Greenwood city officials want to gather specific data about where you drive, come from, turn and head to as a way to make your trip into the downtown area better.
A construction project to add a new Interstate 65 interchange will be complete by the end of the year, and a roundabout will be built at Smith Valley Road and Madison Avenue in the coming years, and both will effect traffic in the city.
But now is the time to get a better grasp on downtown traffic flow and what is needed, city engineer Mark Richards said.
For 30 days, a consultant will use wireless data, cellphone data and bluetooth devices to do an in-depth study of downtown traffic, from Smith Valley Road and U.S. 31 to Washington and Broadway streets.
They’ll add in a forecast based on how many people should move to the city in coming years and the already-planned downtown development, then recommend what roadwork needs to be done. The possibilities include how to improve east-west streets, building a new street south of the Greenwood Public Library to connect Madison Avenue and Meridian Street, converting some streets to one-way routes and building more roundabouts, Richards said.
A second study will examine traffic on the roads leading to the new aquatic park, especially considering the impact of the new Greenwood Middle School that will be built next door.
Stop 18 and Averitt roads is currently a three-way stop, but with the recent development at Freedom Park and plans for the new middle school, ideas to alleviate traffic congestion range from extending Stop 18 through the park and connecting it with Brighton Estates and a roundabout at the intersection, Richards said.
The members of the redevelopment commission approved both studies at a total cost of $75,580 but questioned the timing of the study. Board member Brent Tilson asked whether the study should wait until the new Interstate 65 exit is open. Board member Mike Campbell asked about the impact of the roundabout at Smith Valley Road and Madison Avenue, which will be complete at the end of 2018.
Richards and city consultant Chuck Cagann said the study is needed now, the impact of the ongoing projects can be determined and that the city will always have projects underway that might affect traffic flow, such as the downtown facade program or sewer projects.
The redevelopment commission should have the results of the study in about seven months.
What to do about traffic through Old Towne Greenwood has been an issue for years as the city has discussed how to revitalize downtown. Previous proposals have included eliminating turn lanes and adding on-street parking and wider sidewalks, or making Main Street one-way.
The redevelopment commission members also questioned whether a citywide traffic study was needed, but the most recent study is five years old and the data and forecasts from it are still relevant, Richards said. The city will consider another broad study of nearly 70 intersections across the community in another five years, he said.
The downtown and Stop 18 Road study will be done by A&F Engineering.
The city is looking at buying almost an acre of land between the Greenwood Public Library and Madison Avenue. That property, along with the purchase of the current Greenwood Middle School in several years, could be used to build a road that would run between Meridian Street and Madison Avenue in the heart of downtown Greenwood, Richards said.
What do you think?
Give us your take on what road improvements are needed to make traffic better in downtown Greenwood or near the new aquatic park at Stop 18 and Averitt roads. Send your ideas and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org/.