Intersection file photo

Pedestrians cross the intersection of Ninth and Lewis Streets a week before the end of the semester at the University of Wyoming campus in 2016. The Traffic Commission is considering being more proactive about potentially unsafe conditions, including intersections, instead of waiting for citizens to complain.

Laramie Traffic Commission Chair Nancy Sindelar said she wants to see the board advocate more for safety concerns, not only for cars and traffic around the city, but for pedestrians and bicyclists as well.

The main question she had for the commission during its Thursday meeting was, “How can we get it started?”

In the past, Vice Chair Michael Moeller said commission members went through the same “proper channels” residents do, raising concerns during meetings or by filling out an application for city staff to investigate. He encouraged members to “be observant” to potential concerns and voice them.

Recently appointed Commissioner Philip Varca expressed concerns during the meeting about whether he could make informed decisions about potential street and intersections changes based purely on his opinion without seeing any relevant data, such as car accident statistics.

Councilwoman Erin O’Doherty, City Council liaison to the Traffic Commission, agreed, saying it would be a “good thing” for the volunteer board to be proactive and start mapping out accidents based on data rather than waiting for complaints.

While the Wyoming Department of Transportation, which collects the data, will give it to the commission if requested, Moeller warned a report detailing even just a year’s worth of car crash statistics for the whole city will be a lot of data.

“You can request that data, but I’ll tell you right now, you better spend about six months to a year trying to read it,” Moeller said during the meeting. “That’s why I think we do what we do.”

He said data for a specific area are collected and analyzed as part of the process to implement any potential changes brought forward by residents or commission members. While the Traffic Commission’s process isn’t always quick, he said, “It will get done.”

These discussions — including whether the commission should be more proactive than reactive — are also preparing the city board for a work session with the City Council, where Sindelar said the commission will be “redefining our mission a little bit.”

“We’re working on it,” she said during the meeting. “I’m hoping we can continue this discussion … I think it’s going to make us stronger and more useful.”

City Engineer Eric Jaap said the council requested a work session on “pretty much the exact same topic.” Since the council won’t have availability for a work session for a few months, he said the Traffic Commission had plenty of time to discuss and consider any potentially proposed changes to their mission, procedure and more.

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