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TCC Minutes August 6, 2001

MINUTES

TRANSPORTATION AND CIRCULATION COMMISSION

City Council Chambers---------City Hall
MONDAY, AUGUST 6, 2001 - - - - - 4:00 P. M.

COMMISSIONERS PRESENT:
J. Michael Cochran
Edward Ginter, Chairman
LeAnn French
Sean Francis, Vice-Chairman
Brent Hardwick
Patrick Robeson
COMMISSIONER ABSENT:
Vince Buck
STAFF PRESENT:
Mark Miller, City Traffic Engineer
Dave Langstaff, Traffic Engineering Tech II
Teri Carlson, Sr. Traffic Engineering Aide
Bob Hodson, City Engineer
Officer Bob Terrio, Fullerton PD
Stacy Matsumoto, Recording Secretary

CALL TO ORDER:

Chairman Ginter called the regular meeting of the Transportation &Circulation Commission to order at 4:00 p.m.

MINUTES:

Commissioner Hardwick made a motion to approve the June 4, 2001 minutes. Commissioner French seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS

1. CONSIDERATION OF A REQUEST TO REMOVE THE OVERNIGHT PARKING RESTRICTIONS ON BOTH SIDES OF AMERIGE AVENUE BETWEEN BASQUE AVENUE AND ORCHARD AVENUE

City Traffic Engineer Mark Miller stated that staff received a petition from Michelle Davenport, 1532 Amerige Avenue requesting the exemption from the overnight parking restriction. Amerige Avenue is a residential street 36 feet wide, 25 mph speed limit, and no reported accidents at this section of Amerige Avenue in the past 12 months. The north side is comprised of ten single family properties with two-car garages, two of the properties have short driveways, five have standard driveways, and three properties have long driveways capable of handling two to three vehicles. Eleven homes on the south side of Amerige Avenue have no driveways with garage accesses off the alley in the back of their homes, two homes have no driveways but have improved parking areas to park additional vehicles, one property has a short driveway with a garage access off Basque Avenue, and two properties have standard driveways and garage accesses off of Amerige Avenue. On-street parking is permitted on both sides of Amerige Avenue and in the surrounding alleys to the south. There are no signs posted in the alley so parking is permitted. Parking is also permitted within the alleys on the south of Amerige Avenue from 2:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Originally, there were 70% of the property owners on the north and 69% on the south who signed the petition. Since then, one of the property owners has changed their mind, which changed the percentage of owners in favor. The ordinance defines a parking deficiency as not meeting the current minimum parking requirement for the same type of land use, which is a minimum of a two-car garage. The discussion of how big a two-car garage is supposed to be has come up and staff has measured several garages throughout the City. The standard garage doors are 15 1/2 feet or 16 feet and that is what the City's Building Department uses as a standard for a two-car garage. Staff's opinion is that the properties on the north side of Amerige Avenue have adequate parking and are not considered deficient set forth by the code. However, an argument can be made as to the functionality of the garages on the south side as two-car garages particularly adjacent to the alley. Ingress and egress is difficult to turn in and out of the garages with two cars and majority of the properties on the south side of the street do not have driveways and are not capable of parking additional vehicles. Staff did not support the request for overnight parking of either side of Amerige Avenue and recommended to deny the request.

Commissioner Cochran asked if parking was allowed in the alley.

City Traffic Engineer Mark Miller stated that staff checked the City's ordinance and parking is allowed in the alley.

Chairman Ginter stated that the commercial building on the south side of the alley has some very large cutouts and asked if overnight parking was allowed in that area for residents.

City Traffic Engineer Mark Miller stated that he thought that area was private property and did not recommend residents to park there.

Chairman Ginter asked what constituted a block and if the variance could be started from Horton Avenue eastward to Lee Avenue.

City Traffic Engineer Mark Miller stated that could be considered a block, but the request was for the entire block.

Public comment was opened.

Joyce Finch, 1564 Amerige Avenue stated that she was against the petition. Mrs. Finch felt that Hertz Rental would have customers renting cars for the weekend. Hertz Rental does not furnish a place for their customers to leave their cars so there have been cars parked for 2 to 5 days in front of her home. Mrs. Finch's guests have to park their cars in the alley if there is room. Hertz also parks their transfer cars in the alley. Mrs. Finch has always managed to park her cars and popup camper on her property and there has never been a time when they had the necessity to park their cars on the street. Recent management from Hertz has posted a sign that says "No Overnight Parking" in the Hertz building. Mrs. Finch would like to keep the "No Overnight Parking" in place.

Commissioner Hardwick mentioned to Mrs. Finch that she could call the Police Department and have the cars ticketed that are parked overnight.

Michelle Davenport, 1532 West Amerige Avenue stated that she has a truck and a SUV and she and all her neighbors were ticketed. Ms. Davenport parks her vehicle in her garage and her husband's truck on the street. There is an apartment building and alley behind her property and she does not have a driveway.

Linda Lemieux, 1570 West Amerige stated that she signed the petition but now has regrets because they have had so many problems with Hertz. Ms. Lemieux had asked if there was permits for people who do have a problem with parking.

Chairman Ginter stated that the City does not have a permit process in effect at this time.

Public comment was closed.

Commissioner Hardwick stated that most of the residents who objected seem to be on the west end near Basque Avenue where the people could be impacted by Hertz and the conduct of their business. Commissioner Hardwick recommended to exempt overnight parking eastward on Amerige Avenue to Horton Avenue.

Commissioner Robeson stated that he was not in favor of removing the overnight parking restriction.

Commissioner Cochran stated that again we are faced with changing families, sizes of vehicles, and the number of cars that families have, but at the same time, we are faced with having to try to uphold the law that this City has in place. Commissioner Cochran stated that he would be in favor of lifting the overnight parking exemption east of Horton Avenue and leaving the west end of Amerige Avenue as it is.

Commissioner French stated that she was not in favor of removing the overnight parking restriction.

Vice-Chairman Francis stated that he understood it to be that you could not park in the streets and the alleys.

Officer Bob Terrio, Police Department stated that you can not park in the alley if a sign is posted and the streets are not posted so it is legal to park on the street but not overnight.

City Traffic Engineer Mark Miller stated that the alleys are posted when the Fire Department makes the request based on fire safety.

Chairman Ginter stated that he supported the motion to allow overnight parking east of Horton Avenue to Orchard Avenue. Chairman Ginter stated that we would be opening up the door to continue requests for Amerige Avenue east of Orchard Avenue because the homes on the south side have a similar alley/parking problem. By removing the exemption that we have been asked to consider today, the City is establishing precedence for continuing down Amerige Avenue. Chairman Ginter supported this request because each block is dealt on an individual basis.

Commissioner Hardwick moved to remove overnight parking restriction on Amerige Avenue east of Horton Avenue to Orchard Avenue. Chairman Ginter seconded.

AYES: Ginter, Hardwick
NOES: Cochran, Francis, French, Robeson
ABSENT: Buck

2. CONSIDERATION OF A REQUEST TO REMOVE THE OVERNIGHT PARKING RESTRICTIONS ON WEST SIDE OF NORTH YALE AVENUE BETWEEN CHAPMAN AVENUE AND LINCOLN AVENUE

City Traffic Engineer Mark Miller stated that Mr. Stephen Danko, property owner of 501 North Yale Avenue requested to remove the overnight parking restrictions. Yale Avenue is a 20-foot-wide residential street, prima facie speed limit of 25 mph, on-street parking permitted on both sides of the street, comprised of one single family home, an office convalescent care-property, and an office complex. The property at 501 North Yale Avenue has a one-car garage without a driveway, and 733 & 801 East Chapman Avenue have sufficient off-street parking. The property owners unanimously support the overnight parking exemption. Staff recommended allowing overnight parking on the west side of Yale Avenue between Chapman Avenue and Lincoln Avenue.

Commissioner French asked if alley parking was allowed.

City Traffic Engineer Mark Miller stated that they do have an alley but parking is not allowed.

Public comment was opened.

Stephen Danko, 501 North Yale Avenue stated that he and his wife both have vehicles. His property has a one-car garage with a short ramp leading from the alleyway to his garage. The alleyway is approximately 20-feet in width with parking allowed on the south side. When a vehicle is parked on the south side, it is very difficult for him to park his one vehicle inside his garage. The south side of Chapman Avenue and Yale Avenue allow overnight parking. That street is narrower than Yale Avenue and most of those homes have single car garages with long driveways, and some have two-car garages and wide driveways. Mr. Danko stated that they were requesting the removal of overnight parking exemption on the west side of Yale Avenue between Chapman Avenue and Lincoln Avenue. They have met all the stipulations by obtaining majority supporting the petition, and staff has stated that there is a deficiency of parking at their property.

Commissioner French asked where Mr. Danko is presently parking his vehicles and asked if he could park his vehicles at the commercial building.

Mr. Danko stated that he has permission from one of the adjacent neighbors to park one of his vehicles at their property.

Public comment was closed.

Commissioner Hardwick moved to remove the overnight parking restriction on the west side of north Yale Avenue between Chapman Avenue and Lincoln Avenue. Chairman Ginter seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

3. CONSIDERATION OF A RECOMMENDATION TO RELOCATE THE TRAFFIC SIGNAL AT THE INTERSECTION OF COMMONWEALTH AVENUE AND SHORT STREET EASTERLY TO COMMONWEALTH AVENUE AND THE DRIVEWAY ADJACENT TO THE FULLERTON SENIOR CENTER

City Traffic Engineer Mark Miller stated that staff recommended the consideration of relocating the traffic signal located at Commonwealth Avenue and Short Street easterly to the Commonwealth Avenue driveway adjacent to the Fullerton Senior Center. Staff recommended this based upon some changes in the existing conditions around the Senior Center, the sports field, Boys' and Girls' Club, and Catholic Church. The improvements on Highland Avenue closed the access driveway on the south side of the sports field. Staff looked at the traffic volumes on Commonwealth Avenue and the use of the traffic signal at Short Street, a one-way street to the north used mainly by pedestrians. Commonwealth Avenue carries about 20,000 vehicles a day, 715 vehicles enter/exit the driveway during a typical weekday, and 1300 vehicles enter/exit the driveway on a weekend. One hundred twenty-eight pedestrians were counted crossing Commonwealth Avenue from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Majority of the traffic warrants as established in the State of California traffic manual were not met but certain warrants were met. The decision to install a traffic signal was not based solely on these warrants. Other factors have been considered by the Traffic Engineer in assessing the need for the traffic signal. Many of the pedestrians and motorists are elderly and their reaction time may be slower and require increased gaps in traffic on Commonwealth Avenue. Staff believes moving the traffic signal would increase safety at the intersection, and minimize driver effort in merging into traffic on Commonwealth Avenue.

Commissioner Francis asked if there was an accident history report.

City Traffic Engineer Mark Miller and Officer Bob Terrio, Police Department both stated that there have not been any accident reports for the Senior Center.

Commissioner Robeson asked if there was a crossing guard for the Catholic School.

City Traffic Engineer Mark Miller stated that in the past there was a crossing guard. A request was made to see if the crossing guard was warranted. Staff conducted a study and concluded that a crossing guard was not warranted so it was removed.

Commissioner French asked what was the opinion of St. Mary's Church and was this crosswalk used very often.

City Traffic Engineer Mark Miller stated that staff had not received any comments from the school. The use of the crosswalk was not enough to warrant a crossing guard.

Commissioner Robeson suggested using a crossing guard while the transition is being made so the children would know where to cross. Commissioner Ginter suggested posting signs stating "not a crosswalk" where the signal was moved.

City Traffic Engineer Mark Miller stated that they would post signs indicating pedestrian crossing to the left or to the right.

Commissioner Ginter stated that he was concerned about the eastbound traffic on Commonwealth Avenue making a left turn onto Short Street. The staff report stated the reason for relocating the traffic signal was that there were larger amounts of traffic with minimal gaps and staff wanted to make it safer for the Senior Center driveway. There would now be the flow of Senior Center traffic coming out of the driveway making the left-hand turn while you have the Commonwealth Avenue traffic stopped.

City Traffic Engineer Mark Miller stated that the signal would serve the greatest number of vehicles exiting the Senior Center. The left-turn for Short Street is minimal.

Public comment was opened.

Dick Wallace, 323 North Marie Court, Senior Center member and past president stated that he had a number of correspondences with the City regarding this problem. Problems have been created with the underpass and the closing of the back entrance to the Senior Center, which is now being addressed.

Al Milo, Director of Library stated that he was just notified that this item was placed on the agenda. Mr. Milo stated that he was not prepared with a statement from the library but felt they would be impacted. Mr. Milo requested the Commission to delay action until the library staff and the Library Board have taken a position or have had a chance to review this. The Library Board will be meeting on August 23, 2001.

Commissioner Francis asked what was Mr. Milo's concern.

Mr. Milo stated that the signal at Short Street is not only used by seniors at the Senior Center but is also used by the children of St. Mary's School. School is not currently in session but will be shortly. Classroom groups will be walking to the library. Mr. Milo stated that the church uses the library's parking lot and uses the traffic signal to cross.

Commissioner Frances suggested that the Commission act on this item tonight but in the meantime, the library staff and Library Board prepare a statement for the City Council. The Commission is not planning to remove the traffic signal but planning to relocate the signal. Commissioner Frances stated that some habits will have to change and asked if staff was considering placing a temporary crossing guard. This will help everyone.

Director of Engineering Bob Hodson stated that one issue that has to be resolved is where the funding will come from before this item goes to City Council.

Chairman Ginter stated that he would like the library trustees to be notified when this item goes to City Council.

Director of Engineering, Bob Hodson stated that either Mark Miller or himself would attend the next Library Board meeting which would be before this item would be presented to City Council.

John Johnson, 1066 North Highland Avenue stated that he liked what staff proposed.

Mr. Johnson stated that he would like to see signal arrows for exiting the Senior Center driveway.

Commissioner Frances stated that he sees a problem with the arrows because a car making a left-hand turn would not be stopped with a green arrow and would not allow a pedestrian to cross.

City Traffic Engineer Mark Miller stated that arrows would not be installed. Arrows are warranted when staff sees a problem occurring and a signal can be fixed with arrows. Staff has decided not to install arrows at this time.

Vicky Wilds, Program Assistant for Senior Center stated that she observes a lot of traffic from the Senior Center, Boy's and Girl's Club, and from church activities. Ms. Wilds feels that a lot of the parents from the church, and the Boy's and Girl's Club may appreciate the relocation of the traffic signal for their benefit as they are entering and exiting the Senior Center driveway.

Commissioner Hardwick moved to accept staff's recommendation; Commissioner Robeson seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

4. DISCUSSION ON BLACKOUT PROCEDURES

City Traffic Engineer Mark Miller stated that the City Manager's Office requested that staff develop a policy for the blackout procedures for traffic signals. This came about when Southern California Edison notified the City of rolling blackouts.

The City's first policy was to install stop signs at traffic signals that were blacked out. A number of issues were raised due to the vehicle codes. The vehicle codes states that when a traffic signal is black it is treated as a stop control. Cities rushed out to assure that drivers were aware there were stop controls so they decided to install stop signs. However, no one could ever be sure when the traffic signal would come back on and there would be a conflict if you had a stop sign sitting out on the street and the traffic signal came on. There were some serious accidents that took place.

The policy was that a traffic officer would put the signal on a flashing red while it was off and then return to the signal to click it back on when the power returned. The City has looked into backup battery systems and determined that the City's present traffic signal system could only operate for a maximum of 15 minutes to a half an hour based on the existing types of batteries and units that are available. The City's existing policy is not to install stop signs at intersections that are blacked out except at the Police's request and in addition, not to install battery backup systems at this time because it is not determined how long the system could operate and the signal could be blacked out. The City has received guidance from the City Attorney's office that the City is not jeopardizing liability issues with this policy. However, the City will be installing battery backup systems at new traffic signal with the LED installations.

Commissioner Hardwick asked when the Police request a stop sign for a malfunctioning signal, he thought they would normally have a police officer controlling traffic as well.

Officer Bob Terrio stated that when a signal goes out and the Police Department is sent out, the Police Department looks at the situation and sees if stop signs are warranted. If the Police Department desires not to have stop signs, the Police Department stays and directs traffic. If stop signs are set up, the Police Department leaves but they are required to get into the signal box and put the signal on flashing red so when the signals come back on, they will be flashing red and a conflict will not arise. The Police Department's policy for rolling blackouts is that the Police Department monitors the intersection to see if it warrants a stop sign, then the Police Department will request a stop sign for that intersection.

COUNCIL REVIEW

The following items were passed at the City Council meetings of June 5 and June 19:

  1. Resolution to establish a 15-minute time zone on east side of Pomona Avenue at 205 East Amerige Avenue/210 North Pomona Avenue.
  2. Contract award for the Downtown Street Lighting and Signage Improvement Project. This project will take place on Harbor Boulevard between Chapman Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue to repaint all the traffic signals, street lights, and signing.

The following items were denied at the July 3, 2001 City Council meeting:

  1. Jacaranda Place overnight parking exemption
  2. Eadington Avenue overnight parking exemption

The City Council has directed staff to create a list of suggestions regarding the overnight parking policy within the next 60 to 90 days.

Chairman Ginter stated that the Commission had requested an agenda item for the September meeting regarding changing the definition of what determines minimum parking requirements.

Director of Engineering Bob Hodson stated that staff is going to put together a complete package of the history of the overnight parking ordinance and discuss whether it is realistic. In addition, staff is going to revisit the permit process for other cities, the pros and cons as to how it could or would not work in the City of Fullerton. Staff would like to bring both of these issues together in approximately 90 days.

Chairman Ginter stated that every time this issue arises, there are true hardship situations and there are people abusing their own property. Chairman Ginter stated that the commission does have to grant this to some folks so we do not force them to knowingly break the law. Chairman Ginter pointed out that there was an excellent map showing the build-out of the City by blocks and wanted to know if it was possible to superimpose the exempted streets on that map so the Commission could see if there was any geographic concentration of the exemptions that the Commission has made. Chairman Ginter felt that the older communities would be the neighborhoods with the highest number of exemptions. Chairman Ginter felt that would be helpful to the Commission and to the City Council.

Staff proposed the cancellation of the September Transportation & Circulation Commission meeting.

Commissioner Hardwick asked what was the status of the red-light camera.

Chairman Ginter thanked Don Hoppe for the list he sent to the Commissioners on the projected arterial street reconstructions.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at 5:50 p.m. until the next scheduled meeting.

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