Traffic Calming…

It’s interesting that the small town of Culver is having heated conversations regarding traffic calming measures, but that was part of the discussion at the Redevelopment Commission meeting last Monday, 1/15/24. There was actually an impressive turnout for an evening with temperatures in the single digits.

Preliminary Plan for The Dunes development on South Main Street.

I already expressed some concerns about the connections between The Dunes and the rest of Culver here. Since that time, Culver has asked MACOG to fill a portion of the Urban Planner roll I suggested. MACOG is working on a traffic study to predict the impact of The Dunes. Town Manager, Kevin Danti, shared some of those results during the Redevelopment Commission meeting. The main thrust of this was that additional work need to be completed and probably would not be completed until this Summer when they would collect actual busy season data. Note: The plan to the right is old. There is a new one hanging on the wall in the Town Hall meeting room, which is probably out of date too, but closer to the final plan. The one to the right is close enough for representative purposes.

Most of the public comments were a rehashing of concerns expressed before. An interesting bit that caught my attention was the diametrically opposed conversation about the relatively new, pedestrian friendly, traffic calming islands on Main Street and Jefferson Street. Some audience members first expressed concern about additional traffic in the downtown causing safety issues, but then followed that up with complaints that the new traffic calming islands made it difficult for trucks with trailers to traverse these areas. Which is it, folks? Do you want to discourage the heavy traffic in the downtown and make pedestrian crossings safer for shoppers in the business district or do you want to change things to encourage truck and trailer traffic along these routes?

Traffic Calming Intersection Bulb-out

Cities and Towns around the world are looking at ways to make their streets more pedestrian friendly. This makes a lot of sense in business districts. Narrower lanes slow traffic. Corner islands reduce the distance pedestrians have to traverse. Both of these things serve to discourage unnecessary traffic in these areas. All of this fits with the trails that Culver has been adding. If residents are concerned about traffic downtown, don’t they want things that discourage it?

While I’m old enough to remember when Culver had two stoplights, I’m not old enough to remember when they were needed. I don’t remember when or why they were removed, but as a kid, I remember a stoplight at the corner of Main Street and Jefferson Street and a second one at the corner of Ohio Street and Jefferson Street. Now, I don’t remember the last time I’ve been behind more than one car at either of those intersection. We could always bring those back to slow things down…

Roundabout drawing at Davis St/South Main St intersection from the 2014 Comp Plan

The other thing that caught my attention is that while the committee working on this project recognizes the issues at the intersection of South Main Street and Davis Street, the idea of a roundabout has been taken off the table because the street department doesn’t like roundabouts. Really? I am not convinced that it is the best way to go, but it should remain a consideration until a better option comes forward. After all, it was in the 2014 Comp Plan. (I put the link in, hoping that the Town website will be fixed soon.) I am not saying that the street department’s input should be ignored, but I don’t think they should have that kind of veto power.

While Kevin Danti did a fine job of relaying the information at the meeting, I hope there is the opportunity for MACOG to present their ideas to the public directly. As with many things, there is unlikely to be 100% acceptance and agreement, but I’m pleased the effort is being made.

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