Roundabouts will once again be on the agenda when the Hays City Commission meets for a work session at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Commissioner Sandy Jacobs last month asked if the city could revisit a proposed mini-roundabout at the intersection of Canterbury and 27th Street. The possibility initially had been brought forth by Mayor James Meier in early March, and the commission opted at that time not to pursue it.
“Those people that drive that when it’s the busiest use it like a roundabout,” Jacobs said during the May 17 work session. “They get in that right lane, go across the intersection, make a u-turn, come back and turn right. They’d do it just beautifully if it was a roundabout, and I think it would keep traffic moving at those times of day out there really nicely.”
Installation of a permanent roundabout would cost between $28,000 and $144,000, depending on the pedestrian amenities provided. A memo from city project manager John Braun notes that intersection functions properly most of the time, but can become overwhelmed by traffic during peak volumes.
Meier initially had proposed a temporary structure that also could provide residents a chance to become familiar with the concept ahead of possible construction of three roundabouts along the Vine Street corridor. The commission in late May gave approval for engineering and design services for the Vine Street project.
If a permanent roundabout is constructed on Canterbury, the project would require removal of pavement in the center of the intersection and replacement with a domed circle that would direct traffic. The design would allow for trucks and larger vehicles to drive over it if necessary. There also are options to add sidewalk, curb ramps and crosswalks.
Costs for a temporary roundabout was estimated at approximately $5,000 in March, but that also assumed Canterbury would be restriped to three lanes. The commission in early May voted to reverse an earlier decision and maintain four lanes on that street following an outpouring of negative feedback from residents.
Jacobs said she spent time observing traffic on that street during those discussions, which is what led her to change her mind regarding the roundabout at 27th and Canterbury.
Also on Thursday’s agenda is a proposal that would increase transient guest tax rates — commonly known as a hotel bed tax — by 2 percent. The increase would be expected to generate an additional $416,000 per year and could be used to fund much of the Vine Street roundabout construction project.
It is estimated the full project could be funded with a 20-year bond, paid with revenues from the 2-percent transient guest tax hike. That tax is paid only by those who stay at Hays hotel rooms.
Other agenda items include:
• Award of bid for a fire training facility site pad.
• Award of bid for a waterline project along East 27th Street.
• Repainting of both of the city’s water towers and lead remediation at the water tower near Sternberg Museum. Local artist Dennis Schiel has proposed a mural around the base of that water tower and is in the process of raising funds for that project.