Intersection improvements at City Council Monday night

The issue of intersection improvements at Market St. and Pennsylvania Ave. will be on Warren City Council’s agenda next week.

The meeting is set for Monday at 7:30 at the Municipal Building.

PennDOT has outlined two options – replacing the traffic signal and increasing turning radii or the installation of a roundabout.

“I do not know yet if Council will take action,” City Manager Nancy Freenock said. “It is on the agenda for action but since this is the first time that all of Council will be together to discuss, I would not be surprised if the matter was tabled.”

Freenock said that the city has “proposed additions to the signalized intersection option” but have not received “a definitive response from PennDOT” on those additions.

PennDOT held a public forum at the Slater Room of the Warren Public Library in August to present the project to the public.

“There is a need to improve safety,” John O’Mara with ms consultants, inc., said at that session.

O’Mara said that there were nine reportable crashes at the intersection over the last five years, including two involving pedestrians.

“One way that we engineers evaluate (is to) try to fix the geometries of the intersection,” he said.

The first option – a signal replacement – would keep “the alignments where they are at,” O’Mara explained.

“(An) additional left turn lane… is warranted. This option at a minimum would require reconstruction of all the radii to enlarge the radii to accommodate large vehicles. It’s not much different than what’s out there today.

“The only change in configuration is an exclusive left approach westbound on Pennsylvania Ave.,” he continued. That option “does come at a loss of two on-street parking spaces on the northern leg of Market St.”

O’Mara said construction of this option would be done “one corner at a time. The idea here as we work through (is) maintaining a majority of all the traffic patterns with a temporary signal while the corners are being reconstructed.”

The discussion then shifted to the possibility of a roundabout at that intersection.

O’Mara said a “reconstruction of the roadway” would be required. He pointed out that roundabouts are safer, motorists approach at slower speeds and pedestrians only have to cross one lane at a time. He detailed the truck apron – a “slightly raised, elevated area” – designed to provide additional space for trucks to make the turns.

This option, he said, “does impact significantly more parking” – a total of 29 spaces including “a few in CVS… largely due to the footprint of the roundabout.”

O’Mara said phase construction is possible with a roundabout in order to keep some traffic movements open. He also outlined a detour that uses Dorcon, the Glade Bridge and the Ludlow Street exit.

“Safety is the number one reason why (roundabouts) are evaluated,” O’Mara said, dealing that the number of conflict points between cars are reduced from 32 to 8 and between cars and pedestrians are reduced from 24 to 8.

He did say that there could be a cost to the city if the city elected more aesthetic options for the light poles. The utility company is also responsible for cost related to moving those lines and that could bring a cost to the city if there are sewer lines that need to be moved.

The rest of the project would be paid for via state and federal funds. Cost projections provided at the meeting indicate a total cost of $2 million for the light replacement and $2.5 million for the roundabout.