Bart Borden, vice president of the CU Electric Division which has overseen the city’s traffic signal coordination for the past two years, said the utility has entered into a contractual agreement with Cannon & Cannon, a traffic engineering firm from Knoxville, to complete the detailed study of 25th Street.
“Cleveland Utilities will be providing all the traffic counts and a Synchro computer model for the consultant’s use,” Borden told members of the Cleveland Board of Public Utilities in a recent formal session of the governing body.
A project update is expected by Borden when the utility board reconvenes Thursday. The Electric Division leader, who works closely with CU’s traffic signal coordinator Tad Bacon, pointed out the utility is realizing cost savings since purchasing its own traffic count equipment that is used for traffic studies.
He pointed to the Cannon & Cannon study of the 25th Street intersections as an example.
“This [using recently acquired CU monitoring equipment] reduced the cost of the [25th Street] study from $47,000 to $29,500 when compared to the study conducted on Paul Huff Parkway,” Borden explained.
He said the 25th Street initiative will evaluate coordination timing for morning, afternoon and mid-day rush hours, as well as for night-time and weekend travel times. Similar studies have been conducted on the heavily traveled Huff Parkway.
In recent months, traffic flow has already been gradually improved on 25th Street because of Bacon’s efforts, Borden explained.
“[Tad] has done a lot of work on 25th Street,” Borden said. He explained that work remains to maximize the city’s transportation flow.
Although Cleveland’s main arteries — like most growing cities its size — still struggle to accommodate increasing traffic, improvements are being noticed, according to Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland who represents the City Council on the utility board.
“You and Tad have done great work with our traffic,” Rowland told Borden at the recent board gathering. “We’ve seen a lot of improvement.”
The traffic signal adjustment at 20th Street and North Ocoee Street came about as the result of motorist input, Borden explained.
“We received feedback from the public concerning morning rush-hour traffic backups at 20th and North Ocoee streets in the west- and east-bound movements,” Borden said. “Through observation, we confirmed their report to be accurate and made timing changes to extend green time (a reference to the traffic signal cycle) in both directions.”
Follow-up monitoring showed the adjustments to be working.
“These changes greatly improved east and west traffic flow during the morning peak time,” Borden said. “Vehicles attempting to turn left were causing the backups. The left turns are unprotected. We extended green time in the east- and west-bound directions on 20th Street and it now allows for more opportunity for traffic gaps to make the left turns.”
In one other traffic report, Borden pointed out CU crews continue to work on the Keith Street and 17th Street intersection. In February, workers installed a self-supporting steel pole along Keith Street in the northwest corner of the intersection.
“This work was required due to a steel traffic light pole which was struck and damaged on 17th Street,” he cited. “The new pole location is further off the roadway than the previous pole and will provide for better protection.”
The project continued into March with the installation of span wire and a signal conductor. The junction improvements were expected to be finished by late April.
Since CU assumed the traffic signal coordination role a couple of years ago at the request of the City Council, updates have become a regular part of the Electric Division report to the utility board every month. The next is expected later this week.