Traffic study approved for Forest Hill Avenue and Dundee

What would you do to fix this intersection?

One of my favorite pastimes is to sit outside of Crossroads and watch cars coming flying around the corner where Forest Hill Avenue, Dundee and Semmes meet. Will they hit the inside curb and startle walkers? Will they swing out into the other lane, resulting in angry gestures and horn blasts? The winner was a young lady on a rainy day that was driving too fast on one of those tiny spare tires and managed to spin the car 180 degrees. In this last case fortunately she didn’t slam into any other vehicle and simply sheepishly drove on.

I’m not the only person that has noticed this issue and earlier this month City Council adopted Resolution No. 2014-R259-2015-4 that requires the City Traffic Engineering to complete a study the spot and come up with solutions, including but not limited to, the most divisive of all neighborhood topics the dreaded roundabout.

That the Chief Administrative Officer is hereby further requested to present to the Council, within 180 days following the adoption of this resolution, a report of the results of all of the aforementioned studies and analyses of this intersection, including an analysis of the efficacy of one or more roundabouts at this intersection, proposals for the design of roundabouts, recommended improvements for multimodal transportation in accordance with the City’s Complete Streets Policy, as set forth in Resolution No. 2014-R172-170, adopted October 13, 2014, and other recommended improvements at this intersection, and cost estimates for all such roundabouts and other recommended improvements for this intersection.

Image: Google Maps

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Richard Hayes

When Richard isn’t rounding up neighborhood news, he’s likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest craft beer.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Melissa on said:

    Interesting. It’s always a little scary driving toward downtown and wondering if oncoming traffic will cross into my lane.

    Any info on why FH will be closed starting 2/2, and for how long? The signs announce a detour but no other details.

  2. Pete Hubbel on said:

    I suggest they squeeze Forest Hill & Semmes down to one lane in each direction before this curve and continue the Semmes median through the curve. That will 1) force the drivers to slow down *before* entering the curve, 2) make it easier for pedestrians to cross both Forest Hill & Semmes, 3) allow turning lanes to be constructed.

  3. Greg on said:

    Roundabout. Problem solved.

  4. George Jones on said:

    I like the idea of one lane Semmes to Forest Hill. Then they could extend the 10 block bike lanes. It would be nice while doing whatever they do they add pedestrian crossing lights at Roanoke and Forest Hill. Just slow down and reduce the commuter traffic and do nothing to make pedestrian crossing of Forest Hill any harder. Not convinced a roundabout is the answer. I, also would like to know about the closing signs.

  5. Angela on said:

    Extending the angle/ pointed sidewalk out further between the intersections of Forest Hill and Semmes (directly in front of Coqui Cyclery) along with curb cutouts would enable safer crossing for both pedestrians and bike riders. We have few handicap accessible sidewalks along Forest Hill and this would also be an added benefit or at least start the conversation.

  6. Semmes Avenue intersects Forest Hill Avenue at too sharp an angle for a roundabout to work. Reducing Semmes and Forest Hill to one lane each would create a traffic bottleneck and make things worse for pedestrians.

    The absolute easiest thing to do would probably be to prohibit left turns from Semmes onto Dundee or Forest Hill (requiring traffic to use 34th Street to make the connection) and prohibit left turns from Dundee onto Forest Hill (use Beattie Street and 34th Street to make that connection).

  7. Jennifer C. on said:

    Will – I’m pretty sure both those prohibitions are already in effect. When they repaved the road a few years back, they completely jacked up repainting the lines, which (IMO) really affects the inbound traffic on Semmes. The outbound curve has always been a challenge. Agreed on the one-lane concerns.
    All I can say is that when I was a teenager (late ’80s) we didn’t speed on Semmes because it was a huge speed trap. The only people who can reestablish that reputation are RPD.

  8. ryan on said:

    You can’t take a left fro Semmes to Dundee. I think a speed hump before the school on before Roanoake and one on Dundee would be a cost effective way to slow the traffic down…it is a SCHOOL ZONE!

  9. Matt on said:

    Roundabout. If you don’t know how to use one then learn.

  10. Jennifer C. on said:

    There’s no way they’re going to put in a traffic hump on Semmes. I’d rather see money go to speed enforcement on Semmes than dumped into a probably-poorly-designed “traffic-calming measure.”

  11. Garth on said:

    I’m not sure creating a bottleneck there is such a bad idea. Engineering it to discourage anyone from out past Powhite to use FH/Semmes to get downtown and back seems like the best ‘traffic calming’ measure idea I’ve heard. While we’re at it add a bunch more traffic lights so pedestrians can get across at regular intervals. I second Jennifer’s speed enforcement proposal as well; what was the point of making the area an increased fine zone if nobody ever gets stopped for speeding? Those signs are a crazy big deterrent; being a cyclist I’m probably the only one who even sees them.

  12. Stuffa on said:

    Unless I’m missing something, I don’t think that a roundabout would do much of anything to slow traffic westbound on Semmes/Forest Hill unless the entire intersection roadway were reworked/diverted.
    Enforcing the speed limit on Semmes Avenue, adding a traffic light on Semmes at 29th, adding pedestrian crossings on Semmes, bumping out the curbs at in the intersections along Semmes (as was done on Bainbridge and Midlothian) would all be viable calming options.
    Then we could move on to the once proposed but apparently long forgotten all-way-stop on Riverside at 30th.

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