The residents in the Killarney Estates neighborhood have been working for years to find relief on the ever-growing cut-through traffic that was impacting their neighborhood. They have come out in opposition to new commercial development/re-development in the area, asking that their issues be addressed prior to the new development being allowed. During a recent application for redevelopment of the former Ranch Mall site, Planning & Transportation staff committed to holding a meeting to address a strategy to solve the cut-through issues. A meeting was held where all members of the neighborhood were invited to provide ideas on how to solve the problems. The concept that was agreed to creates a complete separation of the Commercial traffic and the Residential traffic. It required compromise, as none of the residents would be able to access their homes from 17-92, as they had been able to in the past. On the other side, the Commercial traffic would be isolated to using 17-92 for their access, and Grove Ave at the rear of the properties, which would also allow an outlet onto westbound Fairbanks Ave. Traditionally, much of the commercial traffic had used the neighborhood streets as cut through access.
Staff agreed to create a test-fit of the proposed solution, which has been in place for months. Though there are many people that have moved barricades, driven across yards, and damaged city traffic control devices in order to keep cutting through, the overall results are very positive. Staff met onsite with neighbors many times and saw car after car cutting through a quiet neighborhood, driven mostly by mapping apps that led them to cut through and make illegal traffic maneuvers.
Some commercial property owners have concern about not being able to use the neighborhood streets to access their properties, but no entrances have been completely blocked, still leaving appropriate and safe access to the properties. An updated test-fit to allow limited commercial access was requested, but after designing and vetting the new test-fit, staff was able to model the traffic patterns that would result and had concern that this modification would not meet the intent of the separation of traffic, still allowing commercial traffic in the residential area. Therefore, staff is bringing this item forward to the Commission, where the two alternatives and their traffic patterns will be shown. The Commission can take input from all interested parties and make a final decision, allowing staff to create the final design and build the improvements.
Upon the most recent visit to the same location in the neighborhood that was formerly a parade of cut-through vehicles, the rush hour traffic now consisted of the residents of the neighborhood safely riding bikes, running and walking their dogs. A Petition from the Killarney Estates residents and a map of the properties in favor of the petition was sent to the City Commission. They are attached to this memo.
It is the professional opinion of the Planning & Transportation Department that the current test-fit design (in-place right now) safely achieves the intent of separating the residential and commercial traffic, which was the original intent of this process.