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City rearranges parking in busy Fox Ridge neighborhood

New stop signs coming to Windflower Lane

SOLON– Growth means more people and more people means more vehicles.
And in the Fox Ridge subdivision on the city’s south side, vehicle parking has become an issue.
Council member Steve Duncan, a resident of the subdivision, has consistently expressed concern about the parking habits of contractors and of some businesses in the neighborhood.
At an Oct. 19 council meeting, small changes in the subdivision’s street layout were approved in hopes of providing a solution.
The proposal approved by council members will make one intersection of Windflower Lane and Prairie Rose Lane a four-way stop, and the other (a T-intersection) will be converted to a three-way stop.
In addition, the city will prohibit parking on both sides of Windflower and Prairie Rose lanes in the blocks closest to Highway 1 and will designate some areas as restricted for overnight or commercial truck parking.
The proposed recommendations were developed by City Administrator Cami Rasmussen, Public Works Director Scott Kleppe and Duncan, with input from businesses in the subdivision.
“What Scott and I and Steve tried to do is come up with a plan that fit the development as it is,” Rasmussen said.
According to Rasmussen, the city invited representatives from Solon Learning Academy, Memorials by Michel and tenants of industrial condos on Windflower Lane to attend one of two meetings held Oct. 13 and 14 to discuss the situation.
“We tweaked the plan a little bit based on the comments we heard,” Rasmussen said. “Basically, the concept is to try to allow the parking in the residential. Anywhere that is commercial, then control that parking.”
Employees at businesses in the area can utilize street parking in the undeveloped area of the subdivision, she said.
The city will likely have to revisit the plan as the area between Highway 1 and residences fills in, Rasmussen noted.
The changes would address two of the primary concerns for the area, she said– congestion and visibility between residential and commercial properties, especially near the public playground that buffers the two.
Rasmussen said business owners were understanding and cooperative during the process.
Another issue discussed was the speed of traffic on Windflower, which resulted in the suggestion for the added stop signs.
“This is such a long stretch with no reason to slow down,” Rasmussen explained. “We saw that on Plum Street, too, as that developed. It was such a long road, people just would gain speed because it was such a long road, so this would break it up a little.”
The city invited the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office to participate in the process to make law enforcement aware of the pending changes, and was advised to make written requests for regular enforcement.
Rasmussen said the sheriff’s office will be asked to pass on warnings for the first month before issuing tickets to violators.
The city also considered working with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to try lowering the speed limit on Highway 1 coming into town from the south.
City Engineer Dave Schechinger visited with district DOT officials, and related to council members that any attempt to lower the speed limit would require a speed study.
Traffic is already moving faster than the posted 45 miles per hour, Schechinger said, and the DOT is required to post the speed limit at the 85th percentile of current traffic patterns.
“So there is a chance if you do the speed study, and the study shows the 85th percentile is higher than the current speed limit, that the recommendation would be to increase the speed limit,” he said. “Obviously that’s not what we’re going for.”
Instead, he said, the city might pursue some other options, such as a speed feedback sign that alerts motorists when they are exceeding the limit.
Schechinger said such a sign would cost in the neighborhood of $3,500 and would have to be approved by the DOT.
Mayor Steve Stange suggested the city could budget for multiple speed signs over the course of several budget seasons.
“One personal injury accident is worth that,” Stange said.
One other suggestion, Rasmussen said, would be to ask the DOT to eliminate the passing zone that currently exists on Highway 1 coming into town from the south.
Council members approved the proposal.
Rasmussen said the city would order the stop signs and send formal notification letters to the Fox Ridge business owners. The goal will be to have the changes in effect before the ground freezes for the winter.