Springfield city commissioners are delaying work on the controversial Derr Road construction project in order to hear more input from the community.
The project was slated to cost $1.8 million and reduce the road from four lanes to three lanes and add designated bike lanes in both directions. This would affect the section of Derr Road between Home Road and Villa Road.
Derr Road is one of the busiest stretches of streets in the city — with about 10,000 cars driving on it every day, according to traffic counts by The Clark County/Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee.
The item was scheduled as a first reading on the City Commission Agenda for July 17, but was taken off entirely. At its peak, the issue drew a hard line between residents.
“I don’t wanna see us make a bad decision here in Springfield just so we can capture some state dollars. That really won’t serve our interest,” said City Commissioner David Estrop.
Estrop said instead, there will be a series of public meetings about the issue, and he hopes those who attend will be able to problem solve to come up with a solution that works for the majority of people. Prior to this decision, Estrop said there were hearings but he feels those were ineffective.
“At hearings, often all you get is people either listening to what the so called, ‘experts’ have to say or voicing their opinion in terms of what the expert had to say,” Estrop said.
He said interested parties on both sides of the issue are invited to attend the meetings. Derr Road has two shopping centers, restaurants and many homes on both side.
Scott King, a member of Bike Springfield, has been a proponent of the change since its introduction over a year ago.
“(If the change was made) everyone in the city can travel this stretch safely. You don’t have to be in a car, you can be on foot or you can be on a bike,” he said.
Other residents like John Youker are worried about traffic congestion. Youker lives on Torrence Drive, just off of Derr Road but he said he still sees the effects of the busy street.
“I’ve sat at the stop sign on a busy day for five minutes,” he said. “It’s difficult to get in and out now. I’m just thinking it’ll be even harder if they reduce the lanes.”
Estrop said there will be at least two public meetings held over the next couple months, with dates to be announced later.
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