Stolley Park Road Plan Questioned by G.I. Council, Residents


Grand Island Public Works officials are going back to the drawing board after presenting their plan for Stolley Park Road to the city council Tuesday.

It's estimated that 12,500 vehicles travel the street daily.

Some of those drivers spoke before the city council.

"I hope for our safety and for anybody else's coming out of Circle Drive that you will do something." said Wauneta McGowan of her challenge pulling on Stolley Park Road.

Public Works officials proposed striping areas of three, four and five lanes for the two-lane street.

"I think we are just making a very confusing process out of all these different options," said Council member Peg Gilbert.

She and other council members supported a four lane road. Gilbert also expressed concern over proposed bike lanes, which she said would be unsafe for bikers.

Chris Rosacker, another resident who spoke at Tuesday's study session, disagrees.

"It's stuff that people in my generation want to see. It encourages them, if you're looking for places to move as I was, those are some things that I was looking at," he said.

The current plan gets rid of parking on Stolley Park Road, which not many people do anyway. However, parents do park along the street to pick up and drop off kids from Stolley Park Elementary and Barr Middle School.

"You can't see the kids coming and going between cars so it's just a bad situation, especially with a 35 mph speed limit," said Dan Petsch, Grand Island Public Schools building and grounds director.

Petsch, along with G.I. Police Chief Steve Lamken, called the road dangerous.

Public Works Director John Collins said it has 30 percent more accidents than the national average for roads of this kind.

The district has a plan, including widening streets and increasing entrances, but they need the funds to do it.

"Until the bond goes through, we will not have the resources to invest," said Petsch.

If it doesn't and parking is banned on Stolley Park Road, it could create a bigger bottle neck on side streets around the schools.

"That'll cause us more congestion, more issues trying to get kids to and from, but in the long run it's probably the safe alternative," said Petsch.

It's just one of the questions that remain for this project.

"How do we get our mail? How do we get our trash picked up?" asked Jim Wilson to the council.

Officials said those issues are on their radar, and more studies on things like speed and signal placement will be needed before the project can move forward.

Many council members asked why the street can't just be changed to what it was paved to be - a four-lane road.

Collins said that would actually decrease flow in parts of Stolley Park Road by essentially turning the inside lanes into turn lanes.

For more on the proposal, click here.