Monday, October 6, 2008

Changes at Wheeling and Scenic Drive

After a second meeting with neighbors, the City of El Paso traffic engineers will propose that traffic coming off of Scenic Drive onto Wheeling can be slowed down by extending the curb and rock wall to more of a 90° angle.

District 2 Representative Susie Byrd sent out this report:
"I know that this was a hot neighborhood topic so I wanted to make sure that I reported back to you on the information that was requested by the neighborhood and on the outcome of our last meeting.

Some background. For many years, the residents that live on the first two blocks of Wheeling coming off of Scenic have complained about excessive and dangerous
speeding as people drive off of Scenic. Last month, the Traffic Department presented an option to help solve the problem. They suggested that we close access on the eastbound lane of Wheeling coming off of Scenic. The solution would mean that you could go up Scenic on Wheeling but not down Wheeling from Scenic.

We had a well attended first meeting and lots of emails, questions and concerns from the neighborhood in response to that solution. Here was what was requested before we made any changes: speed data on Richmond, Louisville and Wheeling; traffic volumes on Richmond, Louisville and Wheeling; accident history on Wheeling and other options that might solve the problem.

Additional information. Based on those requests, the Traffic Department went back and gathered that information. For your review, I am attaching a document summarizing those findings. [See graphic above.] The big news was that they discovered that the speeding was primarily limited to taking the turn. On average people were taking the turn from Scenic onto Wheeling at about 26 mph, when you really want to limit turning motions to about 10 to 15 mph. This situation is made more dangerous because of the low visibility when making the turnand the steep change in elevation. As people begin to anticipate the stop sign at Kentucky, they start to slow down and are then moving at safe neighborhood speeds. They also found that there are relatively few trips on this street, about 371 eastbound trips off of Scenic. No accidents have been reported in the last seven years on this stretch.

The second solution. Based on all of this new information and based on neighborhood concerns that closing this access would add more traffic to other streets and create an inconvenience to residents of the neighborhood, the Traffic Department recommended a second option which seemed to be more acceptable to the residents at the second meeting and seems more responsive to all of the follow up emails that I received. They are suggesting that we extend the curb and the rock wall on the south side of the road so that it requires a sharper turn, more of a 90 degree angle. Right now, it is a very wide turn that doesn't require a drive to slow to take the turn. The new 90 degree angle curb would require the drive to take this turn at much lower speeds.

I wanted to make sure that all interested parties who didn't have a chance to attend the meeting had a chance to review the information and to put in their two cents. Please let me know what you think. I will gather all of the responses and submit them to Traffic on Wednesday. They can proceed fairly quickly once they get the go ahead."

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