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Traffic mitigation projects advance to BOMA

Franklin aldermen gave the green light to two projects yesterday designed to improve traffic flow in the city at a cost of $500,000.

Members of the Capital Improvements Committee unanimously supported staff requests for a signal synchronization project throughout the Cool Springs area that will use adaptive technology.

Engineering firm Gresham, Smith and Partners (GSP) is the proposed contractor.

The cost, already included in the city’s current budget, will be shouldered by an 80-20 percent split between the federal government—through the Nashville-area Metropolitan Planning Organization—and the city. Of the $1.25 million budgeted for the project, Franklin will pay $250,000.

Aldermen expect the result to be improved traffic flow throughout Cool Springs.

The measure moves to the consent agenda of the Jan. 28 Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting since the item received unanimous committee approval.

“Anything to improve (traffic flow) will be appreciated,” noted Alderman Ann Petersen.

The second project receiving unanimous support is a staff recommendation to expand the service area of the Traffic Operations Center (T.O.C.). This includes the installation of fiber optic lines that will facilitate the addition of cameras at signaled intersections not currently served by T.O.C. Also a budgeted item, this project has the same cost and federal-local split as the synchronization measure. T.O.C., now overseen by Paul Holzen, Franklin’s Director of Engineering, was opened in 2002 and is located inside City Hall. 

Residents can access traffic information either by following the city on Twitter through T.O.C. or view the early morning (6-8 a.m.) broadcasts or afternoon (3-6 p.m.) broadcasts on Franklin TV-Channel 10.

In an interview earlier with Kevin Comstock, who helped launch and build out the T.O.C. for the city, he shared with the Herald that before the 2010 flood the T.O.C. had 45 residents following traffic updates on the Twitter feed. 
After that event, he noted that residents began to turn to the Twitter feed for real time information. More than 2,000 people now follow the traffic updates.

Comstock managed the T.O.C. until late last year when he accepted a similar post in Chattanooga. He represented the city before the regional MPO and developed the strategy and grant applications that make the program operable today.

“This is the most progressive system in the state of Tennessee if not in this part of the country,” Comstock said in November.
The mitigation program he said had three major objectives:

1)Increase driver fuel efficiency
2)Decrease personal delays
3)Reduce air pollution

This Intelligent Transportation System program continues to be a central part of the city’s growth management strategy, augmenting several road expansion projects.

Comstock, who is now helping the city of Chattanooga implement their system, began his career in the 1980s as a signal maintenance operator in San Jose, California. When he began working on the T.O.C. project, Franklin planned for 24 intersections to be covered by camera delivered information.

Additional intersections will be added if the Board approves this request Jan. 28.

Look for future traffic updates in the Herald.

Posted on: 1/10/2014


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