Prairie Village exploring option of turning part of 69th Street near Village Shops into a one-way

Jay Senter - October 9, 2017 10:34 am
69th Street is the only road the connects to the Village Shops that doesn’t have a sidewalk.

Following a traffic study triggered by a resident petition, Prairie Village will hold a public meeting to get feedback on the idea of transforming a stretch of 69th Street leading to the Village Shops into a one-way road.

Traffic engineers at TranSystems recently completed an examination of traffic loads and average vehicle speeds in the area after 70 percent of homeowners in the study area signed on to a petition asking the city to explore options for improving safety.

Two homeowners, Dan Moon and John Mortensen, addressed the council at last week’s meeting, suggesting that traffic to the Village Shops generated by Chipotle and Starbucks had led to a noticeably increase in traffic along their street in recent years. With 17 kids under the age of 10 on the block, there’s a significant safety concern, they said.

“We’re worried about the safety of people who use our street,” Mortensen said.

The stretch of 69th Street from Tomahawk Road to El Monte is the only road leading to the Village Shops that does not have a sidewalk, meaning pedestrians are often in the road. Moreover, road curvature combined with a complicated intersection at Tomahawk, with a triangle in the median that restricts some visibility, make the area near the Prairie Park playground precarious for motorists.

As presently configured, according to the consultants, the street will not accommodate a sidewalk without significant impact on the mature trees lining the road. The consultants at TranSystems concluded that the proposed transformation to a one-way from El Monte to Tomahawk road would be feasible.

“If desired, the portion of 69th Street between El Monte Street and Tomahawk Road can be converted to one-way traffic flow in the westbound direction,” the consultants wrote. “Eastbound traffic will be diverted to different routes, such as Oxford Road and Prairie Lane. The increase in daily traffic volumes on these neighboring streets is anticipated to be nominal and would have no significant safety or operational impact on these streets.”

Though the council advanced the residents’ request for the city to hold a public input session on the idea, many expressed that they were hesitant to support the idea.

Andrew Wang, who represents Ward 3, said traffic calming measures often have unintended consequences.

“I’m not really ever particularly supportive of initiating…major traffic changes…based on something that hasn’t happened,” Wang said. “We don’t take into account what who this might put at a disadvantage or who might not like it.”

The city has not announced a date and time for the public input meeting.

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