Good roads and smooth traffic flow are two ingredients that make for an excellent quality of life. Cities need to constantly be watching traffic patterns and safety needs.
So it’s important that cities plan for the future. Grand Island is doing that as city officials are now working on the 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).
A public visioning workshop for the plan was held last week where residents could give input on what they feel is important when it comes to roads and highways in the area.
Andres Gomez, Metropolitan Planning Organization program manager, said the goal is to get a vision for the city’s transportation system 25 years into the future.
Gomez said the input from the public will now be used to develop a list of potential projects and then another public meeting will be held in May where the public can comment on the projects.
Then in November, the public will be able to comment on a draft document of the Long Range Transportation Plan.
The city is to be commended for taking input from the public and taking into consideration what concerns people. Often there can be a situation that goes overlooked without hearing from the public.
Here are some ideas on what the city can look at in its transportation plan:
- Highway 281 and Webb Road. One of the biggest concerns is safety along Highway 281. While the situation has improved over the years, there are still too many serious accidents there. Left turns on the highway can still be hazardous and more safety measures may be needed.
In addition, Highway 281 and Webb Road traffic is becoming more and more congested during peak times in the morning, at noon and in the evening. The city will need to look at ways to relieve the congestion.
One of the worst areas for congestion and safety is where Highway 281, Old Potash Road and people coming off of Highway 30, all meet. The merging of traffic off of Highway 30 onto Highway 281 in just a short space before Old Potash is dangerous and confusing.
The city is working on widening Old Potash, which will help, but the intersection with Highway 281 is still problematic.
Also in that area, the city should explore what can be done to alleviate the backup of traffic between Highway 281 and Diers Avenue, particularly at 13th and State streets. This backup is frustrating and dangerous.
- Five Points. The city is planning on putting a roundabout in at the busy Five Points intersection. However, much of the public is still skeptical about the roundabout. The city must do more to educate the public about the project and how to safely drive in a large roundabout.
- Hike and bike trails. While the city has outstanding hike and bike trails on the south end of town, more are needed on the north side. The city is working on a trail that would connect with the Veterans Athletic Complex and would be a nice addition to north Grand Island.
- Train backups. The city also must look at preventing long traffic backups because of trains going through the city. The Broadwell Avenue crossing of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks is the most prominent concern.
During the past 25 years, Grand Island has made major improvements to Highway 30 (Second Street), Capital Avenue and South Locust Street.
It will be interesting to see what they come up with for the next 25 years. The public should stay involved in the process and residents should give their input at the upcoming meetings.