by Sam Shore
It will come as no surprise to anyone living or driving along the stretch of Burnet Road from 2222/Koenig lane south to North Loop that traffic is heavy and often problematic. This section of Burnet Road is much more narrow than the rest of Burnet to the north of 2222/Koenig Lane leaving no room for turn lanes and no buffering distance for pedestrians or cyclists. Development of residential and business properties has increased dramatically along this stretch and brought additional traffic. One development scheduled for completion by November 2013 is the 179 unit apartment complex, Burnet Flats, being built between Adams Ave and Clay in the Brentwood neighborhood. The only ingress and egress from this development is on Adams Ave, a 27 foot wide residential street. This project was approved by the city in spite of the fact that it will increase traffic on Adams Ave from the current 560 trips per day to 1,760 - a 215% increase.
As a resident on Adams Ave with 3 small children, I am concerned the increased traffic will present a significant spike in the life safety risks in the immediate neighborhood along Adams, Ullrich and Clay. A small group of residents from this area and the Brentwood Neighborhood Association have been working with the city staff and the developers of Burnet Flats (Ardent Residential) to address the immediate traffic concerns. Ardent has offered to pay for a signal at this intersection in recognition of the traffic impact on the neighborhood. The city staff has continually been opposed to having a traffic signal along this stretch of Burnet saying it is not "warranted". However, they may reconsider.
In mid-January a meeting was held with the city transportation staff to seek traffic solutions. A key aspect of the discussion focused on traffic calming and installing a traffic light at the intersection of Adams and Burnet. The goal is to encourage Burnet Flats traffic to use the Burnet/Adams intersection rather than to cut through the neighborhood to find places to get onto Burnet or Koenig lanes. If you have ever tried to use this intersection you know that it is a harrowing experience to turn left or right onto Burnet due in large part to the non-perpendicular angle of the approach to Burnet and the fact that there are very few gaps in the traffic that come barreling north and south on Burnet. The stretch from Northland to North Loop is the longest space between signals that exists when you look at traffic signals between 2222/Koenig and Hancock. Because of this distance, city staff refers to the Northland to North Loop section as a "bowling alley" (with us pedestrians as the pins).
At the January Allandale Neighborhood Association (ANA) Executive Committee meeting, this situation and the possibility of a signal at Adams and Burnet was presented by me and Don Leighton-Burwell from the Brentwood Neighborhood Association. Representatives from ANA were invited to participate in discussions with the city to do two things - to come to a decision on having a light at this intersection and to engage in a discussion of area-wide traffic planning. On February 1st, a follow up meeting was held with city staff and representatives of both neighborhood associations. Discussion of the proposed signal and traffic planning for the area has begun and follow up with the transportation engineers is scheduled to occur in the next few weeks.
From my perspective we have gained the attention of the appropriate people from the city. The challenge will be to quickly come up with acceptable solutions and get the city staff to implement those solutions. There is a risk of missing this opportunity to make traffic improvements along this stretch of Burnet Rd due to prolonged planning, analysis, and inability to arrive at a consensus on viable solutions to present to the city. If you are interested and concerned you can let me (Sam Shore) know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org