Maumee officials viewed the draft of a $14,300 traffic study last week designed to guide their decision on where to locate a new fire station.
The study held few surprises, mainly describing the traffic congestion around Conant Street, but offered some suggestions on how to mitigate traffic concerns if the city decides to build the fire station around the Uptown area. The study was prepared by SSOE Inc.
"I think SSOE had some good ideas with the signalization," Fire Chief Richard Monto said.
A committee created by Maumee City Council to examine possible fire station locations commissioned the traffic study in August. Maumee has been planning for years to build a station to replace the overcrowded Fire Station No. 1 on East William Street, but officials have been unable to agree on a suitable site.
The traffic study analyzed three areas:
●An area bounded by railroad tracks, West William Street, Conant Street, and Kingsbury Street.
●An area to the east, bounded by railroad tracks, East William Street, White Street, and Conant Street.
●An area on the western side of the city, bounded by Fort Street, Glenview Drive, Anderson Avenue, and Keeler Street.
The study evaluated each area based on 11 criteria, including closeness to residents, traffic delays, and closeness to the homes of fire department volunteers. In the study, each of the categories was considered equally important.
After rating each of the three areas with a point system, the area in the western part of the city came out on top because it has the least traffic congestion.
However, that site would only allow firefighters to reach 75 percent of the city within six
minutes if they traveled at 35 mph. Six minutes is a desirable maximum run time, officials said. The other two sites along Conant would allow fire fighters to reach 95 percent of the city within six minutes.
The study rated the area on the east side of Conant as the worst place for a fire station because of the extreme traffic congestion. Fire Station No. 1 is on the edge of this area.
"The worst site is where we're at right now," said John Jezak, city administrator.
Aside from evaluating the three areas, the traffic study made several recommendations on improving traffic flow to allow faster response times for firefighters and emergency medical services personnel. One suggestion is installing equipment that would use microwave signals to alert dispatch centers when trains are blocking roads. The dispatchers could let drivers know to avoid railroad crossings while trains are running.
The study said a similar technology could be used to give emergency vehicles easier passage through busy intersections, such as the intersection of Conant and the Anthony Wayne Trail. Equipment could be used that would interrupt the usual traffic signal cycle when emergency vehicles approach.
Mr. Jezak said deciding on a spot for the fire station will take further discussion by the committee, which will likely meet again in the next few weeks. The committee, chaired by Mayor Tim Wagener, includes Mr. Jezak, Chief Monto, Assistant Fire Chief Walter VanDromme, EMS Chief Daniel Jankowski, Fire Prevention Chief Patrick Wambo, and council members Jenny Barlos and Brent Buehrer.