体育在线365A controversial proposal to build a roundabout at the chronically congested intersection of Thomasville and Meridian Roads and Seventh Avenue is dead.

After years of discussions, technical reviews and studies, the Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency voted unanimously last month to reject two proposed designs for a roundabout to help improve commuter traffic flow.

体育在线365"I’m glad we looked at this roundabout in detail,” said Kristin Dozier, one of three Leon County commissioners who sit on the 11-member board. “Having the study go this far justifies why it’s not workable.”

体育在线365The idea of building a roundabout at the intersection has been floated for years.

体育在线365It was included in the November 2014 passage of the penny sales tax extension.

It was identified in a 2015 CRTPA mobility study and has been included on the agency’s Roadways Priority Projects List.

It was included in a 2016 Florida Department of Transportation study performed after the CRTPA requested an evaluation of bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements.

Previous coverage: A proposed roundabout at Five Points could be a tight fit, engineers say

体育在线365And it was adopted as one of nine options in the Midtown Area Transportation Plan last June for engineering consultant Kimley-Horn to analyze further. The CRTPA spent $148,000 for Phase One of the transportation plan.

Ryan Wetherell, senior transportation engineer for Kimley-Horn, explained that the roundabouts pose serious construction problems, right-of-way costs and pedestrian safety issues.

“We’ve got lots of other great options. The roundabout is not one of them,” said John Dailey, also a county commissioner on the CRTPA board. 

The board also rejected a proposal to turn Sixth and Seventh avenues back into two-way streets, after its consultant said doing so would interfere with the intersections where they connect at Magnolia Drive and Bronough Street. 

“Anything that reduces the level of services, we can throw that out pretty quick,” said Nancy Miller, a Tallahassee City Commissioner and CRTPA board member.

The board approved six options for public input. They include realigning Beard Street at North Gadsden Street, identifying and closing the gaps in Midtown sidewalks, some of which end abruptly, and creating a “Complete Street” plan for Thomasville Road similar to what the city did with Gaines Street and Franklin Boulevard.

体育在线365Complete Street plans are designed for all users — pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and people driving their own cars.

体育在线365The most contentious options going forward contemplate turning Thomasville into a one-way southbound roadway from North Gadsden — to either Sixth Avenue or all the way to North Monroe Street. Turning the three lanes of Thomasville into two southbound lanes would free up space for the sidewalks, bike lanes and other Complete Street improvements, Wetherell said. North Gadsden would remain one-way going northbound.

体育在线365The board plans to schedule hearings and perform outreach to Midtown business owners, customers and residents of neighborhoods like Lafayette Park and Levy Park to help fine tune the remaining options on the table.

Midtown Merchants have wanted to see better sidewalks, bike lanes and other improvements for years, said Don Quarello, owner of Waterworks and president of the Midtown Merchants Association.

体育在线365He met with a dozen officials from the CRTPA, Blueprint and Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department officials in January to express his concerns about the traffic, the speeders in particular on both Gadsden and Thomasville.

体育在线365“People go well over the speed limit day and night,” Quarello said.

Midtown is designed to be a multimodal district where businesses were built with less than the normally required parking so that people would be encouraged to walk, bike or use mass transportation to get to the shops, restaurants and businesses there.

体育在线365But there are no bike lanes, and there are gaps in the sidewalks, which are too close to the road, he said.

“People feel uncomfortable walking and biking down here and then you see a lack of growth,” he said.

体育在线365Quarello would like Thomasville to be redesigned along the lines of Gaines Street, but the road is owned by the state.

“I would like to see the city take control of Thomasville from Seventh to Monroe,” Quarello said. “If the city got control of Thomasville then we could make our own decisions.”

Contact Schweers at Follow him on Twitter @jeffschweers.

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