Last week, the Town Council went against the recommendations of some of its advisory boards when it approved a new Walgreens pharmacy at the corner of Estes Drive and East Franklin Street.
As a result, Transportation Board member Roger Lundblad resigned, effective immediately.
"The recent decision ... totally ignores the considerations of the Transportation Board suggests that the various boards are, at best, impotent," Lundblad wrote to Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt. "I am too busy to waste my time on ineffectual activity."
Both the Planning Board and the Transportation Board had endorsed traffic islands on both South Estes Drive and East Franklin Street to prevent lefthand turns into and out of the Walgreens on both side. But complaints from Caribou Coffee, which would also have been affected by the South Estes median, led the council to drop that traffic island in favor of a "porkchop" within the Walgreens driveway. That will prevent lefthand turns into and out of Walgreens but won't stop them at Caribou across the street.
The entire Transportation Board and some members of the Planning Board had asked for a longer median on South Estes than town staff had proposed. They wanted it to block lefthand turns to and from not only Walgreens and Caribou but also other driveways farther south on Estes. The boards had also endorsd bicycle-activated traffic signals at the intersection so that cyclists don't have to wait for an automobile's weight to trigger a green light, but that was stripped from the final approval in lieu of $4,000 for additional traffic study.
Transportation Board chairman Augustus Cho said the council's decision failed to anticipate future traffic needs.
"Particularly egregious is the movement of the fund[s] for bicycle [signal installation] to a traffic pattern study," Lundblad wrote in an e-mail to Cho. "You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that intersection is a problem and it is not clear what a further study would do except validate the board recommendations. Failure to approve bicycle activation appears go against a desire to reduce automobile traffic."