Chairman Buck called the regular meeting of the Transportation and Circulation Commission to order at 4:00 p.m.
Commissioner Hardwick made a motion to approve the August 2, 1999, minutes. Commissioner French seconded and it passed unanimously.
City Traffic Engineer Miller stated that staff received a petition from Mr. Augustin Cocan, property owner of 1116 South Cedar, requesting an exemption from the 2:00 a.m. - 5:00 a.m. parking prohibition
Cedar Avenue is a residential street 36 feet wide comprised of 12 single-family home properties on the west side and 11 on the east side and having a 25 mph speed limit in this area. 58% of the property owners on the west side of the street and 60% of the property owners on the east side signed a petition. Residents opposing request wrote or telephoned their concerns to staff. Although 50% of the homeowners favored the request, staff determined that the majority of the homes have two-car garages with a sufficient length of driveway. There were only three homes (901, 1116, and 1117) not having long driveways (room for one car or less).
Consequently, staff recommended denial of the request since it does not meet the criteria established by the City Council and the codes.
Commissioner Hardwick asked if Mr. Cocan provided us a letter indicating what his rational was for desiring the exemption to be lifted and why he circulated the petition.
Mr. Miller stated that there was no cover letter with the petition.
Public comment was opened.
Gene Waroff, owner of 1001 South Cedar, spoke against the request. He stated that there was ample parking for a single family in a resident's garage and driveway. His concern was that the streets would become dirty and abandoned cars would be left on the street.
April Hill, 913 Cedar Avenue, also spoke against the petition. Her concern was that allowing cars to be parked overnight would degrade the neighborhood and devalue the property, and that strangers from other streets would park in front of their homes.
Jeffrey Shifflet, 1012 South Cedar Avenue, spoke against the petition. He stated that there are many children living on this street and if people parked cars overnight, it could pose a danger for the children. There is also a problem with cars, semi-trucks, and motorhomes being parked in the back parking lot of the 99 Cent Store on Orangethorpe, which backs up to the residents' homes. If this proposal passes, Mr. Shifflet asked if there would be any restriction on who could park in front of his house, and does the car have to be running.
Commissioner Hardwick responded to Mr. Shifflet's question, stating that anyone could park in front of his house. Also, a car can be left for 72 hours before the police have authority to tow it. Commissioner Hardwick suggested that Mr. Shifflet and some of his neighbors should contact the 99-Cent Store to discuss their concerns.
Mr. Shifflet and Ms. Hill both stated they had not seen the original petition. The first notice they received was a letter in the mail from Traffic Engineering.
Public comment was closed.
Commissioner Ginter observed that petitioner was not present, and subsequently motioned to concur with staff's recommendation to deny the request. Commissioner French seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
City Traffic Engineer Miller stated that this item was brought before the Commission on August 7. Mr. Mike Brito, Fullerton School District, had requested crossing guard studies be conducted at a number of locations throughout the City.
The first intersection to be studied was Laguna and Domingo Roads. Based on criteria for establishing crossing guard locations, which was adopted by the City Council in the 1970's, staff determined that a crossing guard was no longer warranted at this location. Both the City and the District agreed with results of the study.
The Commission's recommendation on August 7 was to postpone a decision until the parents of the children residing in the area could be notified about this request.
On September 3 the District sent out 44 letters and received one response from Mrs. Elda Holtz, 2231 Domingo Road. Mrs. Holtz stated that she was aware that there are not many children using the crosswalk, but she was still concerned for children's safety and her own child in particular because of excessive speeds and careless behavior of motorists in the area.
Considering the number of responses to the District's letter, and that the warrants are not met to install or keep a crossing guard at this location, staff is still supportive of the request to remove the adult crossing guard at this location.
Public comment was opened.
Gene Maroff, area resident, stated that although fewer children walk to school, but still a considerable amount of traffic coming downhill on Laguna Road at a high rate of speed and accelerating to go up the hill. If there were a need for a crossing guard or supervision, it would be at the crosswalk at the top of the hill on Laguna Road where Coronado comes into Laguna and deadends into the school. Many parents park their cars on Laguna and walk their children across Laguna Road, which is very dangerous because you can not see cars coming.
Les Holtz, 2231 Domingo Road, stated that there are three hills that drop down into that intersection so all the acceleration is at that point. It is a dangerous intersection. There are at least four kids who use the crossing guard; and he is doing everything he can to create a safe environment for his little boy. My family feels comfortable with a crossing guard at that intersection. If there is a choice, the crossing guard is more important at this intersection since there are guards at the top at the school.
Clintina Elie, 650 West Hermosa Drive, stated she is a parent who drives through that intersection. On behalf of parents with whom I have spoken, the crossing guard with an orange vest is a deterrent. He is visible and drivers become more cautious when he is there. Traffic patterns have changed since 1970. There is a railroad crossing, three downhill streets, a two-way stop, and the crossing guard is needed for safety.
Harold Sullivan, Principal of Laguna Road School, stated that he would be remiss if he did not echo the same sentiments of who addressed the Commission today. He agrees that the warrants probably do not meet the criteria for the number of people walking in that area; however, traffic has increased a great deal. He concurred that the crossing guard is a deterrent. He stated that he requested a crossing guard at the top of the hill years ago because that location is just as dangerous as the bottom of the hill due to a sharp turn on Laguna Road just before you get to Coronado. Parents do cross those streets right in the middle of the road. Red curbs have been requested on the far side so parents will not park there, but this has not been done. The volume of traffic is quite large going into the school. A crossing guard has been hired to assist with the traffic on the campus because the situation is so severe.
Commissioner Ginter asked if any of the teachers or other staff members help with traffic of the crosswalk at Coronado. Mr. Sullivan responded that the campus is monitored with a number of teachers on duty at dismissal. They are not located at the Coronado crosswalk.
Commissioner Hardwick asked Mr. Sullivan to explain how there can be a decline in student pedestrian traffic, yet the school's student population has almost doubled causing serious problems with traffic volume. Mr. Sullivan stated that many kids are being transported on buses. Since busing is now charged to the families who use it, more parents are driving their children to school or carpooling.
Commissioner French asked if the parents know how they are supposed to enter and exit the campus area. Mr. Sullivan responded that the traffic flow on campus is monitored and parents are aware of the pattern.
Mike Brito, Director of Transportation for the Fullerton School District, addressed the traffic study that was done. There are fewer kids crossing at that intersection than in the years past. When the District went to a parent-paid transportation program a few years ago, the number of kids bussed into schools was reduced by 1/3 and in some cases 1/2. Parents chose at that time to drive their kids into school, have their kids walk to school, or found other means of transportation, i.e., carpools, which has had an impact on the situation.
Commissioner French asked how much the parents pay for the transportation and are the buses running half-empty. Mr. Brito stated that it costs $180 for round trip transportation. Laguna Road has a large attendance area, spanning the west side of Euclid south of Bastanchury to Imperial Highway. The buses are running economically in that area.
Public comment was closed.
Commissioner Ginter stated that he is reluctant to pull the crossing guard until the four-way stop issue has been revisited. There is a risk every time right turn is made for fear of the downhill speed on eastbound Laguna. No matter how few children there are, they need to be protected with either a crossing guard or traffic control. He stated that recently the Commission voted not to put a four way stop at that intersection. He would not like to remove the crossing guard until that intersection is reviewed again. Commissioner French agreed with Commissioner Ginter and moved to deny staff's recommendation. The motion was unanimously denied.
Commissioner Hardwick asked Mr. Miller if the current stop is for north- and southbound Domingo and is Laguna is a through street. The problem is the help you need of warrants for a crossing guard. We do not need warrants for a stop sign to assign right of way for kids crossing on foot.
Mr. Miller stated that Domingo has a higher pedestrian volume than Laguna Road. This intersection was studied in 1988, 1990, 1995, and again in March 1998. The last study showed one child in the morning and six in the afternoon crossing at this intersection. In looking at the vehicular traffic, Laguna Road has more cars entering the intersection than Domingo Road.
In response to a question from Commissioner Mercado regarding complaints, Mr. Miller stated that none have been received from the crossing guard, the police, or the school.
Chairman Buck asked if there were any plans to extend the sidewalk so those children could continue walking on the north side of Laguna Road to the Coronado crossing. Director of Engineering Bob Hodson stated that currently there are no plans to place sidewalk in that area. If this were a short piece of missing sidewalk, it could be included with a project, but this is a fairly lengthy area. Costs could be reviewed as well as whether or not the City would have to purchase right of way.
City Traffic Engineer Mark Miller stated that staff is recommending the removal of a crosswalk on Lemon Street between Chapman and Berkeley. There are currently three crosswalks in this section: High School Drive, which is not a public street, Grove Place, and Nutwood Place. There are wheelchair ramps at Nutwood Place and Grove Place; streetlights at each of the crosswalks; and flashing beacons on the north and on the south with all the proper signing. Our study observations were conducted from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The principal at Fullerton Union High School was contacted and informed staff that students are crossing generally toward the nursery and the agriculture center. There are also students from Fullerton College who parking in the high school parking lot.
Based on staff's observations of the school area and the way the students were crossing the road, it was determined to remove the crosswalk just north of Chapman Avenue at High School Drive. At Lemon and Nutwood Place minimum warrant requirements were satisfied at the midday and late afternoon time periods. The intersection of Lemon and Grove satisfied all three time periods, having the highest volume of pedestrians crossing, and Lemon and High School Drive satisfied only midday warrants. It was also observed that drivers were not stopping at the crosswalks while children were present as they were watching the traffic signals.
Staff is recommending to consolidate the three crosswalks into two by putting yellow reflective markers across the outline of each of the crosswalks for nighttime visibility. There is also a streetlight. The purpose is to provide the least number of conflicts by channeling pedestrians across Lemon and also to give the driver a consolidated place to look for those pedestrians. The two crosswalks closer together would be a better use of this area.
Staff has contacted the Fullerton school district and Fullerton College and received no opposition to this proposal. Staff also has met with the high school principal. It was also suggested that the flashing beacons be removed, as they are a constant maintenance problem and useless as far as their target value.
City Traffic Engineer Mark Miller stated that in the past 12 months there were no reported collisions on Lemon from Chapman to Grove. There were two accidents with no injuries at Grove Place in 1999 and one pedestrian accident north of Grove in 1998. There were no reported injury accidents at Nutwood.
Commissioner Ginter asked if there is there a parking lot between Grove Place and High School Drive on east side of Lemon and stated those folks who go to Plummer is the largest group having to change their walking habits with this change.
Chairman Buck asked what was the reason for removing the southern-most crosswalk rather than the middle crosswalk. City Traffic Engineer Mark Miller responded that the middle crosswalk has more pedestrians crossing more times during the day than the crosswalk on the south. Staff stated that it appeared the majority people crossing during the study times were going to the agriculture center.
Chairman Buck stated that he preferred staff investigate other ways to increase the safety on the street by slowing traffic down and trying to avoid property damage collisions before removing a crosswalk. Chairman Buck also stated that this is a dangerous street and something should be done, but he did not see this as the answer to anything. He also stated he would like to see flashing signs at the crosswalk.
Commissioner Hardwick motioned for approval of staff's recommendation to remove and consolidate the uncontrolled marked crosswalks. Commissioner Mercado seconded, and it passed with Chairman Buck and Commissioner DiCostanzo opposed.
City Traffic Engineer Miller stated staff received a request from the school district regarding the removal of the existing crossing guard at Rolling Hills Drive and Brea Boulevard. The request was made in view of the reopening of Beechwood Elementary School. The new school boundaries divide Brea Boulevard on the east and the west, and children will no longer be crossing Brea Boulevard at Rolling Hills.
Staff made observations of the crossing guard on several mornings and afternoons and found no children crossing. Staff recommended that the crossing guard be removed at this location
Commissioner DiCostanzo asked if parents were contacted at Rolling Hills. City Traffic Engineer Miller stated that mailers were sent to property owners near the intersection.
Commissioner French added that if a child were to stay at Rolling Hills, the parents would then be responsible for their child's transportation as they are when switching from school to school.
City Traffic Engineer Miller stated that one adult walking with two children were counted, however, they went into the Evangelical Free Church.
Public comment was opened.
Mike Brito, Director of Transportation for the Fullerton School District, stated that if a child remained at Rolling Hills School on an interdistrict transfer, it is the parents' responsibility to get that child to and from school. Most of the people who live in the President Homes area opted to go to Beechwood School.
In response to Chairman Buck's inquiry, Mr. Brito stated that the boundaries include Brea Boulevard on the east, Serranto Hills to the north, the west side of Brea Boulevard south of Bastanchury Road extending south to Santa Fe, and Harbor Boulevard on the west. The southeast corner of Brea Boulevard and Bastanchury Road is also included.
Public comment was closed.
Commissioner Hardwick motioned to accept staff's recommendation. Commissioner French seconded and it passed 5 to 1 with Commissioner DiCostanzo opposing.
Director of Engineering Bob Hodson stated that the applicable ordinance needs to be reviewed because there are items that need to be changed. One of the items to be considered is the level of decision-making responsibility. Council has asked in the past if some of the issues brought to it could be handled at the commission level. Additionally, there are issues that could be handled at a staff level without referral to the Commission. There are some issues, such as 40 feet of red curb at an intersection, that staff already approves.
Commissioner Hardwick addressed Section 8.44.230 (permit parking on designated streets). There is a mechanism already in place to handle the overnight parking restrictions and constant appeals. Some make it to council and others do not. This section indicates parking by permit only on designated streets. I would like to see this changed.
Director of Engineering Bob Hodson stated that this is in place because it was targeted for the area around the fraternity houses at the University. I would need to confirm this with legal counsel, but there is a difference in doing a selected area for a specific reason as opposed to having a universal-parking permit applied throughout the City. We also have a permit system in the CBD parking lots. However, we do not have a parking permit system relating to specific circumstances for residential overnight issues. There are two systems, but they do not relate to the issues brought before this Commission.
Commissioner Buck asked if Section 8.36.020 "Pedestrians to use crosswalk in business district" is enforceable. Lieutenant Spalding responded that it is because it is an ordinance.
Director of Engineering Bob Hodson stated there would be interviews to replace Craig Pals since the application period is closed. Chairman Buck was requested to call Eva in the Council office to set up the interview panel. There are new applicants as well as those not selected from the previous recruitment.
Commissioner French asked about the crossing guard situation on Ruby Drive and Topaz Lane. Director of Engineering Bob Hodson stated that the City Manager's office and Traffic Engineer Mark Miller would be discussing that issue. In the meantime, the crossing guards will remain.
Commissioner French asked if Fullerton is one of the few cities that share with school districts. Director of Engineering Bob Hodgson stated that the state codes have just changed. Previously the code did not allow school districts to be charged for the cost of a crossing guard. It has been changed to be silent. It does not say the districts could be charged, but it does not say they cannot. Legal council is of the opinion that districts can be charged for crossing guard costs. Over the last three years the City has been phasing in with the Fullerton School District. One of the private schools agreed to remove a crossing guard, while other private schools continue to pay for their shared portions. Placentia has been notified and billed, which has led to legal argument.
Commissioner Buck asked about the comprehensive plan for the Transportation Center. Director Hodson replied that the plan has been submitted by Al Grover & Associates. There are two issues being studied, circulation around the transportation and management of parking utilization. After the plan is reviewed, it will be presented to the Commission.
Commissioner Hardwick stated that he met with Terry Galvin and OTCA on an issue on the urban rail. The locations of the stations will determine the size of the area necessary to accommodate parking. Director Hodson stated that the site for the parking structure is on the north side of Santa Fe between Lemon and the existing structure. A study is in the budget this year to review the feasibility of that location and potential cost. That structure was identified in the original transportation center study as needed to just meet the demands of the current rail system. In discussions with the design team and OCTA, there would either be a need to increase the size of that structure significantly or build a second structure. If anything is done on the north side the feasibility of moving to and from trains is impacted.
Commissioner Ginter asked if Mark Miller would be working with the Police on the intersection photo enforcement. Traffic Engineer Miller stated that there is an increased number of officers on the streets looking for red light violations. A small LED will be installed on the back of the traffic signal head so the officers can sit at a location and actually see when the light turns red. It is wired into the red light indication and it is called a tattle tail. Staff is waiting for the installation of photo enforcement in the cities of Garden Grove and Irvine to see how the courts are going to be dealing with the citations. Director Hodson added that if strong support were shown from one or more of the courts, then maybe Orange County would start to move forward with this.
Commissioner Buck stated that he received a letter from the Mayor stating that on September 29, 1999, the City Council approved a formation of an infrastructure advisory committee. Its function is to review the existing infrastructure deficiency assessments, recommend the priority plan schedule, and recommend an infrastructure deficiency-funding plan. The Assistant City Manager, Jennifer Phillips, will be the staff liaison with support provided to the committee by Administrative Services and Engineering. The committee will be comprised of nine members, three selected from City Commissions and six selected from the population at large. The committee is scheduled to begin meeting in December 1999 and will continue until submission of the final report to City Council. It is requested that interest be solicited from the Transportation and Circulation Commission, and we are asked to appoint an interested member to the infrastructure advisory committee. Commissioner Ginter volunteered to sit on this committee and Commissioner Buck volunteered to submit it in writing to the City Council.
Director of Engineering Hodson stated that on October 7, 1999, there will be a meeting at the Presbyterian Church on Raymond and Dorothy regarding traffic safety issues, speeding, etc. on Dorothy Lane. The meeting is at 7:00.
The meeting adjourned at 6:00 p.m. until the next regularly scheduled meeting on November 1, 1999, at 4:00 p.m.