Summary of Greenbriar Reconstruction Town Hall/Open House Meeting on May 7, 2015

After finishing their review of all of the community input they have received over the past few months, the City held a Greenbriar Reconstruction open house and town hall meeting on May 7, 2015 at Roberts Elementary to present their revised plans for the reconstruction of Greenbriar between Rice Boulevard and Holcombe.  There was strong community turn out for the meeting, and approximately 25 City folks were on hand, including Carol Haddock, lead engineer for the project, Dale Ruddick, Director of Public Works, Council Member Ellen Cohen and members of her staff, and many others involved in the engineering and design of the project.

Meeting attendees were informed that the number of lanes on Greenbriar will stay the same, and the lanes will be 10 feet wide rather than 11 or 12 feet wide as originally proposed.  Except for some widening at the Holcombe intersection (within the existing right of way and where there are no trees), the proposed plans call for no widening of lanes or of the street, therefore no removal of, damage to or killing of street trees.

Left turn bays will be extended to help traffic flow, i.e, to stack cars in the left turn lane rather than in the middle lane.  There are other proposed changes to turn lanes at intersections, as well.  There will be some reconfiguration of lanes near Roberts Elementary at Swift to accommodate drop off and pick up traffic that currently stacks up on Greenbriar.  The design aspect that some residents were concerned about involves the two alternatives offered for the Swift St. intersection, both of which would prohibit turning left onto Swift from Greenbriar.  There was no official consensus on this at the meeting, and the City is still studying the Swift/Greenbriar configuration options.

The existing sidewalks are four feet wide.  The new sidewalks associated with this project will be five feet wide for most of the corridor.  They may be wider near Roberts Elementary, and between Rice and University Boulevards, and north of Rice Boulevard, including the accommodation of bikes for the addition into the project.  The sidewalks will be installed with particular care in regard to existing trees in the rights of way.  The sidewalks will “meander” around trees rather than be installed in a straight line that could damage or kill the trees.  This, too, is a big change from the past when the City insisted on straight/linear sidewalks.  The project will also include installation of a small strip of sidewalk just north of Rice Boulevard on the east side of Greenbriar to fill in a missing stretch of sidewalk.  News of this brought applause.

Time was provided before, during and after the meeting to study the design plans.  After the presentation there were break-out sessions with community folks clustered around the various sets of plans asking questions of the City’s Public Works and design staff.  It was an informative and much appreciated meeting, and was the first of its kind for Public Works.  The City is showing a level of communication, creative thinking, care for the existing environment, and receptivity to community input that demonstrates a welcome new approach to the handling of CIP projects.

Posted on: May 11, 2015, by : upadmin