After years of using the same company to handle its traffic engineering services, Solon City Council plans to hire a new firm to try to help alleviate the city's traffic woes.
City Council voted by a narrow 4-3 margin to hire GPD, selecting them over URS, the long-time firm currently used by the city.
Concerns over the process and a potential conflict with projects in Twinsburg -- GPD is designing roundabouts on Darrow Road in Twinsburg near the Solon border -- were not enough to derail council members' desire to go in a different direction.
Councilman Bill Mooney said that URS has been working with the city for about 6 or 7 years now and its time to find a fresh perspective.
"I think it's time to get new eyes looking at old problems at this point," Mooney said.
Now that Council has signaled its decision to pick GPD, officials will begin negotiating with the firm over fees and other contractual matters.
Three council members -- Ed Kraus, Rick Bell and Bob Pelunis -- voted against GPD for various reasons.
Bell has been adamant in recent weeks that he believes GPD has a conflict of interest because its designing two roundabouts on Darrow Road in Twinsburg near the Solon border.
He worries that the roundabouts will affect traffic in Solon and wonders how it will affect the traffic light at Lisa Lane, which the city installed for about $250,000.
"The traffic light that’s there at the end of town and the roundup they’ve recommended to the Twinsburg Council are in direct conflict with one another," Bell said.
Pelunis voted no because he said he wants to hear in-person presentations from the three firms, since they would need a good working relationship with council into the future. Kraus said he doesn't object to GPD being hired, but that he wants the law director to weigh in first on whether the company's relationship with Twinsburg is considered a conflict.
The other council members said they reviewed the materials and find GPD to be the best fit and also a fresh start after using the same firm for a number of years.
"I think they are up to doing the job and I’m ready for a change," said Councilwoman Toni Richmond.