A section of North Lexington Drive that’s quickly turning into Grocery Depot will get a new set of four-way stop signs within months under a plan approved by the Janesville City Council on Monday.
In a heavy session Monday that included the council approving millions of dollars in tax-incentive agreements and grant-funding giveaways, the council also approved a city traffic consultant’s recommendation to put overhead stop signs at the section of North Lexington where traffic would turn left or right to enter either the new Hy-Vee or Woodman’s Market.
Hy-Vee is now working to build a 100,000-square-foot grocery store/restaurant-bar/pharmacy with grocery pickup and outside dining at the former ShopKo building at 2500 Humes Road.
It would put a growing amount of grocery-getter traffic turning on and off of Lexington at entryways at Woodman’s and the future Hy-Vee that are directly across the street.
The council approved the four-way stop signs 5-2 with Paul Williams and Heather Miller voting in opposition.
Both Miller and Williams said they think traffic along Lexington will get more congested with the addition of the Hy-Vee.
They don’t believe a four-way stop will be ample to keep traffic from backing up across Humes Road, the major east-west thoroughfare about 500 feet north of the Woodman’s and the future Hy-Vee.
City engineer Mike Payne said a city traffic consultant measured state Department of Transportation traffic volumes and future traffic predictions against Hy-Vee’s own calculation of peak customer foot traffic volumes to determine whether a stoplight would be needed at the intersection.
Those studies, he said, showed that daily traffic volumes along North Lexington—which would be about 8,400 vehicles a day once Hy-Vee is completed this fall—wouldn’t be heavy enough to warrant a set of stop lights.
But Payne said that traffic coming out of Woodman’s or the future Hy-Vee could have wait times of up to a minute.
Instead, the city’s consultant recommends stop signs, along with striping at the four-lane section of North Lexington that would include a crosswalk so that customers using the bus stop at the intersection could cross the street more safely.
Payne said Woodman’s officials have said they sought a “status quo” setup for traffic along Lexington Drive. Currently, the intersection in question is controlled by one stop sign for traffic waiting to come out of the east parking lot and gas station at Woodman’s.
Under the decision Monday, Hy-Vee would be charged the $10,000 cost to place the four-way stop signs. The new stops wouldn’t go in place until this fall, after a major tear-up and replacement of Humes Road to the north is completed. Hy-Vee plans to open later this year, possibly by the fall.
Council President Douglas Marklein said he believes there are enough entries and exits to Woodman’s that local traffic will recalibrate to a new four-way stop without bottlenecks resulting elsewhere along the same spur.