KINGMAN - One of the Arizona Department of Transportation's recommendations to fix traffic congestion on Beverly Avenue may leave long-time Kingman residents with a feeling of déjà vu.
ADOT is once again recommending an elongated roundabout or traffic oval for the Stockton Hill Road/Beverly Avenue and Stockton Hill Road/ westbound Interstate 40 on and off ramps.
Department officials held an open house Wednesday evening to discuss a study on traffic patterns on Stockton Hill Road that it is funding for the city of Kingman through its Planning Assistance for Rural Areas Program. Despite the number of comments on the Kingman Daily Miner website, only a handful of people showed up at the meeting.
One of the worst sections for traffic on the city's main commercial corridor is the less than one-mile area that includes the intersections of Stockton Hill Road and Beverly Avenue and Stockton Hill and the westbound on and off ramps for Interstate 40, said ADOT Transportation Planner Jennifer Love.
Currently, a stoplight controls the intersection between the I-40 ramps and Stockton Hill Road. The Beverly Avenue/Stockton Hill Road intersection is controlled by stop signs and medians that prevent motorists from turning left onto Stockton Hill Road.
In 1999 and 2005, ADOT gave the city four recommendations to reduce congestion at the intersections and increase safety - install a roundabout, move the end of the I-40 westbound off ramp from Stockton Hill Road to Beverly Avenue, raise and restructure the intersection or install medians to prevent left turns from Beverly Avenue onto Stockton Hill Road.
Changing the structure of the I-40 interchange and the westbound off ramp was ruled out because it would require permission from the federal government.
ADOT was ready to seek bids on the roundabout project in 2000 when public outcry forced it to bring in an expert to look at the situation. The expert said the roundabout wasn't feasible because of the traffic imbalance between the I-40 ramps and Stockton Hill Road.
The city installed stop signs and medians at Beverly Avenue instead, but as traffic and development grew along Stockton Hill Road so has the problem, Love said. The department is once again suggesting the city install either an elongated roundabout or move the westbound off ramp.
An oval-shaped roundabout would balance out some of the differences in traffic between Stockton Hill Road and I-40 and make the intersection between Stockton Hill Road and Beverly Avenue safer, Love said. It would also alleviate traffic flowing through the shopping mall parking lot or Kingman Regional Medical Center's parking lot to make a left turn at the light in front of Kingman Regional Medical Center's Emergency Room.
"I don't think a roundabout will help," said Penny White, who lives behind KRMC. "That intersection (Stockton Hill Road and Beverly Avenue) is very dangerous. Those white lines you painted on the pavement are a joke. They don't stop people from blocking the intersection."
She suggested the city either install a light at Beverly Avenue and Stockton Hill Road or move the I-40 off ramp to Beverly Avenue.
"There's only so much we can do with signal timing," Love said.
Jamie Taylor, who works at KRMC, asked if there was a way to encourage new businesses to locate somewhere other than Stockton Hill Road.
White pointed out that the city has tried to encourage business to move to Bank Street and even zoned the area as a commercial, but whenever a business has tried to move in there, people have objected.
Love said encouraging businesses to locate elsewhere would be something the city would have to do. ADOT is suggesting that the city cut down on the 116 business driveways that directly access Stockton Hill Road.
The department is also suggesting that the city require business to link parking lots to encourage traffic to move from one parking lot to another instead of turning on and off of Stockton Hill Road.
The city and ADOT are still collecting suggestions on ways of improving traffic on Stockton Hill Road. More information on the study and comment forms are available at www.azdot.gov