No Great Option: The Columbia Avenue Expansion Project

Anyone who lives on the west or south side of Franklin is aware of the traffic congestion problems that Columbia Ave is experiencing from Down’s Boulevard to Mack Hatcher. Bumper to bumper traffic, no matter what time of day, can make travel on this stretch quite the headache. When we moved into our house in 2009, I could be at the Target in 5 minutes; I’m lucky now if I can get there in 15.

The area off Columbia Avenue is quite built up with residential neighborhoods, new apartment complexes, restaurants, and multiple businesses. It also has one of the worst accident records of any road in the City, and I know this firsthand after being hit from behind by a truck and shoved into the car in front of me in November 2012.

The City has put together a special website to discuss the options. There are two videos explaining the two proposals. The only one that would meet the current City codes of requiring a Level of Service (LOS) C or better would be the roundabout option. The other option to expand to 5 lanes would be a LOS F.

My concern with the roundabout option is that Columbia Avenue is a major truck route and trucks turning onto Columbia from side streets and businesses after making deliveries will have a hard time navigating the roundabouts when not going straight up or down the road. With that said, if it’s the only available option that actually meets the City codes, it should be the chosen option. I do not understand at all while the City is entertaining ANY options that are not up to our coding standards. That is absolutely ridiculous and if time allowed, I would like to go completely back to the drawing board and take ONLY proposals that meet City code requirements. I don’t fully believe this proposal is what is needed to make sure the road is ready to handle the growth it will see in the next 10 years.

Take a moment to visit the webpage that the City has organized. Watch the videos. Look at the proposals and if you can, please join me Wednesday, August 30th from 4:00-6 for the next special Board of Mayor and Alderman “Open House” on the Columbia Avenue project. We need to make sure that the Board understands that this decision MUST be done with the foresight of future growth. If not, in 5-10 years, we will be in the exact same predicament and have wasted a lot of resources pursuing an inadequate project.

–Elizabeth

Columbia Avenue Information

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