersection, garnering the level of service (LOS) rating of “F.”
“Just like grades in school, that’s not good,” Schechinger said.
Those delays, however, will help the busy intersection qualify for signalization.
The MPOJC used the data obtained in the traffic counts to analyze whether Highway 1 and 5th Street meets the federal guidelines required for a stoplight. One of nine warrants must be met, and the intersection qualified in four of the categories; eight-hour vehicular volume, interruption of continuous traffic, four-hour vehicular volumes and peak hour volumes.
The intersection did not meet the warrant for collision experience, although it came close. There must be five crashes which could be correctable by signalization over a 12-month period, but the study found only four.
“I think we’re just fortunate we haven’t killed anybody yet,” Mayor Steve Stange commented.
Meeting the warrants allows the city to proceed with applying for state assistance as it did with the traffic signal erected on Highway 1 at its intersection with Main Street.
In June 2015, the city accepted a $115,900 grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Traffic Safety Improvement Program to help pay for the cost of materials for the quarter-million dollar project, which was completed in late 2016. Improvements included traffic signals with video detection and LED signal heads, pedestrian countdown signal heads, push buttons and signage.
Installing a traffic signal would improve the LOS grade for 5th Street traffic considerably, Schechinger said, moving it from an “F” to a “C” or “B.”
Stange questioned whether the city had to wait for another grant before moving ahead with the project
The city will be required to submit a budget for the grant application, Schechinger said, which will require a substantial amount of conceptual design.
While the intersection is tight, the improvements can be made without a lot of reconstruction, he said. Because of the required placement of the poles and pedestrian push buttons, Schechinger said, some of the sidewalks may have to be moved.
He indicated it would cost about $5,000 to prepare the preliminary designs and the grant application for state funds. Council members approved a motion directing Schechinger to prepare the application.
A recent project in Mount Vernon took about seven months for the DOT to review, he reported.
“So realistically, if we put it to the floor right now and head after it, we’re looking at a year or two,” Stange noted.