It’s 3:30 on a Monday afternoon and traffic on Westport Road isn’t heavy yet. But it is fast. And loud.
Standing in a shopping center whose parking lot has four different entrances, District 7 councilwoman Paula McCraney said the road isn’t as big as it seems. It’s the site of many crashes, especially rear-endings.
“The street is not that wide,” she said. “It’s two lanes on each side and there is a center aisle on most of Westport Road and it’s challenging at best.”
That’s why local officials hope the busy corridor could be getting a few updates to address traffic and safety concerns. They’re soliciting public feedback through meetings and an online survey, where they’re proposing improvements to six areas of concern. Those are based on a study of the road from Hubbards Lane to Chamberlain Lane.
McCraney says work could begin within two years, but first she needs to find funding. She hopes to get it from the state.
“We’ve been working with the state Transportation Cabinet, so they are aware of the needs” she said. “They helped with the study. So it’s just a matter of getting in line for the funding.”
One of the problem areas is the shopping center near Goose Creek Road. The proposal includes reducing the driveways, which McCraney said could streamline traffic.
Andrew Harp, who works at Cox’s Spirit Shoppe and Smoker’s Outlet in the shopping center, said that change could lead to mixed results.
“There’s been a car accident right here,” he said, pointing to a driveway next to the shop, “between this little white car pulling in and another car trying to exit our entrance.”
He said people try to pull in through the exit often. But being right up against the busy road sometimes benefits the business, too: Sometimes people stuck in traffic spot the liquor store and decide to wait out the congestion there.
What Harp said that section of Westport Road really needs is a traffic signal. And one of the city’s proposals is to add one at the nearby intersection with Langdon Drive.
McCraney acknowledged the limited proposal isn’t enough to address all of the road’s traffic and safety issues. She said her constituents have been asking for changes here for years. Coming up, city officials will provide a summary of a public meeting earlier this month incorporating feedback along with the original plan.
The six proposals are:
- Eliminating left turns from Dove Creek Boulevard and Bayberry Place onto Westport Road;
Adding a traffic and crosswalks at Langdon Drive, along with decreasing the number of driveways to the nearby shopping center;
Lengthening the eastbound turn lanes onto Hurstbourne Parkway;
Pedestrian improvements such as new sidewalk and crosswalks through the I‐265 interchange area;
Installing vertical posts to prevent illegal turns from Westport Road onto an off-ramp from I‐265 to Chamberlain Lane;
Creating an eastbound right turn lane onto Chamberlain Lane.