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Consultants review transportation options

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A transportation consulting firm has been looking at ideas that could make Military Avenue safer for motorists, bicyclists and walkers and also ways of helping trucks avoid downtown Fremont.

Jason Carbee, senior transportation planner for HDR in Omaha, spoke with those attending an open house on Monday night to learn more about a draft of the City of Fremont’s comprehensive plan.

The event took place at Fremont City Auditorium.

Carbee has been working on a long-range transportation portion of the city’s comprehensive plan.

HDR has been collecting ideas from the public, along with gathered data, for a 20- or 25-year transportation plan.

One idea would involve narrowing Military Avenue from Broad to Bell streets.

Instead of two lanes in each direction, Military would be narrowed to one lane in each direction with a center turn lane.

This could allow for bike lanes on Military or—depending on the roadway’s width—for on-street parking if a section is wide enough. Or sidewalks could be turned into a wider trail or path.

This narrowing – also called a Road Diet – is expected to help increase safety in different ways.

For one, left-turning traffic would be separated from the through traffic with the turning lane.

“There shouldn’t be much congestion associated with it,” Carbee added.

Road narrowing could slow traffic in the residential area and also make it easier for people to get across the street.

“Right now it’s very difficult to cross from the north side of Military in the downtown area to the south side and vice versa,” said Jennifer Dam, director of planning for the city.

Residents have expressed a desire to safely bike and walk in the city.

“We have a lot people who have asked us for more bike facilities and areas where they can walk better – to be able to cross Military Avenue, to be able to have more sidewalks and more trails in areas so it’s easier to get around if you don’t have a car,” Dam said.

Carbee said Fremont has good trails on the edges of the city, but people shared ideas for trail connections across the city.

Other ideas have been examined.

Carbee said First Street could be narrowed in targeted locations to slow traffic from Bell Street to Luther Road.

“It’s kind of a wide-open residential street and the really wide street encourages people to speed,” he said.

In some spots with a pedestrian crossing, curbs could be bumped out a bit to narrow the street and make for a safer pedestrian crossing.

Carbee also said the new southeast bypass offers an opportunity to build some truck routes to get truck traffic out of the downtown area.

“We’re trying to figure out ways to pull all of that truck traffic out of downtown and toward the southeast bypass,” he said.

One truck route could be built on South Main Street and Cloverly Road out to the new bypass.

“Then we could look at converting downtown streets back to two-way (instead of one-way),” Carbee said, adding, “We have to do these things in stages.”

Carbee notes that truck traffic and freight is important.

“We need to make sure they have a good route,” Carbee said.

Dam said plans are to have the comprehensive plan proposed for approval by the Fremont City Council in September and the UDC in November or December.

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News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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