As the City continues discussions with various stakeholders, please review the information provided about the traffic issues at Sicard & Liberty and provide feedback to help guide the short-term and long-term decisions.
Liberty Park Concerns Regarding Sicard Hollow Carpool Safety Issues
Lately, the Council has heard concerns from folks in the Liberty Park community about the backups occurring on Sicard Hollow due to carpools for VHELP and Liberty Park Middle. We are taking steps to address these concerns and wanted to provide a brief Q&A update on our progress.
What is the problem? The concern is that, during morning and afternoon carpool, cars are backing up onto Sicard Hollow, causing significant travel delays. This occurs over a 30-minute or longer period in the morning and afternoon. To circumvent the backup, some drivers trying to travel through the area are driving around the carpool line into oncoming lanes of traffic, which poses a significant hazard to themselves and others. Many people in Liberty Park have noted their concern over this safety issue and asked for the City’s help in finding a solution.
What has been done so far? Councilors Rusty Weaver and Kimberly Cook shared residents' concerns with the City Manager and asked for a meeting to discuss the issue. Cook and Weaver met, last Tuesday, with the City Manager, Police and Public Works to discuss possible solutions. After a robust discussion of alternatives, including the addition of a left-turn lane on Sicard Hollow, Cook asked Chief Rary to work within the department to devise, by February 21, a carpool plan that would accomplish the most pressing goal: to move carpool traffic off Sicard Hollow and provide safe, through travel, while protecting the safety of students and their parents in carpool.
What would it take to put in a left-turn lane as a possible solution? In the course of the City’s discussion, the group explored an alternative to provide a new turn lane near the intersection of Sicard Hollow and Liberty Parkway. Besides the expected paving and striping, this expansion would require relocation of utilities, acquisition of right-of-way on private property and significant engineering to accommodate the challenging terrain. The City Engineer estimated costs might be in the $500,000-$1,000,000 range. The time required to relocate utilities, obtain right-of-way and allocate funding could be significant—potentially putting implementation of a solution into the next fiscal year.
What are the next steps? Councilors Weaver and Cook will work with City departments and school officials to determine what carpool plan will provide the most effective, immediate help for the situation. The City and school officials will communicate the plan to school parents and Liberty Park residents and implement the change with support from PTO, school officials, school resource officers, community leaders and extra, transitional help from the police department. It is the City’s desire to implement a new strategy by the first Monday after spring break—April 3. We, along with school officials, will monitor the success of the solution and work to adjust, as needed, to make it work.
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