Davenport’s capital improvement budget for fiscal year 2014 includes defibrillators, design work for the central fire station and a bus maintenance facility, but no traffic roundabouts.

Aldermen met Saturday morning to discuss the estimated $15.43 million capital improvements budget and provided the most direction toward parks development despite hearing about a wide range of projects.

On Monday, the City Council heard a proposal that involved using traffic roundabouts at 10 intersections as part of a plan for turning 3rd and 4th streets from one-way to two-way thoroughfares. At the time, the idea produced groans from some aldermen while others supported the idea. Several aldermen had traveled recently to Carmel, Ind., just north of Indianapolis, to see what that city has done to implement the circular intersections.

The proposal introduced at the start of the week was to put roundabouts at the intersections of 3rd and 4th streets with Iowa, Harrison, Gaines, Marquette and Division streets. But no money was allocated for the project Saturday. However, the Public Works Department is proceeding with a plan to add parallel parking on Harrison Street between Locust and 6th streets.

Public Works director Mike Clarke said that roundabouts were presented as a way of lowering costs and that no decision has been made on them. But he said that converting 3rd and 4th streets is not part of any funding plans over the next few years.

The original estimate for converting the two one-way streets into two-ways was $2.2 million to install new traffic lights along the route. The plan using roundabouts, stop signs and traffic lights carried a price tag of only $500,000, though.

Fire Chief Lynn Washburn raised safety concerns with the roundabouts earlier in the week, saying that they could impede response times for fire trucks. It was pointed out that conversion of the Harrison Street intersections would need state approval because it carries U.S. 61 traffic.

There was some support for the plan earlier in the week from the standpoint of making downtown more accessible and opening up more parking.

 The council directed city staff to commit $25,000 to River Heritage Park for work that needs to be done ahead of the construction of a gazebo donated by the Davenport Rotary Club, $20,000 for a restroom at the park and $50,000 for improvements to softball fields in Junge Park. The money will come from a balance of $100,000.

The balance is part of $300,000 allocated for park development in this year’s capital improvement budget. Aldermen decided to divide the $300,000 three ways: between River Heritage Park, which is at River Drive and East 4th Street; Veterans Memorial Park, which is at River Drive and Marquette Street, and a proposed softball complex at 53rd Street and Eastern Avenue. That property is being sold.

Proceeds of the property sale will not be allocated specifically to parks, but they will be used as part of the entire capital improvement budget.

Alderman Mike Matson, 8th Ward, wants $200,000 from parks development in the fiscal year 2014 budget to be used for designing phase two of Veterans Memorial Park. That is the entire amount budgeted for park development in the next fiscal year.

The park drew the only public comment of the meeting, from Annette Wood of the Friends of Veterans Memorial Park, who asked that the council not forget about funding it.

The council also heard that work on the central fire station continues, with design work to begin on the project in July, followed by new construction on the building beginning in July 2014 and that work and renovation of the old building be completed in 2016.

Aldermen voiced their concerns about a lack of funding for an expansion of 76th Avenue until fiscal year 2018. Clarke told the council the project is in line for federal funding through the Bi-State Regional Commission’s transportation program.

The police department is seeking $85,000 for improvements to its interview rooms. Assistant Chief Don Schaeffer told aldermen that sound from interviews is “bleeding” into other rooms, compromising statements that are not admissable in court, so additional soundproofing is required.

Also, the budget includes $40,000 for an engineering study on waterproofing the downtown skybridge over River Drive.

(11) comments

ScottRAB

Cub dude,
Any facts to back up that opinion?
The FHWA has a video about modern roundabouts that is mostly accurate (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhHzly_6lWM ).
Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world. Search www.iihs.org for FAQs and safety facts. The safety comes from the ‘slow and go’ operation instead of the ‘stop or go fast’ way a stop light works. The smaller size of the modern roundabout is what makes them safer and keeps speeds in the 20 mph range. This makes it much easier to avoid a crash or stop for pedestrians. It also means that if a crash happens the likelihood of injury is very low. Safety is the #1 reason there are over 2,400 modern roundabouts in the US today and many more on the way.
Slow and go also means less delay than a stop light or stop sign, especially the other 20 hours a day people aren’t driving to or from work. Average daily delay at a signal is around 12 seconds per car. At a modern roundabout average delay is less than five seconds. Signals take an hour of demand and restrict it to a half hour, at best only half the traffic gets to go at any one time. At a modern roundabout four drivers entering from four directions can all enter at the same time. Don’t try that with a signalized intersection.

ScottRAB

Painfull,
The first cost of any two choices is a poor way to compare. Life-cycle cost is the best (present value of future costs, a.k.a. net present value). When comparing modern roundabouts to signals for a 20-year life cycle (the standard period), modern roundabouts usually cost us much less. Costs to compare include: first cost (design/land/construction), operation and maintenance (electricity, re-striping, etc.), crash reduction, daily delay (what’s your time worth?), daily fuel consumption, pollution (generated), area insurance rates (this costs more where it is less safe to drive). Each of these things, and others, can be estimated for any two choices and everyone near or using the project area will pay some portion of all of these costs.
More info: http://tinyurl.com/739pu3d

Abrittoomuch

Tearing down buildings to put roundabouts in? Never heard of such a thing, where in any article does it mention that? Now you mention it there are plenty of buildings along the routes mentioned that could come down tho as they look like junk yards so tear away.

Dave Darby

You can add my vote to the "NO"s for roundabouts in downtown Davenport. Bad enough out in the sticks east of Bettendorf, but just think how many more buildings will have to be torn down, not to mention property purchased to do so. Our downtown is already a skeleton of its former self. Not a good plan. Let's not, and say we didn't.

Abrittoomuch

I use my signals for every turn well in advance to let other drivers know my intentions, however, generally speaking it seems that many drivers nowadays have no idea what they are for or just don't care about warning others when they are about to turn. Maybe it just went out the window like many other things like saying please and thank you or just holding the door for others.

cubs4ever

You should talk to the people of Eagan, MN before you all say how wonderful the round abouts are! They stink and they have caused more congestion and accidents. Not a good idea.

Abrittoomuch

I'm from England and believe me the roundabouts help to reduce congestion and they are very safe to navigate. I did go around a roundabout 15 times once tho, my signal got stuck.... Lol... British humor.

senor citizen

Yeah, you folks drive on the wrong side of the road, I know the Brits would switch if the U.S. would. Also remember to use your turn signals in the U.S. No trafficators.

bobaa2

Would not want to waste my time doing much in downtown Davenport. Not much there and if the new CITY RUN CASINO is not going to be there whats the point.

PainfullTruth

@Lawndirt,

What about the cost to put them in? Did you factor that into your "cheapre" costs?

BTW - I thought Davenport was broke? Is that why they are borrowing money to purchase a casino against the will of the citizens of Davenport?

Lawndirt
Lawndirt

Roundabouts work. Better traffic flow, cheapre maintenance costs.

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