Conway officials, armed with a feasibility study and public input, could determine the location of the city’s next roundabout next month.
Results of the Roundabout Community Survey and the Roundabout Feasibility Report will be presented to the Conway City Council during its May 14 meeting, spokesman Bobby M. Kelly III said. The Log Cabin Democrat obtained both through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The council in January 2018 approved hiring McClelland Consulting Engineers, Inc. “to analyze the existing and proposed conditions at six existing intersections” for $35,000. The study started in the last quarter of 2018 and concluded near the end of January 2019.
“All intersections are important to us,” Kelly said of choosing the six to study. “After careful consideration, we narrowed the focus of our study to six key intersections — College Avenue and Farris Road; College Avenue and Prince Street; Prince Street and Country Club Lane; Prince Street and Hogan Lane; Salem Road and Irby Drive; and Tyler Street and Salem Road are in most need of improvement.”
The mayor’s office received the hefty Roundabout Feasibility Report on March 29.
Prior to receiving the report, the city conducted a Roundabout Community Survey on its website from March 8-13 involving a collaboration of the mayor’s office, the Department of Information Technology (IT) overseen by Director Aaron Knight and the Transportation Department, which Director Finely Vinson leads.
“With the help of my friends in the department of information technology, we are kicking down the barriers preventing us from gathering meaningful feedback from the people of Conway,” Kelly said. “Nothing will stand in our way moving forward. We can build this city together."
Vinson said the input will be used along with the feasibility study to make the final decision.
“Results from the survey will be used in unison with our quantitative analysis of traffic data collected in the last two months,” said Vinson. “We’ve never done this before, so I’m thrilled."
The Roundabout Community Survey also provided a comment section where some residents left suggestions for other locations and expressed concerns about the dangers of one of the choices when traffic is as its heaviest.
“To summarize the main concerns that were submitted, the left turn from Irby Drive is perceived to be exceptionally dangerous during peak hour conditions,” the report reads in part. “There were many requests for roundabouts along Dave Ward Drive (AR 60), Oak Street (AR 64), and Harkrider Street (AR 65). And many complaints on the timing of the signalized intersections.”
A total of 2,138 votes were received from 1,670, according to the report.
The votes included:
• 635 votes for the intersection of Irby Drive and Salem Road.
• 603 votes for the intersection of Tyler Street and Salem Road.
• 435 votes for the intersection of College Avenue and Farris Road.
• 192 votes for the intersection of Prince Street and Country Club Road.
• 190 votes for the intersection of Prince Street and Hogan Road.
• 83 votes for the intersection of College Avenue and Prince Street.
The feasibility study looked at safety; congestion, which they referred to as control delay in the report; and utility, right-of-way and construction considerations, rating how difficult and costly it would be to construct a roundabout at each location by using data McClelland collected during the study. The results are included below.
Safety, which were based on number of vehicular crashes reported by the Conway Police Department:
• 28 crashes were reported at both College Avenue/Farris Road and Tyler Street/Salem Road.
• 23 crashes were reported at Prince Street/Hogan Road.
• 22 crashes were reported at Prince Street/Country Club Road.
• 13 crashes were reported at Irby Drive/Salem Road.
• 9 crashes were reported at College Avenue/Prince Street.
“The CPD did not have the specifics of each crash so it is not clear if these crashes could be prevented by roundabouts,” the report stated. “Roundabouts significantly reduce the number of right-angle crashes (T-bone) by having all vehicles merge into the circulatory roadway and exit out of the intersections without crossing paths with an opposing vehicle. Roundabouts typically reduce all crashes by lowering the speeds in the intersections.”
Control delay results, shows the expected improvements in delay times by converting from traffic signals to roundabouts at each intersection:
• 33.6 seconds per vehicle at the intersection of College Avenue and Farris Road.
• 33.3 seconds per vehicle at the intersection of Prince Street and Country Club Road.
• 18.8 seconds per vehicle at the intersection of Tyler Street and Salem Road.
• 18.1 seconds per vehicle at the intersection of Prince Street and Hogan Road.
• 15.2 seconds per vehicle at the intersection of College Avenue and Prince Street.
• 14.2 seconds per vehicle at the intersection of Irby Drive and Salem Road.
Utility, ROW and construction considerations, rated the intersections on which would be the least complicated and therefore least costly to build:
• College Avenue/Prince Street (least complicated).
• Prince Street/Hogan Road.
• Irby Drive/Salem Road.
• College Avenue/Farris Road.
• Prince Street/Country Club Road.
• Tyler Street/Salem Road (most complicated.)
Because of its flat area, the intersection at College Avenue and Prince Street was determined to be the least complicated while the intersection Tyler Street and Salem Road is on a hill and would be the most difficult.
The council will discuss this data and possibly vote on which of those six intersections will get a roundabout in 2019 during its meeting at 6:30 p.m. May 14 in the Judge “Jack” Roberts District Court Building. Council meetings are open to the public. Anyone who wishes to weigh in on the issue is encouraged to attend.
For more information, visit www.conwayarkansas.gov.