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Victory! ...sort of

Everyone has been asking about the meeting last night so I figured the easiest way to tell the long, complicated story was here.

A little backstory...our village operates under a form of government that's taken me 6 years to figure out. We don't have a mayor and instead have an elected set of Trustees and a President who make up the Board. They hire a non-elected Village Manager to run the day-to-day operations of the town. To make policy, the Board is advised by a series of non-elected volunteer commissions who they approve on various topics. Transportation was last night.

It's like Russian nesting dolls where you never know who the appropriate person to deal with is. So last night's meeting was a petition by the business district up the street to remove Right Turn Only (RTO) restrictions at our intersection. The process goes--commission recommends to the Board then the Board can either approve or go its own way. Not to mention that each individual commission is just like any deliberative body--it needs a quorum, minutes, voting procedures. I digress.

The business district--who didn't show up at the meeting, btw--had pretty simple reasons for their request. Flow of traffic, access, complicated directions to customers. But the engineers had a very nice presentation of data that made it a pretty open and shut case. The RTO has been in place since about 1999 and has dramatically reduced the crashes per million vehicles rate.

Resident input, however, went far beyond the request and was asking for improved crosswalks and traffic control/enforcement at the intersection. The problems? Well, the entire stretch of road for many blocks has roughly the same situation coupled with the fact that it is, apparently, an unmarked state road. Don't even get me started on that issue!

So the "simple" task of getting things done means it all has to be run by the state--lowering the speed limit from 30 to 25mph. The state may pay for $50,000 of a $100,000 traffic signal but the need has to be studied first. A 4-way stop sign won't do the trick because traffic volumes have to be roughly the same to achieve the goal and our intersection is something like a 7:2:1 ratio.

The recommendation to deny the RTO was then followed by discussion about A) what to do in the meantime B) how to revisit the issue. Complicating THAT was the issue that some safety measures were taken away by police order during construction in said business district. Without action, those curb and plastic delineators are coming back...the engineer was waiting to see what happened at the meeting. Next, the recommendation was for middle-of-the-road pedestrian signs warning cars that there is a crosswalk. They also asked for the full study required to see if the state would allow/pay for a traffic light. The engineer is actually doing that before the recommendations go to the Board in August.

Finally, the Commission would like to take up the whole street in 2013 to talk about overall conditions like mid-block crosswalks, parking impact on sight lines, speed bumps in alleys to keep people from cutting through.

So what does this all mean? We won. For the moment. The RTO stays unless the Board ignores the recommendation. And we're waiting on a variety of information and action. That was directly mentioned by at least one commissioner last night is that the problem is here, now, and not going away and it's a shame residents have to wait a year or two. That was the goal with the get-us-by signs. Something had to be done while we decide what to do.

How to improve your neighborhood in just 34 easy steps!

PS I did not make formal comments because my neighbors did a great job though I did use public comment time to ask a few questions to the engineer. He remembered me. lol


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