Residents had questions Wednesday about traffic-calming proposals for key roads that surround the BullStreet neighborhood and didn’t always get the answers they wanted from a key engineer hired to perform a traffic impact study.
Mary Hartz of the Colonial Heigths neighborhood could not understand why Kimley Horn and Associates did not propose road improvements on and around the nearby Farrow Road and Beltline Boulevard.
“So we’re just not going to be able to get out of our driveways?” Hartz said of heavy traffic that makes access tough even now, before the projected 52,000 vehicles per day flood into and out of BullStreet when it is completed.
Jonathan Guy, who presented the 1,300-page study to the public and reporters Wednesday, told Hartz that the roads she is worried about are capable of handling the new volume.
Current and former Columbia City Council members asked Guy most of the questions at a sparsely attended public meeting in council chambers.
Some wondered why Calhoun Street, to the south of the project, is not slated for traffic lights and asked want can be done to keep more motorists along Main Street from using Confederate Avenue as a cut through.
Guy, who worked on traffic studies for the Charlotte Knights’ new minor-league downtown stadium as well as the stadium in Augusta, also was asked about which streets are would be widened if the state Transportation Department adopts the recommendations.
Two sections of Colonial Drive, the clogged intersection of Elmwood Avenue at Bull Street and a section of Harden Street would get new turning lanes, he said.
Elmwood would get a new right-turn lane onto Bull Street and current travel lanes at that intersection would be shifted to accommodate the thousands of extra vehicles that would enter and leave the emerging BullStreet neighborhood, Guy said.
Lane shifts would create two designated right-turn lanes from Bull onto Elmwood, said Guy, whose firm was hired by BullStreet master developer Bob Hughes. A concrete median would keep drivers in those right-turn lanes and create a place where pedestrians could wait on signalized crosswalks.
Motorists on Bull heading straight through the Elmwood intersection would have one fewer lane for about half of the first block, Guy said. But lanes would expand to four before Calhoun Street, including two opposite turn lanes. That should help keep many drivers from using Calhoun, he said during a media briefing at City Hall.
Motorists on Bull Street headed out of town would have an additional lane because of shifts in existing lanes, not because of an addition, Guy said.
Colonial, which forms the northern boundary of the BullStreet neighborhood, would be widened, with turning lanes at three locations: Gregg and Boyce streets and a site that currently has no entrance to the property.
Harden Street, where it is now four lanes, would gain a left-turn lane at a new major access road to BullStreet, Guy said.
Reach LeBlanc at (803) 771-8664.
Traffic volume projections
A study by Kimley Horn and Associates estimates that nearly 59,000 additional vehicles per day will enter and leave the BullStreet neighborhood when its three phases of construction are completed.
5,621 more cars daily
(phase 1 to be completed by the end of the year)
23,327 more cars daily
(phase 2 to be completed by the end of 2018)
23,012 more cars daily
(phase 3, which has no firm completion date)
(total added traffic when neighborhood construction is finished)
SOURCE: Kimley Horn and Associates
First BullStreet parking garage
City leaders are in talks with Lennar Commercial to build an 800-space, public garage near the city-owned stadium.
Assistant city manager Missy Gentry said Wednesday plans that have not been finalized call for the garage to be finished by the end of 2018 to coincide with Lennar’s plans to open its 85-store urban village called the Commons at BullStreet that will front the development along the Bull Street corridor.
The city has a contract with BullStreet’s master developer, Bob Hughes, to build 1,600 parking spaces on the 181-acre tract. Gentry’s acknowledgement is the first public indication that talks are under way and where the garage would be constructed.