Take time to plan best intersection for 8th & Midland
Its time for the dog to wag the tail, not the other way around.Glenwood Meadows commercial developers have forced the city to accept changes in the shopping center design, and recently demanded that city officials decide by January whether the Meadows golf course is a go or not, in order to start earthwork on debris flow catchment basins.Now, design of the 8th Street and Midland Avenue intersection is on the citys plate, and Glenwood Meadows is pushing the cheap and easy option a three-way intersection with a signal and a snowmelt system to keep the steep hill from freezing up.Meanwhile, neighborhood residents want a chance to look at options for the intersection, including a roundabout. They spoke up at a meeting held Monday that was called for by former Councilman Rick Davis.City officials should slow the process enough to give the roundabout idea serious study.The two options both have their pros and cons.A signalized intersection would take up less space and make it easier to design compatible sidewalks.But it would set the neighborhood up for cars zooming through the intersection at high speeds, and making more noise with the stop-and-go nature of a light-controlled intersection.A roundabout would take up more space, probably encroaching on the vacant lot at the intersections northeast corner, and make pedestrian crossings more difficult. But it would move traffic more smoothly, while slowing it down.It would also give designers a chance to add noise barrier berms and landscaping to create an entrance effect for 8th Street into downtown.The question is complicated by the steep grade of 8th Street east of the intersection, by the spiderweb of utility lines under the intersection and by the need for safe access to Cowdin Drive.A signalized, snowmelt intersection would be the most simple solution, but it may not be the best. Its time to put some bright engineers to work on this problem, and to give the neighborhood a voice in the choice.
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