Millwood City Council moved closer to slowing traffic on Empire Avenue, South Riverway and Bridgeport Avenue during a special public meeting Sept. 22.
The council unanimously approved a motion for Welch Comer and Associates to draft the design specifications for four speed bumps – two each on Riverway and Bridgeport – and a raised intersection at Empire Avenue and Fowler Road.
The action is the direct result of public complaints and testimony given by neighborhood residents over several years.
“Process moves a lot slower than folks like to see,” City Attorney Brian Werst said regarding what seemed like delayed action by the council. “But it is a progression … .”
Matt Gillis, project manager from Welch Comer, presented rumble strips, speed humps and raised intersection options for Riverway and Empire to the council and a small group of residents. Gillis estimated the speed humps to cost $1,500, the rumble strips $1,000 and raised intersections between $2,000 and $5,000.
Bridgeport, not considered initially, was included as a result of analyzing possible diverted traffic flow the speed humps on Riverway may cause, as well as residents’ concerns about speeding.
Residents expressed concern over the possibility of increased accidents by raising the asphalt at Empire and Fowler.
“Speed is an issue,” resident Barbara Bennett said about traffic on Empire. “Are they (motorists) going to become airborne and end up in someone’s yard?”
“I thought about that too,” said resident Jean Peterson, who lives on the corner of Fowler and Empire, “but there’s got to be a way to calm them down.”
The council also discussed the idea of warning motorists about the upcoming changes by posting signs.
“From a liability standpoint, would it be advisable to put rumble strips ahead of something like this?” asked Councilman Brian Ellingson.
“How much warning do we need to give people who are breaking the law?” Councilman Kevin Freeman said.
Werst responded to liability concerns by stating the city just needs to have a rationale behind the action.
“To date we’ve had citizen complaints, we’ve had traffic studies, and now you’re at the point where you’re deciding whether to take some sort of action,” Werst said. “If you take those steps, I’m comfortable you’ve done everything you can reasonably to protect yourself and the citizens from liability.”
Gillis plans to have specifications to the council prior to the October meeting. If approved, it would go out to bid and construction could begin this fall, weather permitting.
“This council is taking a very proactive approach,” Mayor Dan Mork said following the meeting. “They are taking care of concerns brought from public over the last three to four years.”