Ames residents continue to oppose intersection improvement

Virginia Zantow

Some community members stepped forward during a public forum at the Ames City Council meeting Tuesday to speak against the improvement to the intersection at 13th Street and Grand Avenue.

They spoke in spite of the fact that the council already formally decided to move forward with the intersection improvement at a previous meeting.

The improvement plan requires the purchase of private property to be acquired by the city in order for the streets to be widened.

Five Ames citizens spoke in opposition to the decision to improve the intersection, including affected homeowners and others whose property was not in jeopardy.

Neil Vanslyke, of Ames, was one resident who spoke up during this part of the meeting, and he made it clear to the council members that he was not a resident of the affected neighborhood.

“This thing has become a mountain and it ought to be a molehill,” Vanslyke said of the intersection.

He proposed that the city council reconsider the matter and decide not to pursue it; he said he did not think making traffic flow more efficient at an intersection should be such a high priority.

“We’re just trying to hurry people up,” Vanslyke said.

In addition to efficiency, safety was a concern that prompted the council to make the decision it made, since the 13th Street and Grand Avenue intersection has been high-ranking in the city in terms of accidents over the years.

Bob Kindred, assistant city manager, said he was pleased to announce that the city staff just completed a response to a list of 22 questions brought to the city council from members of the affected neighborhood.

Kindred said, however, that a number of specific answers still need to be provided, and he said the city staff has been working to hasten WHKS and Co., the engineering firm responsible for the project, to provide more of those answers.

“Our hope is to have that information back by the middle part of July so that at first we can share that with the community and hold a public input and education meeting on this next report,” Kindred said.