Accident breaks ‘calm’ on Broadway Street

       A recent traffic accident at Broadway Street and Westend Avenue has dramatized - at least for two neighborhood-involved Midland residents - the urgency for the city to install long-awaited “traffic calming” structures on Broadway.
       In the accident, early this month, a driver turning right off Westend smashed into a vehicle backing out of a driveway on the south side of Broadway. A father and his kindergarten daughter were in the car that was hit. The child was OK; the father had to be treated for bruises at a local hospital, according to the residents.
       No one can say if a traffic circle would have prevented the accident (the only control at the intersection now is a stop sign for eastbound cars). However, residents Anna England and Audrey Ward, who had helped their neighborhood qualify for the city's Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP), expressed frustration in interviews this week because they think the project should have been done by now.
       The NTMP works with residents in city-selected areas to “calm” their traffic through such measures as stop signs, bump-outs, traffic circles or street narrowing.
       Asked about the NTMP schedule for Broadway last week, Kristin Bennett, a city senior transportation planner who heads the program, said she has no dates set. The problem is that lingering snow and ice mitigate against installing the traffic-control devices. “We don't need just a break in the weather, but clear streets,” she said, adding that currently, based on the thinking in her office, “we're leery about putting anything in until spring.”
       Also slated for improvements whenever the streets are deemed ready will be 17th Street (the other Westside NTMP site), between Colorado Avenue and Uintah Street, Bennett said.
       England had applied to the program in 2003 because she was fed up with the speeders, late-night racers and cut-through traffic on Broadway - a wide, flat residential street between 21st Street and Westend that also includes Midland Elementary. Her efforts included gathering 75 signatures on a petition.
       There's no denying that there have been delays since '03. The first was about one year, because the program's director position sat unfilled. After Bennett came on board, Broadway was selected for NTMP attention in 2005, and, after holding meetings with the residents, she scheduled the installation of temporary improvements for spring 2006. However, the loss of a key materials supplier forced Bennett to postpone the work. In the fall, some installations occurred, but they were done incorrectly, Bennett explained (and she has since had all of them removed except the corner bump-outs at Broadway and Calvert Avenue by Midland School). Then, before the correct configurations could be put in place, snowy weather arrived, leading to the current impasse.
       “There's been one excuse after another for four years,” summed up England, who's considering going to City Council to state her case. “I think it's ridiculous. What was the point of having all those meetings and studying the streets? I'm offended as a taxpayer.”
       Ward was concerned about the traffic accident having occurred at one of the NTMP target intersections. “This brought up the question, where's the calming?” she said. “We're supposed to try to eliminate this danger.”

Westside Pioneer article