Minutes: May 9, 2016 Meeting

WPNPCT minutes 05.09.16

PRESENT: Conor Kenny, Scooter Cheatham, Steve Speir, Margi Bienemann, Brian Graham, Elaine Bohls-Graham, David E. Golden, Rodney Ahart, Ami Davis, Nadia Kahn, Jamie X. Guerra, Arthur Turner,

ABSENT: Kenny Gaston-Kilgore (excused), Walter Olenick, Carol Kent (excused), Stafford Gunning

GUESTS: Lane Hicks, Jeanette Swenson, Rick Krivoniak, Natalie Sanchez, Meghan Daugherty

Conor Kenny, chair of the WPNPCT, determined a quorum present and called the meeting to order. Minutes from the 4-9-16 meeting were distributed. Brian Graham made motion to approve with corrections, seconded by Scooter Cheatham. Minutes approved by voice vote 13-0.

The focus of tonight’s meeting featured a discussion of a City of Austin Transportation Department proposal for mobility improvements that would include changes on Clayton/Briarcliff and Sheridan to Berkman. All changes need to be vetted by the community.

A discussion on these changes ensued with the understanding that any CT official letter or recommendation would require a rule change as such an action was not posted on the CT agenda.

Rodney Ahart, who lives on Briarcliff, said he had not yet been notified of any proposed traffic pattern changes and advised the CT to hold off on any formal action until it was clear that the residents on these streets had been notified and had had a chance to respond.

Conor noted that the city had a public meeting scheduled for later in the week (May 12) at the Windsor Park Library to present the proposed changes.

The proposed changes are designed to reduce traffic speed along Briarcliff by limiting parking to one side of the street {the South side} and creating a buffer between a new bicycle lane and traffic. The city says more than thirty collisions or sideswipes occurred on Briarcliff in 2014. Brian Graham says the majority of collisions were near Clayton and Cameron Road where hundreds of people turn left each day.

Margi suggested that parking on only on one side of the street would create a pedestrian hazard for residents who tried to cross the street to their homes on the side where parking was restricted.

Brian said Windsor Park residents have stated a desire for a protected left turn from Briarcliff on to Cameron.

Art Turner asked if there had been a traffic impact study done on the impact of these changes to people on the connecting streets.

It was agreed, after much discussion, that we would suspend the rules and send a letter to the director of City Transportation and to Councilmembers Greg Casar and Ora Houston that would address these CT concerns:

  • Pedestrian safety crossing from one side of the street to the other
  • Notification of neighbors on Briarcliff and on the connecting streets and addresses of where notifications were sent
  • Make certain neighbors impacted have had the chance to respond to the proposal
  • Confirm what plans are included for sidewalks on Briarcliff
  • Has there been a traffic study on the impact on the neighborhood?

Brian Graham made a motion to suspend CT rules. Scooter seconded. Brian moved that we take no further action until we get a response to our letter. Brian’s motion was amended by Art to include a formal request for a traffic study. Motion accepted.

Brian moved to pass the previous question. Scooter seconded. Passed 13-0 to send a letter to the Director of Transportation and our two council members expressing our previously stated concerns.

The next topic dealt with the City of Austin’s decisions regarding traffic safety improvements on Berkman. Conor said Stafford Gunning, who is on the Windsor Park Neighborhood Association Transportation Committee, told him that the committee is trying to get a partnership agreement with the city that includes a 1 to 3 dollar “sweat equity” swap regarding expenditures for improvements on Berkman. Previously neighborhood residents have expressed a desire for a better crosswalk, a flashing light, and/or a left hand turn lane at Rogge. The city has $60,000 in the current budget to make improvements on Berkman.

Conor said data is now in on the hybrid pedestrian warning light for a pedestrian crosswalk that he favors. It showed a 94 per cent compliance rate which means people DID stop 94 per cent of the time. This type of warning light is currently in place at Rosewood and Angelina and seems to be working well.

Laura Dierenfield, with the City of Austin, said at the last CT meeting that a feasibility study would have to be done on any proposal the community put forward.

The next discussion involved concerns with the efforts to place a bus transit depot at 6303 Cameron Road. Abdul Patel owns the shopping, bus and restaurant complex at 907 E. St. Johns and has expressed a desire to buy the property.

It was agreed to invite Mr. Patel and his representatives to the next CT meeting for a 15-minute presentation and a 15-minute question-and-answer from those attending. Mr. Patel is also scheduled to speak to the next meeting of the WPNA.

A new CT member: Lane Hicks was then nominated for CT membership. Hicks is an architect and a four-year resident of Windsor Park. She lives on Glenvalley. Lane was approved by a 12-0 vote by secret ballot.

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