The City Council debated traffic improvements to the complicated intersection of Meadowbrook and Northwest 40th Street but ultimately decided Tuesday to let traffic control devices remain as they are.
And, the council also agreed without debate to drop the speed limit on the northern half of Southwest 27th Street to 25 mph, bringing uniformity in the posted speed to the mile-long street that stretches between West Lee and West Gore boulevards.
Ward 3 Councilwoman Rosemary Bellino-Hall had been set to recommend removal of two Stop signs and changing two others from Stop to Yield signs for the Meadowbrook/Northwest 40th Street area, formally described by traffic engineers as a "T" intersection but more closely resembling a "Y" as Northwest 40th Street splits to allow drivers to proceed to eastbound or westbound Meadowbrook (a more heavily traveled street). The intersection is further complicated by a triangular median and heavy vegetation on private property on the north side of Meadowbrook, where the collector street curves sharply to the south before proceeding west to Northwest 53rd Street.
Now, five Stop signs control traffic at the intersection, including two placed on Meadowbrook earlier this year for traffic that had been rerouted because of the Northwest 38th Street project. Traffic flow on Meadowbrook and Northwest 40th Street tripled in the months after the city closed Northwest 38th Street, and traffic officials set the Stop signs as a temporary measure to control heavy traffic through the residential neighborhood. The council later agreed to make those Meadowbrook Stop signs permanent upon the recommendation of the Traffic Commission and city staff.
However, Bellino-Hall said some residents have complained that because Northwest 38th Street is open and vehicular traffic has resumed its traditional pattern, the Meadowbrook Stop signs are no longer needed.
"There is reason to make some changes," Bellino-Hall said, explaining that some residents argue that because Meadowbrook is a thru-street, traffic should not have to stop.
The Traffic Commission offered a compromise that would have removed the Stop sign for eastbound traffic on Meadowbrook, but kept the sign for westbound traffic. Public Works Director Jerry Ihler, adviser to the Traffic Commission, said the reason was sight: The trees and shrubs on the north side of the Meadowbrook curve keep westbound drivers from seeing eastbound traffic, a dangerous situation for drivers who veer off Meadowbrook to proceed south on Northwest 40th Street (because they are turning in front of eastbound Meadowbrook traffic).