Crest Rd. changes coming

Budget cuts alter plans for traffic-calming project

Some of the long-awaited traffic-calming measures will be installed on Crest Road to help slow speeders and improve neighborhood safety, but others will have to wait until more funding is available.

The Via Alta intersection will get a more distinct T-shaped intersection, and one permanent, landscaped bulb-out will be installed next to Crest Rim Park. Construction is expected to begin within a month.

The other three bulb-outs, or chokers, planned for the street will not be built now because of a shortage of money. However, the temporary devices will remain.

The improvements were originally approved by the City Council after much public debate last May. At that time, $80,000 was budgeted for the entire project, but due to decreasing revenues, the city was forced to halve the project budget and do the construction in phases.

While the council expressed concern about spending $40,000 when the city is facing such large budget cuts, they agreed public safety was worth the expenditure.

“We need a way to slow things down so it’s safe,” Councilman Mark Filanc said.

The City Council approved the project on Monday on a 4-0 vote; Councilman Carl Hilliard did not vote due to a possible conflict of interest.

More than 15 residents expressed opinions about the project at the council meeting May 4, with many saying they have been campaigning for traffic calming on Crest Road for decades.

Judith Schuckit said she remembered bringing her 11-year-old daughter to city hall to raise concerns about Crest Road--her daughter is now 39.

“It’s time to do this,” Schuckit said.

Supporters expressed disappointment the entire project could not be completed at once, but encouraged the council to move forward with the first phase.

“This is going to be a very, very effective mechanism,” Harold Feder said.

The temporary chokers have been shown to slow and decrease traffic volume, but a few residents said they opposed them.

Jennifer McDowell said signs were more cost-effective and urged the council to use funds on projects that affect the entire city.

Others said they disliked having the chokers in front of their homes and that the alterations would make entering or exiting their driveways more difficult.