Trends Fall 2014 - Page 6

Circular solution Busy Wyoming intersection adds roundabout, improves function and safety By Tawny Quast M ost drivers have experienced this: You are stopped at a red light and watch it turn green – only to inch forward and have it turn red again before you get through the intersection. Such was the frustration motorists in Cheyenne, Wyoming, were experiencing daily at the Pershing Boulevard/Converse Avenue/19th Street intersections on one of the city’s main thoroughfares. Traffic was constantly tied up, crashes were numerous, and the corridor was in need of a face-lift, with crumbling curb and gutter and sidewalks. “Every direction you came from you had to go through two traffic signals. The intersections were so closely spaced that you’d get trapped,” said Tom Mason, director of the Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). “It was a traffic operations nightmare.” Beyond congestion, the corridor presented its fill of safety issues. Crashes in the busy intersection could be severe, with T-bone and rear-end collisions more likely than minor fender- benders. In one section of the corridor, the steepness of a hill dangerously limited visibility on either side. Also, sidewalks throughout the corridor were either narrow or non-existent where the pavement had given way to gravel, said Andy Dana, a transportation engineer who managed the reconstruction project for Ayres Associates. The City and MPO knew the corridor needed fixing given its condition and increasing traffic. The three closely spaced intersections posted insurmountable problems, said Nathan Beauheim, engineering services director for the City of Cheyenne. 6│ TRENDS