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Summit County Council Stands By Kilby Road Improvements

Summit County is getting a lot of complaints about its reconstruction efforts on Kilby Road.

In a brief report Wednesday to the council, county manager Tom Fisher reviewed what they’re hearing, and why the county is undertaking the road renovations.

Fisher said that they are not tone-deaf to the complaints about the Kilby project, and he said the citizens are raising valid points.

“It ranges from not understanding how curvilinear lanes can slow down traffic.” Fisher stated, “There’s difference of opinions about what kind of speeds should be set on the road. Whether bicycles in the bike lanes will actually be safe if people are traveling them too quickly and manipulate around the curves and get in the bike lanes.”

Fisher said the improvements are complying with road standards. And the county is trying to address some specific problems.

“Is it an innovative design? Yes. Is it new to the community? Yes, it is.” Fisher continued, “We are going to be watching it very closely to make sure that it achieves the goals that we wanted it to achieve. Which was, first of all the road that was there did not allow passing. If you were stopped at a corner and waiting to make a left there was no way for anybody to get past you, plus there were no bike lines on it. We’ve tried to achieve an expansion of what the road can be used for. We’ve tried to achieve a better situation for the trail that’s next to it, so it has a little bit more standoff distance from the traffic. We’ve certainly tried to achieve mixing a facility that is moving car traffic and vehicle traffic with bicycles and we’re going to see how that works.”

He said local travelers have to be responsible—and, Fisher noted, he’s one of them, since he lives in the area.

“Those that travel it, have to pay attention. They have to travel at a speed, even though there’s a maximum speed limit out there, they have to travel at a speed that the conditions set.” Fisher explained, “If there’s a bicycle next to you and you’re in one of those curves you may have to slow down a little bit to make that all work. As well bicyclists have to pay attention.”

“And maybe they have to get off their phones.” Council Chair Kim Carson added.

“Well I’m not going to comment on that”, Fisher replied “I think we could always blame the engineering. That the engineering can cure all the problems but there’s an interaction here that has to happen between those that are traveling on the road and with the design that’s there.”

Council Member Glenn Wright added the changes will affect traffic.

“I drove that Monday and I will say it’s definitely a traffic calming road.” Wright added, “You’ve got to pay attention. You can’t speed and that’s a good thing.”

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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