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TCC Minutes October 6, 2003

City Council Chambers---------City Hall
Monday, October 6, 2003---------4:00 p.m.

COMMISSIONERS PRESENT David Bailey
J. Michael Cochran, Chairman
Brent Hardwick
Angela Lindstrom (arrived 4:03 p.m.)
John Olmsted
Patrick Robeson, Vice-Chairman
COMMISSIONERS ABSENT Rosa Nowels
STAFF PRESENT Robert Hodson, Director of Engineering
Mark Miller, City Traffic Engineer
Dave Langstaff, Traffic Engineering Analyst
Teri Carlson, Senior Traffic Engineering Aide
Lieutenant Stanko, Police Department
Sergeant Matson, Police Department
Amy Inzunza, Recording Secretary

CALL TO ORDER

Chairman Cochran called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Commissioner Olmsted made a motion to accept the August 4, 2003 minutes. Vice-Chairman Robeson seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS

  1. CONSIDERATION OF A REQUEST FOR AN ADULT CROSSING GUARD AT THE INTERSECTION OF PUENTE STREET AND BEECHWOOD AVENUE; AND IMPLEMENTATION OF MISCELLANEOUS TRAFFIC IMPROVEMENTS IN THE AREA SURROUNDING BEECHWOOD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.

    City Traffic Engineer Miller presented and discussed the results of traffic studies that were conducted at the request of residents in the area concerned with student safety and the problems associated with traffic volumes, excessive traffic speed, and irresponsible driving/parking habits. (Commissioner Lindstrom arrived).

    Mr. Miller explained that the study is based on guidelines adopted by the City Council known as "Adult Crossing Guards for Elementary School Age Children" as well as those outlined in the State of California Traffic Manual. All warrants of these guidelines must be satisfied to meet the minimum criteria for a crossing guard.

    It was pointed out that the pedestrian counts for these warrants included school age children only, no adults or other pedestrians were counted. Considering results of this study, the minimum warrants were satisfied.

    A second study was conducted using State of California Traffic Manual guidelines to determine if a three-way stop is warranted. Considering results of this study, the minimum warrants for a three-way stop were not satisfied.

    An investigation was also conducted regarding the driving habits of the parents dropping off their children. Certain improvements can be accomplished within the school parking lot and the intersection of Puente and Beechwood to mitigate traffic congestion and improve safety.

    Staff proposed that the T&CC recommend placing an adult crossing guard at the intersection of Beechwood Avenue and Puente Street; and installation of "No Stopping" on Puente Street between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., and 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on school days from Bastanchury Road to Rolling Hills Drive.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson inquired if the no stopping signs will be posted on Puente all the way from Bastanchury to Rolling Hills. Mr. Miller concurred, and advised that both sides of Puente will be posted. He also indicated that no signs will be posted on Sandalwood, and that he is not certain how far the problem will extend, but feels is it necessary to take action.

    Commissioner Hardwick recalled staff has indicated in the past that traffic studies, especially when there are complaints of speeding, are not conducted when there is heavy traffic volume because they tend to slow people down. He therefore concluded that there have not been many complaints of parents driving too fast. Staff responded that there is a problem of speed, but not necessarily during school peak traffic. The basic complaint is drivers leaving Bastanchury and using Puente as a shortcut. The street has been posted for 25 mph and there is regular police monitoring.

    Commissioner Olmsted complimented staff at this time stating that a particularly thorough job has been done to explore all possibilities, using a combination of solutions to satisfy both the complaints of neighborhood, and the safety of the children.

    Commissioner Lindstrom inquired if similar measures are being used at other schools within the City, and how have they helped in terms of congestion, violators, etc. Staff advised no negative feedback has been received. Ms. Lindstrom also asked if the police would be present when these recommendations are implemented. Staff affirmed and also noted that the crossing guard was also suggested by the police who were present when staff was observing the situation.

    Commissioner Lindstrom asked Mr. Miller how he would address the comments from the president of the PTA, Dena Mavritsakis. He acknowledged that he believes she doesn't understand clearly what staff intends to do. He also indicated a willingness to discuss the situation with her and that he believes most of the issues can be mitigated on the school site. It was designed that way.

    The meeting was opened to public comment.

    Mike Quaranta, 2700 Puente, stated the School District should have been here sooner, considering that enrollment at Beechwood would be increasing by 90 students. He agrees with placing the crossing guard, but the red curb markings will not satisfy the problems. He suggested the new school sign be moved from behind a tree. He doesn't believe anyone is aware that the street is designated for 25 mph and requested additional signs - in green marked SCHOOL and 25 miles per hour. He referred to state mandates, which don't always work.

    The markings for the school are at the crest of the rise (when turning from Bastanchury) on Puente and should be relocated one or two houses so they are visible. Also, the pavement arrows (west of Brea Boulevard on Bastanchury Boulevard at the intersection) used to move drivers into the next lane have been removed, and should be replaced since a right-turn lane has been installed at Puente. He would be happy to discuss his suggestions with staff. He also suggested that the school district and city staff work together to revise the "round robin" traffic plan at Beechwood School, which is three years old and designed for fewer students.

    Commissioner Olmsted asked if Mr. Quaranta is in fact proposing additional signage along with staff's recommendations. He responded that he is not opposed to any of staff's comments or recommendations. He is opposed to the word "miscellaneous".

    Ed O'Brien 2809 Beechwood, supports staff's recommendations for traffic mitigation, however, he is also concerned with the onsite traffic flow. Also, there are no signs to indicate the entrance to Beechwood is off Rolling Hills Drive. Access signs should be in place. Mr. Miller advised that two signs are proposed marked "Beechwood Elementary School" - one north of Sandalwood with an up arrow and before Rolling Hills with an arrow pointing to the left. He also mentioned that the school signs will be changed to fluorescent yellow-green.

    Joanne Hart, 2824 Puente, was appreciative of staff's recommendations; however, she is concerned that the crossing guard, signage, and red curbs will cause the traffic to backup on Puente and Rolling Hills. If that happens, residents will still be unable to exit or enter their driveways during peak hours. The real problems need to be handled at the school to satisfy the neighbors.

    James Antonow, 801 Rolling Hills (n/e corner at Puente), stated It is a shortcut from Bastanchury to Brea Boulevard and vice versa. He questioned how a crossing guard at Beechwood helps those children at Rolling Hills and Puente. He is also concerned with enforcement of traffic controls nearer to his residence.

    Estelle Enriguez, 2800 Puente, is happy about the implementation of signs, but her concern is how enforcement will be handled. There is considerable wrong way traffic on Beechwood at other times as well. Speed is also excessive. She suggested speed bumps, but has been advised they are noisy.

    Sue Faassen, Beechwood Elementary School Principal, thanked staff for such quick response to her request since student safety is the issue. When the plan is implemented, which will take time to educate parents and children, she is certain the neighborhood complaints will be resolved.

    Commissioner Olmsted asked Ms. Faassen why there is more traffic. She responded that children are driven to school for safety reasons. Also, the biggest influx of students is from Amerige Heights, which is bringing in 115 new students, 66 on the bus, and others from all over town. Amerige Heights students are temporary until the new school in Amerige Heights is opened next year.

    Roger Keifer, 2714 Puente, thanked staff. He also requested that signage be placed on Sandalwood. His children go to another school, however, that school has implemented a three-lane drop off - carpools in one lane, single drop offs in another, and the middle lane is the exit lane. It works.

    Kelley Cisney, parent of student, doesn't think a no parking regulation with help, and will create more problems than it will solve. Safety for the children is the main issue and no parking will simply back up traffic on Puente and Rolling Hills. Commissioner Hardwick clarified with Mrs. Cisney that the signing will be for No Stopping, which is quite different than no parking.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson stated that if the most important thing is safety, shouldn't the parents be using the safest possible means to deliver their children to school even if it means taking a bit of extra time? In response, Mrs. Cisney concurred but stated that there are a lot of parents who, in the interest of the safety, would prefer to park and walk their children into the school grounds. Additionally, where will volunteer parents be able to park, parents help their children carry projects into classrooms, all different reasons to walk the children.

    Mike Brito, School District Transportation, discussed with staff the improvements for onsite parking considerations, which will alleviate concerns of parents.

    Commissioner Olmsted addressed crosswalks on Beechwood. Mr. Miller advised that the crossing guard will set cones to close the sidewalk forcing pedestrian traffic south on Puente and the southern east/west crosswalk on Beechwood.

    The public comment segment was closed.

    Commissioner Lindstrom inquired what the timeline will be for implementation of staff's recommendations. Mr. Miller advised that the recommendations will be taken to the City Council in early November, hopefully implemented before the holiday break, and monitored for the rest of school year. The school is currently in a state of flux and will be re-evaluated again next year. If the signs are not necessary, they will be removed.

    Lieutenant Stanko, responding to Commissioner Lindstrom's question regarding monitoring of specific traffic issues, stated that the police have already been enforcing these issues, including parking, U-turns, and speed.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson stated these issues ultimately depend on the school educating the parents about the rules, enabling them to set good examples for their children, thereby becoming good neighbors to people living in the near community. He recommended acceptance of staff's proposal.

    Chairman Cochran thanked staff for doing a fine job working to provide safety and solutions that will work for the children, the school, and the neighborhood. He also agreed with staff's recommendations.

    Commissioner Bailey agreed with staff's recommendations, but would also like to review the issue of signing Sandalwood.

    Commissioner Olmsted also agreed with staff, but was still concerned about location of the signing, as well as additional signing at Beechwood indicating Do Not Enter and points northerly and at Rolling Hills/Puente directing traffic along Rolling Hills despite the fact it is not a through street.

    Director Hodson stated at this time that this item would be addressed by the City Council on October 21.

    Commissioner Hardwick made a motion to accept staff's recommendation. Vice-Chairman Robeson seconded the motion, which was accepted unanimously.

  2. CONSIDERATION OF A REQUEST FOR STOP SIGNS AT THE INTERSECTION OF ROBERTA AVENUE AND COURTNEY AVENUE.

    Mr. Miller presented staff's report. Evaluations of warrants were discussed and staff's recommendation was to recommend installation of a one-way stop sign on Courtney based on the minimum requirements for installation of a one-way sign southbound. Staff also recommended 25-mile per hour signs with pavement legends at its westerly terminus eastward.

    The property owner at 1443 Courtney is opposed to a one-way stop.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson inquired if stop signs and speed limits have an affect on the speed of vehicles. Mr. Miller responded that they do have an affect for about 300 feet. Speeds decrease when approaching the stop signs; however, studies have shown that speeds sometimes increase, sometimes higher than when a driver is required to stop inappropriately in an effort to make up time lost.

    The hearing was opened for public comment.

    The resident of 2019 West Roberta, stated the biggest problem is that traffic has increased significantly over the years. The street has become a speedway, beginning at Page Avenue. The speed of the traffic is endangering the lives of the children walking to/from Orangethorpe Elementary School.

    Ron Molendike, 2030 West Roberta, agrees that the speed has increase, but a stop sign at this midblock location doesn't seem to be the solution because of the noise of acceleration, braking. This is an older neighborhood turning over demographically. Enforcement would be the best solution. Local residents are probably worst the offenders. He discussed speed bumps and understands City's policy to not use this device as a deterrent. Mr. Molendike's son inquired about a 'yield' sign to which Mr. Miller stated he would not have a problem.

    Commissioner Hardwick did comment that the Commission/Staff has presented a comprehensive speed bump policy, which the City Council has chosen not to implement.

    Another resident at 2019 Roberta stated that she hasn't seen any enforcement on her street in over 18 months, whereas prior to that, an officer was usually located on Courtney. A stop sign on Courtney won't help the situation, but speed limit signs might help.

    Chris Talsma, 2018 West Roberta, stated his fear for the safety of his young son because of the speed. He has not noticed any enforcement. He does not believe a stop sign will help. He referred to a former (approximately 20 years ago) blockage at the County line and inquired if that might be a possibility. Vice-Chairman Robeson replied that a Master Plan exists that probably precludes this idea.

    Mr. Talsma does not think the stop sign on Courtney will help reduce traffic speed on Roberta. He requested that there be more enforcement and that speed limit signs would possibly help.

    Commissioner Lindstrom asked if it is still staff's opinion that the narrower the lane, the slower the driver goes. Mr. Miller concurred and advised that the street is not striped and no bikeways are being considered. Centerline stripes on the roadway sometimes indicate a faster street. Studies have indicated that if a road is not striped, people tend to drive slower on a narrow road. The City has removed stripes on some streets to help with speed control.

    Commissioner Olmsted asked what the solution is. Mr. Miller advised the installation of 25 miles per hour signs, the police have been put on notice regarding enforcement, and neighborhood residents may find that they are the speedsters themselves. Until the neighborhood is willing to get together and make a request directly to the City Council, staff does not have the tools to mitigate this problem other than what staff has recommended.

    Commissioner Olmsted inquired if staff would consider speed bumps. Mr. Miller advised possibly, if the established criteria were met.

    Commissioner Lindstrom mentioned that flashing beacons have been used. Mr. Miller advised that studies have been done; cities are not using them as much. After time, drivers don't see the beacon anymore. Garden Grove is conducting a study that utilizes installing a sign that actually tells a driver his speed as well as the speed of the roadway. It is only activated if a driver is traveling over the speed limit.

    Based on a speed survey conducted on September 23, the 85th percentile is currently 36 mph. Vice-Chairman Robeson asked why the speed limit was not posted at 35 miles per hour, to which Mr. Miller responded that Roberta is a residential street and by law has a prima facie speed of 25 mph that is enforced by radar.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson did not support a stop sign and requested that the situation be reevaluated. He did support speed signs for 25 mph. With regard to using 'rumble strips', the objection would be from the homeowner having the strips in front of his house. The noise would be intrusive.

    Commissioner Hardwick suggested that the Commission forward a recommendation to the City Council that would include staff doing a survey for the inclusion of speed bumps in strategic locations. The policy does exist.

    Director Hodson interjected that the City Council has given direction to look at annexing Page Avenue. This process is going forward, however, the complicating factor is there are no curbs and gutters and speed bumps don't work because drivers would then go around them.

    Commissioner Lindstrom asked how far off the speed metering program is. Mr. Miller advised that the Garden Grove report has been written, and that there have been a number of companies that have already the City.

    Director Hodson commented that Houston may be the pilot location.

    Commissioner Lindstrom asked if there has been a pilot neighborhood to recognize that problem exists. Mr. Miller advised that several neighborhoods have requested meetings with staff.

    Director Hodson advised the Commission to make whatever recommendations or non-recommendations they would like, staff will put them in place, and then follow through to see how the recommendations work. Staff may then be able to call a neighborhood meeting for Roberta/Page.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson made a motion to deny staff's recommendation. Commissioner Olmsted amended the motion to request that staff monitor the situation. Vice-Chairman Robeson seconded the amended motion, which was approved unanimously.

  3. CONSIDERATION OF A REQUEST TO REMOVE THE OVERNIGHT PARKING RESTRICTIONS ON BOTH SIDES OF ROBERTA AVENUE BETWEEN WOODS AVENUE AND LOMBARD DRIVE.

    Mr. Miller presented staff's report and recommended to deny the request as this area is not considered deficient in off-street parking.

    The hearing was opened for public comment.

    Curtis Adamo, 624 West Roberta, stated he has lived on this street for 15 years and has never received a ticket for overnight parking. Tickets are suddenly being issued.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson advised that there is no overnight parking at City limits, and typically a complaint is received by the police department. Otherwise, if no one complains, it doesn't come to anyone's attention. This particular street, however, has no evidence of a parking deficiency.

    Sergeant Stanko commented that the complaints are handled first, and anything beyond that is proactive at the direction of the City Council.

    Jane Rocha, 624 Roberta, stated that her son and daughter both live at home and both have cars. The driveway is not long enough for all their cars. The garage is built for two cars, but only one will fit.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson discussed the overnight parking. This issue has been in effect since 1924 and has been voted on three times over the years to keep it in effect.

    The public comment was closed.

    Commissioner Olmsted concurred with a statement by Commissioner Lindstrom that the T&CC should make recommendations based on the request at hand and not worry about what the City Council might do. However, he further commented that it would not be prudent to send forth recommendations that do not meet the criteria as stipulated in the City's ordinance. This particular request would not meet the standards required by that ordinance.

    Commissioner Hardwick made a motion to approve staff's recommendation. Vice-Chairman Robeson seconded. The motion was passed 5-1 (Lindstrom opposed).

  4. CONSIDERATION OF A REQUEST TO INSTALL A DISABLED PERSON'S PARKING SPACE IN FRONT OF 126 EAST VALENCIA DRIVE.

    Staff presented its report regarding this request. Mr. Miller advised that because of the lateness of addressing this item, the petitioner had to take her disabled son home.

    After a brief discussion, Commissioner Olmsted rendered a motion to accept staff's recommendation. Commissioner Hardwick seconded it, and the motion was unanimously approved.

  5. CONSIDERATION OF A REQUEST TO REMOVE THE 2-HOUR PARKING RESTRICTION ON THE WEST SIDE OF ALMIRA AVENUE BETWEEN YORBA LINDA BOULEVARD AND THE EAST/WEST SEGMENT OF ALMIRA AVENUE.

    Mr. Miller presented staff's report for this request from the Eastside Christian Church, 2460 Elmira Avenue. Staff investigated the area and determined that the parking demand on Elmira is extremely heavy. CSUF students currently park on the east side during most of the day. If the restriction is removed, 9-10 spaces will be available. After evaluation, staff recommended the request be approved.

    Commissioner Olmsted inquired as to how removal of the two-hour parking restriction will solve the problem for the Church, when in fact, it may only worsen the situation since it becomes 'first come, first serve' for CSUF students as well as Church staff. Mr. Miller stated agreement, but indicated that it was requested by the Church.

    The hearing was opened to public comment.

    Betty Jean Wiley, 2436 Almira stated she and her family have resided at this address for over 20 years. She shared pictures depicting the parking situation, and stated that removal would seriously inconvenience guests, especially friends who are aged and require physical assistance, i.e., walkers, canes, etc. Further, she is having extensive remodeling to her home. Removal of the restriction would require the construction/service people to carry heavy equipment up the hill. She suggested signing with "Resident Only" signs if two-hour parking is removed.

    Bill Thompson, representing Eastside Christian Church, stated that the original request was for removal of parking in front of 2442, 2450, and 2456 only. He explained that the red curb extends to the property line at 2460 and 2456. Currently, there is no parking at any time in front of 2460. The specific addresses were mentioned in an effort to not affect Mrs. Wiley's property.

    The Church currently has numerous activities during the day. The shared use of the grass area with CSUF is impacted by current construction of the parking structures at the University. The terms of the shared-use agreement gives CSUF priority during the school week. The College of Optometry has also requested parking in the grass area due to construction on its campus. The ultimate purpose is to move staff parking on- street so that the parking lot is available for church members' activities.

    The public comment segment was closed.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson made a motion to remove the two-hour parking restriction in front of 2460, 2456, 2450, and 2442 Almira Avenue; and retain the two-hour parking limit in front of 2436 and 2424 Almira Avenue.

    Commissioner Hardwick seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved.

  6. CONSIDERATION OF A REQUEST TO INSTALL A TRAFFIC SIGNAL AT THE INTERSECTION OF HARBOR BOULEVARD AND ASH AVENUE.

    Mr. Miller presented staff's report regarding this request. After completion of studies and considering that warrant requirements were not being satisfied, staff recommended that the request be denied.

    The hearing was opened to public comment.

    Ryan Farsai, part owner of the AM/PM at Harbor and Ash, stated that Harbor is becoming increasingly congested. In four years, sales have doubled. He observed that the counts were not conducted at night. He presented a comparative detailed customer count for his Huntington Beach and Fullerton stores. During the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., 292 customers frequented the Huntington Beach store and Fullerton had 540 customers.

    The Fullerton store has at least 2000 customers a day, whether they are pedestrians or drive ups. He appreciates the left-turn lane on Harbor Boulevard. However, he did happen to return to the store the evening that a fatal pedestrian/auto accident occurred. He requested that if a signal is not warranted, could at least a flashing crosswalk be installed.

    Mohammad Amin, part owner of the AM/PM at Harbor and Ash, commented on his appreciation for all the City staff has done over the past three years in trying to solve this problem. To his understanding, however, the only solution would be to have a signal at this location. The east side of Harbor Boulevard across from this store is residential. He also requested the possibility of a crosswalk. It is his understanding that upon the completion of the apartment complexes on Commonwealth and Chapman east of Harbor, traffic will increase considerably.

    The public comment portion of the hearing was closed.

    Commissioner Lindstrom asked if it would warrant looking at this issue now considering that the requirements most probably will be met sometime within the next 12-18 months.

    Mr. Miller responded that considering cost/funding relationship for installing signals, this is not on the top ten list. There are three projects within the vicinity. One that is proposed south side of Walnut between Commonwealth and Valencia is being required to do a traffic study showing ingress and egress to the project. There is also a proposed Centerline Rail project within Harbor Boulevard, which could still be considered in the future. In spite of all this, however, Mr. Miller does not see that the criteria will be met even within the next five years.

    In response to Commissioner Lindstrom's request to do at least something in the interim to increase safety of pedestrians at night, Mr. Miller suggested posting no pedestrian crossing, and use the signal at Valencia. However, traffic counts indicate that there is about a 50 percent decrease in nighttime traffic and he does not believe it is unsafe to cross at Harbor and Ash if pedestrians are observant of traffic.

    Vice-Chairman Robeson motioned to accept staffs recommendation. Commissioner Hardwick seconded the motion, which passed. unanimously.

  7. CONSIDERATION OF A STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO INSTALL "NO STOPPING ANYTIME" ON BOTH SIDES OF EUCLID STREET BETWEEN VALENCIA MESA DRIVE AND ROSECRANS.

    Staff presented its report. There being no public comment and no discussion by the Commissioners, Commissioner Hardwick made a motion to accept staff's recommendation. Vice Chairman Robeson seconded the motion, which was passed unanimously.

COUNCIL REVIEW

  • Chairman Cochran complimented the Engineering staff on the Plummer Parking Structure. Director Hodson responded that the landscaping is being done by the Maintenance Service department.
  • Commissioner Bailey commented on the aerial maps and requested that they be continued. All Commissioners concurred.
  • Director Hodson advised the Commissioners that changes in staffing will be taking place within the next few months, i.e., Don Hoppe, Assistant City Engineer, will be phasing into the staff advisory position.
  • It is a task of the T&CC to review certain items from the Airport. The first issue to come to this Commission will be the Airport Master Plan, which requires updating every five years.
  • Three of four overnight parking issues presented to City Council were denied. Commissioner Olmsted stated he was at that meeting and got the impression that the Council felt the requests were just not good ideas rather than did not meet the criteria. He asked the Council to provide more guidance concerning what their views are and how the T&CC should be looking at these issues. He did not receive a definitive response. Hopefully the Traffic Commissioners Workshop will address this issue.
  • Director Hodson stated that the Ordinance was defined and approved by the Council. The 50 percent signature requirement on the application is all that is needed to require staff to establish if the request meets the criteria in terms of adequate parking.
  • Some dates to note:
    • October 22 at Orangethorpe Elementary School on Brookhurst - Community Meeting at 6:30 p.m. with the residents on Houston to discuss traffic calming options
    • November 8 - Cal Poly Pomona - Annual Traffic Commissioners Workshop. $80 fee is paid by the City. The training budget is slim, but staff will have enough for the three Commissioners who have not previously attended. The deadline to sign up is October 24

PUBLIC COMMENT

None

ADJOURNMENT

The regular meeting of the Transportation & Circulation Commission was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

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