The Monroe City Council voted unanimously last week to proceed with a formal traffic study at the intersection of Blueberry Lane and Kelsey Street.-á

City staff has been developing alternatives to improve traffic safety at Blueberry and Kelsey since July, after the council faced backlash over its proposal to install a semi-permanent traffic modification known as a "pork chop.GÇ¥ The pork chop, a raised island area that would been installed on Blueberry Lane,would have prevented travelers from turning left from Blueberry onto Kelsey. It also would have prevented northbound drivers on Kelsey from being able to turn left onto Blueberry.

In addition to the pork chop, the proposal included additional "C-curbingGÇ¥ to be installed down the center of Kelsey Street, in the vicinity of the pork chop, that would have restricted a northbound driver's ability to drive into the southbound lane to bypass traffic.

Councilmembers received numerous emails from residents concerned about the proposal, so on July 26 they voted to suspend the action and have the city develop a series of alternatives.

Subsequently, the city developed four possible alternative actions. City staff recommended the traffic study as a way to better inform the council's decision. The study will be conducted by consulting firm Fehr & Peers, and is expected to cost $7,675.

According to correspondence from Fehr & Peers, the scope of work will include one week of data collection to identify incidents of unsafe driving and gather peak period vehicle counts. The data collection will take place during the week of Sept. 12 or later, and will be accomplished using a video camera.

Additionally, the firm will conduct a travel demand modeling analysis to make a determination on how traffic patterns will most likely reroute depending on which alternative is implemented.

Synchro, a traffic simulation software application, will be used to evaluate any potential change in the Level of Service (LOS) at the intersection based on each of the four alternatives. LOS data is an integral part of the city's Comprehensive Plan, and is used to rate different traffic corridors around the city. LOS data helps the city identify intersections that need mitigation.-á -á

Fehr & Peers hopes to receive the traffic counts by Sept. 21 and will submit a memo summarizing its findings by Oct. 12. Once the study is complete, Fehr & Peers staff will attend a public workshop or city staff meeting to present the results.

The vote took place during the Monroe City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 15. The council approved funding the traffic study in an amount not to exceed $8,000, which will come from the city's Contingency Fund.