City holds open house for contested North Monroe project

City holds open house for contested North Monroe project

An open house held Thursday night invited public comments on proposed changes to the North Monroe Corridor, an issue that many business owners have spoken out against.

At it’s core, the project is meant to promote safety.

“We had car to car collisions, we had pedestrian collisions. we had a death on Monroe,” said Marlene Feist from the department of Public Works.

That’s the one thing all parties seem to agree with.

My fellow business people really want to see safety improvements, we just don’t want to see three lanes… at least not without trying it,” said Patrick Keegan.,

Keegan owns Aloha Island Grill on lower Monroe.

Aloha falls about a block outside of project lines, but Keegan says the proposed “three lane road diet would still take a toll on his business.

“To reduce that main corridor capacity by half during peak times, and it’s at least that, just doesn’t seem to make sense,” he said.

The project proposal website says that reducing Monroe’s five lanes to three would not only make the area more friendly to pedestrians, and potential customers, but that it would do so without significantly increasing traffic congestion.

“It just depends on perspective and how people travel trough Monroe, how they use Monroe and what they perceive as the advantages and disadvantages of the project,” Feist said.

Keegan and many of his North Monroe neighbors disagree.

He says he has spoken to 54 business owners and only has found four who say they are in favor of the project.

Feist said it’s usually split down the middle.

“Of the people I’ve talked to…certainly I’ve had about half in favor and half not so much in favor,” she said.

Tonight’s meeting was meant to give everyone a chance to look at the proposal and submit their thoughts.

With $4.6 million in grant money set aside for the project, it’s just about a done deal.

Construction is set to start next year.

“It is a fully funded project in our six year capital plan. I would say at this point it is a project that’s moving forward,” Feist said.

The City welcomes your feedback on the project. You can submit your thoughts online at this website until February 6.