The Hays City Commission for a second time on Thursday put the brakes on a proposal to construct a roundabout at the intersection of 27th Street and Canterbury, but indicated a roundabout at 27th and Indian Trail might be a better investment.
The issue was brought forth for discussion by Commissioner Sandy Jacobs, who requested the commission revisit the Canterbury intersection after Mayor James Meier initially suggested a temporary roundabout there in early March. The idea was rejected at that time, and Jacobs said she heard from many residents afterward who favored the proposal.
“When we discussed it the first time, interestingly after that I had a significant number of people say, ‘Why didn’t you do that? That was a great idea.’ So that was in the back of my mind,” she said. “The second thing was when we were working on Canterbury striping, whether we were going to do three lanes or four lanes, I spent a lot of time out there as I said last week. … When it’s not the busy times of day, you’re right, it’s not an issue. But the busy times of day, especially when the students are coming and going, they use it almost like a roundabout anyway.”
The costs of installing a permanent roundabout in that location were estimated at a minimum of approximately $28,000. The price tag would increase significantly with optional features such as sidewalks, curb ramps pedestrian crosswalks.
Ultimately, the commission indicated that particular intersection might not pose enough of a traffic problem to justify that level of investment. Vice-Mayor Henry Schwaller IV pointed out the intersection of 27th and Indian Trail is more problematic, and other commissioners quickly agreed.
“I’m very opposed to this. This is a solution looking for a problem. It does function well 98-percent of the time,” Schwaller said. “There are 186 school days a year, you factor that into the number of hours this intersection is used -- only 2 percent of the time, there’s a problem. When people have contacted me ... 27th and Indian Trail is a much more problematic intersection. You want to put a roundabout there? Now you’ve got my attention.”
Commissioner Shaun Musil agreed, saying he hears many concerns from residents regarding the four-way stop at that intersection -- sometimes daily.
“I drove (Canterbury) five days a week to take my son home from school. You’re exactly right, those high school kids, they go around, make a u-turn, go around. But I will say I’ve been in that line, and I’ve never waited in line more than two minutes, and that’s a stretch,” Musil said. “I think it’s a perfect place for a roundabout; I personally don’t think it’s a need at this point. … If we’re going to spend money, I’d rather go with Indian Trail.”
City staff likely will present information at a later time regarding traffic control options for the intersection of 27th and Indian Trail. That intersection has been identified as a concern, but hasn’t been addressed by the city commission since the state declined a cost-share proposal for a traffic light more than 10 years ago, City Manager Toby Dougherty said.
Meier said he still believes a roundabout at the Canterbury intersection would be valuable, but agreed it shouldn’t be prioritized as highly as a traffic solution on Indian Trail.
“I still personally think this is a good idea. Maybe it’s not as big of a problem as Indian Trail, but it also is not going to cost as much as Indian Trail to fix,” Meier said. “To me, it’s not an either/or proposition. I still think it solves a problem."
Several other items were discussed and will be moved on to next week’s regular meeting for a vote. Those items include:
• Award of bids for a site pad for a fire training facility and a waterline project along East 27th Street.
• Bids for repainting both water towers and lead remediation on the large tower near Sternberg Museum of Natural History.
• A proposal to increase the city’s transient guest tax by 2 percent to pay for possible construction of three roundabouts on Vine Street.