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City of Hayden to unveil new intersection improvement plan

A public hearing will unveil taking place on Oct. 13 the plans to improve Hayden Avenue and Ramsey Road.
Credit: Coeur d'Alene Press

HAYDEN, Idaho — The city of Hayden is taking steps to encourage public comments that will help shape decision-making for a planned intersection improvement at Hayden Avenue and Ramsey Road, reports our partners from the Coeur d'Alene Press.

A public hearing will take place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 13 at Hayden City Hall with a presentation of concepts for a restructured intersection. People will be able to share their opinions of these concepts at the open-house-style forum.

The public’s comments will be used to compose the report of planning recommendations to the City Council. It’s the first step in the process to introduce early designs, gather feedback and hear from the public on how to begin construction.

The proposals are options for either a roundabout, or the addition of a center turning lane to improve traffic.

“Yes,” said Emma Freed, Great Escapes Espresso employee, when asked her opinion on the option of a roundabout. “Yes, please yes. There literally was an accident this morning.”

In the concept for a turning lane, there would be three legs of the intersection each with three lanes, while the south leg will be five lanes, incorporating right-turn lanes as well as left-turn lanes.

“Roundabouts are a safer alternative to traffic signals and stop signs,” according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “Studies of intersections in the United States converted from traffic signals or stop signs to roundabouts have found reductions in injury crashes of 72-80% and reductions in all crashes of 35-47%.”

This improvement is part of a larger strategy for transportation in the city of Hayden, and the design reflects the three goals of the 2040 Hayden Transportation Plan. The second goal intends to “minimize impact of traffic passing through residential areas of the city to assure safe neighborhoods and preserve the residential character of the community.”

Traffic at the stop sign now backs up at rush hours as far as the intersection of Reed Road to the east, and Valley Way to the west. An update at Ramsey Road will provide improved quality of flow for local residential traffic in the area, if the council ultimately decides to move forward.

“Overall, I like roundabouts,” said Ed DePriest, city council member. “And if they’re designed properly, the larger the road, the larger the roundabout has to be. We just don’t know right now how that will play out. I have always emphasized public comment. I can’t tell you one way or another how we’ll proceed.”

Alan Spoderling, the city’s director of public works, said they hope to receive useful, constructive criticism at the public hearing/open house.

“The hope is that we’ll get good feedback,” Spoderling said. “If there’s a clear-cut support for one over the other we’ll provide that to the council. As far as going to this open house is concerned, it’s wide open.”

This improvement plan is one of a handful of critical short-term projects for the near future.

“Hayden Avenue indicates a potential deficiency in the long-term future,” according to the city’s transportation plan.

Long-term deficiencies are considered intersections that will begin to suffer prior to 2040.

Hayden Avenue is also expected to operate with deficiencies in the near-term future, prior to 2030. The Hayden Avenue intersections with Atlas and Huetter roads are particular points of friction, and future options for projects with center-turn lanes or bike lanes will continue to develop. If, for example, the council decides to improve an intersection with turning lanes, the hope would be to continue that standard along Hayden Avenue.

These intersections are targeted for redesigns that will better direct access to the Coeur d’Alene Airport. The construction can balance the single-family residential area surrounding the airport with improved flow of traffic into the airport space. Eventually, North Ramsey and West Lancaster roads will connect for traffic flow around the airport.

“I hope it doesn’t leave me homeless,” said Lisa Donaldson, resident of the Meadowlark Mobile home Park. “I look every so often to see if there’s any planning.”

Donaldson’s home directly overlooks the intersection and would likely be among the most affected by any construction.

With the proposed changes, residents also have concerns of how improved traffic flow can also increase the traffic load.

Spoderling said, trends show that traffic is increasing, and the road improvements are dictated by those trends. He said if Hayden doesn’t plan for growth they’ll be caught with inefficiencies.

The strategies in the 2040 plan are based on the expectation of peak traffic doubling by then.

Either option will also affect local businesses through Hayden Avenue, but most specifically Meadowlark Mobile Home Park, Great Escapes Espresso and Hayden Qwik Stop. The public comment forum would allow questions on the possible long-term effects on residences, businesses and citizens.

The Coeur d'Alene Press is a KREM 2 news partner. For more from our partners, click here.

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