Marlene Feist, Utilities Communications Manager, No Phone Number Available
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 3:28 p.m.
Earlier this year, the City announced it received grant funding totaling $4.1 million to improve North Monroe Street. This 2017 project will improve safety, enhance the streetscape, and yes, reconfigure traffic on North Monroe.
There are many facets to this project but citizens have focused most on the reconfiguration of the street to two travel lanes with the a center turn lane, down from four travel lanes with a narrow center turn lane today. The project runs from just north of Indiana to Kiernan near the top of the Monroe Street hill, although the reconfiguration will be limited to the section between Shannon and Cora.
With 17,000 vehicles a day on this section of street, North Monroe is a great candidate for this kind of conversion. A three-lane section, as proposed, is proven for serving up to 24,000 vehicles a day. Studies have shown that such changes reduce collisions and aggressive speeding, improving safety for pedestrians and motorists. Indeed, the main driver for this project has been to improve safety for all users.
The City has successfully implemented such changes in other locations, including Sprague Avenue from Grant to Cook Street and on 29th Avenue from Cedar to Grand, where we've seen safety improvements and improved economic activity.
The changes can create a better business environment. Customers are more likely to travel the speed limit through a business area and to use the roomier parking stalls. Access from side streets and driveways is improved because motorists only have to cross one travel lane. Pedestrian traffic often increases, as does the use of transit. And in this case, on-street parking can be added in front of many businesses that don't have such parking today. The changes do require an initial adjustment period for motorists.
Revitalizing Monroe Street has been identified as a top priority in the Emerson-Garfield Neighborhood Action Plan, which also was adopted by the City Council. Once the project is complete, the street will retain its role as a vital north-south arterial link, but safety will be improved and the business area will be better defined.
At the City, we are working to improve our street and utility infrastructure in an integrated and logical way that balances multiple transportation needs with things like economic development and neighborhood beautification and safety. This project is part of that effort.
This project is still in the planning stages, and the public will have more opportunities to provide feedback as it proceeds. For more information, see our fact sheet (PDF 2.3 MB - updated March 11, 2015).