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North Broadway traffic study

Proposal shuttled to committee amid sparks

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A resolution asking for a major traffic study in Clintonville's midsection was referred to a committee instead of being approved at last week's area commission meeting, to the disappointment of District 2 representative Nancy Kuhel and over the heated objection of her District 3 colleague, James R. Blazer II.

"You can't agree with anything we ever say," Blazer told Kuhel at one point during the protracted discussion of Kuhel's proposal.

The same resolution was rejected at a special CAC meeting March 21 when Kuhel sought to substitute it for one favoring construction of a controversial left-turn lane on East North Broadway that would permit westbound traffic to turn south onto North High Street. Kuhel's resolution was voted down 5-3, with Chairman Daniel B. Miller abstaining.

That was the same margin by which the turn-lane resolution passed, reversing the panel's position for a third time.

Kuhel brought the resolution, which also includes a request for the city's assistance in bringing "quality development" to the southwest corner of the intersection of North High Street and East North Broadway, back up last week, she said, because it's not specific to the turn lane but deals with traffic flow throughout her district, that of Blazer and adjoining sections of the neighborhood.

"This is a completely separate thing," she said.

"Everything we do affects somebody," Kuhel added. "We have a lot of traffic. We don't know where the traffic comes from. We don't know where the traffic's going.

"There has never been a study, at all ... in the District 2-District 3 area. This is what people want to see done," she said. "They want this information and then we can make some choices."

The wording in the document, Kuhel said, was carefully crafted with the assistance of two "highly qualified" traffic engineers.

The resolution calls on city officials to "conduct formal traffic-pattern studies, including freeway exit and entrance ramps, from I-71 to Kenny Road along East and West North Broadway to determine alternate means of routing traffic that prevents exiting directly onto a residential street ... "

Two other sections ask for studies to "determine how to create a slower, more-humane traffic pattern" on West North Broadway between state Route 315 and North High Street as well as on North High between Weber and Torrence roads.

District 8 representative Kristopher Keller noted that portions of Kuhel's resolution already have been incorporated into the one regarding the turn lane. Stating the same thing again would only be confusing for city officials, he said.

"It looks like we don't know what we're doing here," Keller added.

Jason Meek of District 7 said that, aside from being redundant, it would be "irresponsible" to ask city officials to conduct the studies until traffic-calming measures to be constructed using Urban Infrastructure Recovery Fund project money have been in place for a period of time.

"I find it amazing that you're going to object to this only because of politics within the commission," Blazer said.

When Dana K.J. Bagwell proposed referring the resolution to the planning and development committee, Blazer reacted angrily.

"Then why the hell didn't you do that last week?" he asked. "We're becoming a laughingstock. Show leadership and vote these things through."

With District 1 representative Rob Wood and D Searcy of District 9 absent last week, the vote to refer the matter to a committee was four in favor and three against, with Miller called upon to break the tie.

Bagwell, Meek and Keller voted in favor, while Kuhel and Blazer were joined by Jennifer Kangas of District 6 in opposing the referral.

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