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Decatur Diary | November 8, 2023

Modified Coventry Road Traffic Calming Designs Ready for City Commission Review

When Coventry Road from Scott Boulevard north to the railroad tracks was added to the city’s yearly repaving schedule, public works staff recognized it as a cost-effective opportunity to improve local safety and quality of life conditions at the same time. Subsequent community meetings and surveys helped clarify the needs of local residents, commuter users, and school buses to find complementary solutions tailored to all.

Those solutions will now be presented for City Commission review on Monday, November 27 at their regularly scheduled 7:30pm meeting.

Balancing competing interests

It’s always the goal of the city to provide accessible roadways that welcome those entering Decatur, but to do so in ways that don’t compromise our ambitions for safe, comfortable, community-friendly streets that accommodate the needs of all users. So when the first round of Coventry design proposals was presented, surrounding residents made clear that the project team had missed the mark, seemingly favoring through traffic at the expense of the neighbors.

Physical and visual cues are needed, they stressed, to reinforce the idea that commuter users are, in fact, visitors passing through a residential area.

The design team has since responded in a variety of ways to balance competing interests in a more context-sensitive manner. These include the removal of the proposed thoroughfare-like center line; the removal of painted lines on the on-street parking spaces; and the return of the speed table on the first block of Coventry between Scott Boulevard and Chelsea Drive.

Furthermore, configuring parking on alternating sides of the street creates a serpentine, lane-shifting effect to increase driver caution while maintaining sight lines and navigable space for school buses.

Future improvements have also been adjusted to prioritize investments in new sidewalks on streets lacking them prior to investing in a parallel sidewalk on Coventry Road.

What will happen at the city commission meeting?

The Coventry Road repaving effort is already approved and budgeted sufficiently to include the accompanying traffic calming recommendations. The upcoming meeting is an opportunity to familiarize the City Commission with the proposal.

Below is the current design, known as Phase 1, as well as potential future additions known as Phase 2. Should the project proceed at some point to Phase 2, additional community participation would be included prior to finalized designs.

Click for larger view.

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