Alternate solutions to the Robinson Road traffic problem were put on display at Oak Ridge North’s Town Hall meeting Nov. 5, giving residents a chance to choose three preferences.
The top five solutions voted on by residents were presented at the City Council meeting Nov. 9. Residents were allowed to place three voting stickers on three different plans, or all on the same plan.
City Manager Vicky Rudy said the voting took place to get a better understanding of what the community wants and what alternative solutions to Robinson Road are probable.
“It was to get an idea of where the community is coming from,” Rudy said. “Most chose the options of either doing nothing or two of the realignment options. The solutions would call for the realignment of the road without going through houses and having not as big an impact for businesses.”
Relieving traffic on Robinson Road has been an ongoing issue, with the homes of residents being a key concern in the aspect of widening and realignment. While Robinson Road was a project that was a part of the May 2015 bond election and didn’t pass, the City Council is still trying to come up with ways to ease mobility on the road.
The option with the most individual votes was to realign Robinson Road with the railroad tracks and make it a four-lane road starting at Blueberry Hill Drive. The option with the second highest amount of votes was to do nothing at all.
Brian Barnhart, owner of Woodlands Elite Cheer Company off of Robinson Road, said he voted for the realignment options and said doing something is necessary to ease traffic.
“I think two of the realignment options seem to work for the residents and traffic,” Barnhart said. “Realignment is necessary, it allows traffic to flow. Mobility is horrible for my clients right now and I’m hopeful they can get it fixed.”
Barnhart presented a petition with 1,000 signatures on it to Montgomery County Commissioners Court on Nov. 24, calling for something to be done about Robinson Road.
“We got to find a way to make it better,” he said. “The whole area would be better with mobility.”
Rudy said an engineering study will be completed for all of the top considerations to see what effects each solution would have on the city and how mobility would be affected.
“We’ll be looking at what the impact of doing nothing will have,” she said. “For example, we’ve already done a traffic count on Ridgewood Drive, which is a road that goes through Oak Ridge and avoids Robinson Road, and there’s up to 2,000 cars a day on that road. Those cars make their way down a very residential street. So the different options are not just about Robinson Road, but how the rest of the community will be impacted beyond that.”
Rudy said other solutions that were voted on—such as a Main Street alternative and adding stoplights at the railroad crossing—will also be looked into, but the realignment options are being looked at the most.
With Robinson Road possibly having a chance to be funded as a project part of the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, Rudy said she is hopeful to work with the county on the Robinson Road issue in the future.
“There is hope out there that we find a project our community can live with and [that]the county can also be involved,” she said. “We’re a small city with a bigger problem.”
Residents voted on their top three choices for a solution to the high traffic on Robinson Road. The Oak Ridge North City Council compiled the top five solutions that were chosen and will be planning engineering studies on the top options.
Top five solutions
- Realign Robinson Road at the railroad crossing and widen to four lanes starting at Blueberry Hill Drive: 62 total individual votes
- Do nothing: 56 total individual votes
- Widen Robinson Road to four lanes starting at I-45: 37 total individual votes
- Install stoplights at Hanna Road and the railroad track to manage traffic: 26 total individual votes
- Create a Main Street alternative: 23 total individual votes
Source: City of Oak Ridge North