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City Council approves traffic study

September 18, 2019

The City Council of Webster City approved a traffic study for Prospect Street, which will encompass intersections with Webster, Cedar and Boone streets to determine whether stop signs are warranted in any of those locations.

The estimated cost of the study is $2,800 and the Traffic Study Committee recommended to that council that the city move forward with it.

“The only question I have is whether we should go ahead and put the stop signs in rather than do a study,” asked Mayor John Hawkins. “Because it costs less money to do the stop signs than the study.”

The cost for each new sign was estimated to be about $200 per sign, according to Matt Alcazar, project coordinator for the city.

Councilman Jim Talbot said there was a high volume of traffic moving through the area, especially when school lets out.

Council member Logan Welch said he had brought the matter to the traffic study committee’s attention about a year and half ago.

“I think that this is one of those situations where continuously we see issues and I know a lot of the neighbors are very uncomfortable with the flow of traffic there, especially those with small children,” Welch said. “A lot of close calls.”

Welch went on to say that he believed the mayor had a point about the study.

“Do we need to do a study? Is there a due process needed here?” he asked.

Alcazar said he believed the study was a valid consideration.

“The study will actually tell us where the best location for those stop signs should be,” Alcazar said.

Alcazar said there had been four accidents at those intersections since 2017.

City Manager D. Jeffrey Sheridan said that if the council goes ahead with a study but does not follow the conclusions of the research, then the city’s liability could become an issue.

“Be prepared to implement whatever those findings may be if you go through with the study,” he said.

The council members considered rejecting the study and sending the matter back to the traffic study committee. Several of the council members spoke about their impressions of the traffic flow in the area and the times of day they felt it was heavier.

Sheridan said that the study would give the council “facts, not anecdotal” data.

“You’re relying on your observations and while they are not inaccurate, they may not be complete,” Sheridan said. “That’s not to say your observations aren’t valued, but the study is going to be more detailed and more fact-based. I would expect it to be done in such a way that it would make sense to follow its recommendations.”

In the end, the council members unanimously voted to proceed with the traffic study.

A sculpture of the iconic Doodle Bug scooter will soon find a home at East Twin Park.

Kent Harfst, director of recreation and public grounds, told the council that the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Parks and Recreation Committee had approved the proposal from Maureen Seamonds to place the sculpture in the park.

Harfst said the sculpture will be roughly three times the size of an actual Doodle Bug and will cost city about $100 to provide a concrete base for the piece.

The council approved the request.

Ken Wetzler, public works director, gave a report on the city’s recent informational meeting concerning the proposed $9.1 million 2020 Second Street Reconstruction project.

Wetzler said 18 people had signed in at the meeting, but there may have been who attended. Members of the public attending offered suggestions about street lighting, extending the look of the downtown out further into the community, Wetzler said.

“They also asked about retaining walls,” he said. “From property line to property line, we’re going to replace everything in that right of way.”

Wetzler said three of the businesses located along the stretch from Prospect street to Overpass drive were in attendance. Access to the businesses during the construction was an issue, Wetzler said, but added that all of three businesses had secondary entrances on other streets.

“Deliveries may be a concern for Hy-Vee and Fareway,” he said. “We may want to have a separate meeting with them as they figure out what they can do with their deliveries. Then we can figure out how we can accommodate them.”

“We want this to be as painless as possible,” he said.

The council has not yet voted whether to proceed with the project.


View this article as it originally appeared in the Daily Freeman-Journal.

Last modified: September 18, 2019

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