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City seeks input on foot traffic project

Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 01:11

The City of College Station reached out to the public to gather input on a pedestrian improvements project that has caused problems with some local business owners since the start of construction.

The University Drive Pedestrian Improvements Project, now in Phase II of production, aims to facilitate pedestrian movement along and across the corridor between College Main and South College Avenue. A town hall meeting was held at the A&M United Methodist Church on Monday to discuss the needs of pedestrians, cyclist, motorists and others who could be affected by the possible changes.

“We will take the input we get tonight [and] the results of conditions that we’ve observed and probably look at alternative designs,” said Mike McInturff, vice president of HDR Engineering, Inc. “What we’ll do is create a conceptual design beginning January.”

According to the plan laid out during the presentation, another public meeting in early 2013 will follow the design to gather more public input. Construction is expected to start during the middle of 2014.

When addressing an attendee’s concerns of traffic getting backed up from students crossing on Nagel Street, McInturff said he anticipates the biggest concern throughout this process will be balancing traffic flows at intersections.

“Frankly, one of the biggest issues in this project is dealing with that north-south pedestrian and side street traffic,” McInturff said. “There are certain requirements that have to be met in terms of signal timing based on travel speed by pedestrians.”

Other concerns that came from the audience included maintaining the flow of automobile traffic that allows for more than one entrance to the Northgate Garage.

Aside from safety and traffic flow issues, some attendees of the meeting, such as Robert Rose — owner of Cycles Etc. on University Drive — said they wanted more communication between businesses and the Phase II project leaders.

“What concerns me is the construction activity outside my front door and there still being access to customers,” Rose said. “We went through construction during Phase I and we had construction signs in front of our building. It made it look like we were closed.”

Peter Lange, executive director of Transportation Services at Texas A&M, said the biggest point students should take away from this meeting is the emphasis on safety.

“The focus of this project is pedestrian and bike safety,” Lange said. “There are a lot of people crossing University [Drive], and there are some deficiencies in the sidewalks and cross walks.”

Michael Gierisch, senior recreation, park and tourism sciences major, said his primary motive for coming to the meeting was to fulfill a class requirement and the meeting presented an opportunity more unique to his major.

“This [meeting] is a really good opportunity to get into something more fitting with exactly what we do: something more park related,” Gierisch said.

 

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