Roundabout concerns neighbors

MEEKER I As expected, news of the proposed traffic roundabout at the intersection of Sulphur Creek Road and Ute Road generated strong feelings among homeowners along the west side of Sulphur Creek Road.
During the public participation portion of the Aug. 18 meeting of Meeker’s board of trustees, homeowners brought their concerns about access to their homes, snow removal, mail delivery and trash service before the town’s staff and board members.
The proposed roundabout is supposed to “calm traffic” and reduce the inevitable congestion at the intersection the county fairgrounds, the recreation center and the future elementary school will all share. The location of the roundabout leaves the homeowners in a quandary. Several of their driveways, they pointed out, are very steep, increasing the hazards of having a sidewalk in front of their driveways and the danger presented by having to exit or enter into a roundabout.
“We’ve tried to be real positive (about the roundabout) but when you put it in front of the residential area like that, I just don’t understand that,” said homeowner Nancy Harris.
Bob Lang wanted to know why their already limited driveways are going to be encroached upon while county property opposite the road is untouched.
“What are the resources on the other side of the street that are so critical to protect?” Lang asked. “It seems to me we’re taking the tougher side of the street. If everybody has come to the table, why is the county’s property not being considered?”
Town Administrator Sharon Day said there are a number of logistical difficulties on the west side of the road that eliminated it as a viable option when the four entities involved came together to discuss the Sulphur Creek Road problem.
“It sounds like you’ve been talking to the school, the county, everybody but the homeowners,” Lang said.
Meeker Mayor Mandi Etheridge responded to the homeowners by suggesting a joint meeting between the traffic engineer who did the study and the homeowners, so that they can better understand how he came up with the roundabout plan. Construction on Sulphur Creek Road is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2010, shortly before the completion of the new elementary school.
“The traffic study took all that into consideration and I think if we wait and talk to the traffic engineer a lot of these questions can be brought to light,” Etheridge added.
In other business, the board approved an ordinance to amend the traffic code for parking on Third and Hill streets near the hospital. No parking signs will be installed.
“This request has come about because of so many ‘near misses,’” Day said. Hospital employees and visitors are asked to use the two hospital parking lots instead.