As a Douglas County resident and community member, I attended the Oct. 4 Douglas County Board of Commissioners meeting held here at the Douglas County Historic Courthouse. The meeting began pretty much as usual, with the invocation, Pledge of Allegiance, etc. Award presentations were given and Public Comment ensued. We seemed to be moving through the agenda right on schedule, until we hit the Public Works agenda item 7, which called for what seemed to be a straight forward 10 minute agenda item reading:
"For possible action. Discussion to adopt Resolution 2012R-077, to prohibit left turns from Service Drive onto US 395."
This item pertained to the median that has been placed on Highway 395 at the entrance to the new WalMart, this median placement, heading southbound, prior to Service Drive and ends at Grant Avenue, the ingress /egress for the new WalMart shopping center. Here's part of the concern, if you are on Service Drive you are no longer able to make a left hand turn from Service Drive unless you decided to drive over the median, next southbound travelers are no longer able to access local businesses on Service Drive by making a left hand turn, consequently travelers would need to drive to the new light and make a U-Turn, backtracking to Service Drive. Businesses such as Ahern Rentals, Carquest Auto Parts and others are now negatively impacted by the median which was required due to the new WalMart center. The length of the median is based on a number of factors including the present speed limit on Highway 395 and highway statistics that calculate the safe deceleration of vehicles for traffic flows. Limiting the access to these businesses could potentially have a negative impact.
Comments included statements that a traffic study was performed reflecting that there were seven vehicles per hour that turned onto Service Drive, something that business owners indicated was inaccurate. Public comment included Ahern Rentals vice president flying in from Salt Lake City, Utah to address the commissioners and expressed his strong objection to the placement of this median. In a compelling statement, he indicated that very often equipment rented by Ahern Rentals is transported by large semi-trucks, with the placement of the median, these trucks will not be able to make the turn, additionally these rigs will no longer be able access Service Drive by making a left hand turn from Highway 395 onto Service, as a suggested alternative route, these rigs proposed route is impossible to safely travel.
Your board of county commissioners heard the public outcry and clearly, effectively and passionately argued to find a possible solution to the point that they would not vote on agenda item 7 postponing it to be addressed again and soon.
As some of the last comments made, it was stated that this is one of the few times where the entire Board of Commissioners agreed.
I say kudos to the Douglas County Board of Commissioners.