A Round About Downtown?

There could be more changes coming for downtown commuters.

The Fort Wayne Board of Public Works approved a study Wednesday to examine possible benefits of creating a roundabout at the intersection of Superior Street, Ewing Street and Fairfield Avenue.

The roundabout would be part of a larger change to allow two-way traffic on Ewing and Fairfield in the downtown area. Ewing currently serves northbound traffic and Fairfield serves southbound drivers. The board hired American Structurepoint for $24,950 to complete the study.

Shan Gunawardena, city traffic engineer, said studies have been done to examine how converting the streets to two-way traffic would affect downtown intersections. He said while there likely would be some increased traffic delays, it was not large enough to cause a concern.

The plan would convert the streets to one travel lane in each direction and a middle turn lane between Baker and Superior streets. In the past, the streets were converted to one-way to handle increased traffic from General Electric, but there no longer is a large volume of traffic, he said.

In 2009, the city completed a $1.1 million project to convert Calhoun Street to allow two-way traffic throughout downtown.

Converting the streets would require some changes at the intersection with Superior, Gunawardena said, as the two merge into Wells Street north of Superior. Having both streets two-way would create a five-way intersection at Superior, prompting the city to examine a roundabout in that location.

Ewing and Fairfield carry between 5,000 and 9,000 vehicles a day in the downtown area.

The plan could also prompt some changes on Main Street just west of Harrison Street.

If Ewing and Fairfield were made two-way, it would likely require dedicated left-turn lanes from Main Street onto both of those roads, Gunawardena said.

This could mean changing Main from two lanes in each direction to a single travel lane in each direction and a middle turn lane. Such a change could also make room for bike lanes, Gunawardena said.

In addition, the plan would require the conversion of a small stretch of Baker Street to accommodate two-way traffic between Fairfield and Ewing.

The roundabout study is expected to be completed in 90 days, Gunawardena said, when the merits of the plan are assessed.

 

The study also will provide cost estimates for the project.

-Journal Gazette

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Categories: Goverment, Transit

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