City Councils often face tough decisions when determining how to allocate their limited transportation dollars. Unfortunately, many cities with traffic-calming problems still look to construction-based solutions where just a few projects can eat up entire budgets. In Kent, Washington, the city council recently reapportioned $500,000, which had been earmarked for three neighborhood traffic-calming projects, to make emergency street repairs.
The Kent City Council had planned to build traffic circles to slow traffic in the Panther Lake area. Residents affected by this revision are understandably upset. They have been seeking assistance from the City for their speeding problem since 2010. The situation has gotten especially sensitive after a motorcyclist was struck and killed by a speeding drunk driver in 2012.
However, business owners reminded the Council that these funds had come from an increase in business and occupation (B&O) tax revenue. Local businesses had agreed to support the tax hike if the revenue would be used to make these needed repairs. They pointed out that the funds would not exist had it not been for their support.
The city council intends to find the funds to complete the eliminated transportation projects. However, if Kent had included driver feedback signs as part of their comprehensive plans for traffic calming, like many other cities are doing, they could afford to both repair AND calm their streets.
Charlie Robeson: Radarsign® Co-founder & Director of Sales and Marketing