City sets timetable to complete Critz Street traffic study

Planters on Critz Street will be taken up on Sept. 19

Ryan Phillips
SDN Editor

Love them or hate them, the planters and traffic-calming devices on Critz Street will soon be removed following the completion of the city’s traffic study in the area.

Ward 5 Alderman Patrick Miller said the devices will be removed on Sept. 19, weather permitting, which gives residents about two weeks to remove any donated plants.

“The timetable was for the course of the summer and we just wanted to see, one, how traffic responds to the devices and, two, how the public responded to the devices and just give people an opportunity to engage and help us in the decision-making process,” Miller said.

The planters, which were aimed at slowing down traffic through Critz Street, were introduced in June and met with mixed responses from the community.

In a past community meeting, Miller said the majority of the complaints came from motorists who used the residential street as a cut-through road.

“I think (the response has) ultimately been very mixed,” Miller said. “I’ve had very positive opinions and very negative opinions about it, but that’s why we did it. We wanted to get feedback from the citizens and general public.”

The ultimate goal, Miller said, was to try ideas rather than spending a large sum of money on permanent infrastructure to fix speeding problems on Critz Street.

“The beauty of it is the planters can be moved or taken up at a very minimal cost to the city,” Miller said.

Miller said City Engineer Edward Kemp is nearing the completion of a report about the planters and traffic calming devices on Critz Street, and Miller plans to meet with Kemp about it in the coming months to see what the city can learn from the idea.

He then said if Critz Street gets a new overlay, there may be some opportunity from the study to rethink how the street is shaped.

“We will have the study in our back pocket, and when that time comes, we can pull it out and we will have multiple alternatives,” Miller said. “It’s both a challenge but also a great benefit and it allowed us to get citizen input and it’s been a real positive.”

Kemp said the hope is to have all of the data from the study compiled and processed by the end of September.

“We’re still collecting data over there and I don’t think it was ever intended to be a longterm, permanent project, but part of it was to see if there were temporary things you could to do modify behaviors to make the neighborhood safer and more walkable,” Kemp said.

Kemp said the city has been collecting information throughout the course of the study and will continue to gather data as the test comes to a close.

At the time, though, he said it was still too early to go into detail about the findings.

“It will be interesting to look at the data after everything has been fully collected and see if there are some quantifiable changes in some of the traffic patterns on Critz,” Kemp said. “I think ultimately, I just have to commend Alderman Miller for wanting to try out-of-the-box ideas and in order to make the neighborhood more walkable and safer. Again, it was never intended to be a permanent installation, we have learned a lot of lessons and will take those and use that information.”