Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, October 28, 2018 ACHD's Road Wizard

Who is responsible for unclogging storm drains like the one on the southeast corner of Wesley Drive and Milwaukee Street? Congestion issues should improve soon on Glenwood Street

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: The approach to the drain on the southeast corner of Wesley Drive and Milwaukee Street is clogged by weeds, mud, and debris. It has stubble and weeds growing and accumulating, blocking the gutter and drain, causing more mud, leaves and gunk to pile up. When the drain is clogged, this area turns into a lake when we have a big rain storm or snow melt. Is Ada County responsible to clean/clear the street drains, or is this up to neighborhoods/citizens? I, and a few other homeowners from way up the street, will occasionally work on clearing the drain. But it's really bad again, and a safety hazard for pedestrians and motorists at this busy corner.


Road Wizard:

This draining issue is pretty common, and some locations are worse than others. ACHD has crews that help clear storm drains, but they can only do so much during this time of year with all of the fall leaves piling up in the streets.

Most of the material that clogs drains comes from private properties, and it's helpful if property owners help in the effort to keep drains clear. For example, people should not sweep leaves into the street.

However, unsung citizen drain-clearing heroes have another option - they can call ACHD to request that a crew come out to help with the matter. ACHD already sent a sweeper to Wesley and Milwaukee to remove the debris.

Dear Road Wizard: What plans are in place to relieve congestion on Glenwood Street? It often reaches gridlock at Riverside Drive and requires waiting a least two lights to make a left turn onto Chinden Boulevard.


Road Wizard:

If the traffic on Glenwood seems worse than normal, it may be because drivers are using Glenwood as a way to avoid the nearby Veterans Memorial Parkway/36th Street/State Street major intersection rebuild.

In advance of that project, ACHD created new signal timing plans for Glenwood and Riverside and Glenwood and Marigold Street to reduce the time it takes to reach the Glenwood and Chinden intersection. But the results of these efforts are mixed, particularly during the evening commute.

One issue is that the Marigold signal deals with more traffic than the Riverside intersection, so the signal cycle at Marigold is longer than the cycle at Riverside. But the shorter cycle at Riverside isn't short enough to cycle twice during one of Marigold's cycles. That means the signal timing at the two intersections doesn't always line up, and Marigold will sometimes send more traffic to the Riverside signal than the Riverside signal can handle.

ACHD tried running the two intersections on the same cycle length, but it caused the same situation in reverse. Riverside was dumping too much traffic onto Marigold, which resulted in far worse congestion than what is happening now at Riverside.

Another factor is that there are a number of emergency vehicle drivers triggering green lights at these intersections every day. This can cause backups and congestion in both directions.

Considering all of this, right now there aren't any meaningful signal adjustments that can help with traffic flow on Glenwood. But the Veterans and State intersection should be finished in just a few weeks, and left-turn lanes were put back into operation this week. This should all naturally help reduce traffic on Glenwood.

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