Santa Paula Times

Council axes Traffic Safety Commission recommendation for SPHS

April 07, 2017
Santa Paula News

An agenda item will come back for reconsideration after the City Council axed language addressing costly traffic improvements in the area of the high school.

Vice Mayor Ginger Gherardi, who pulled the item from the Consent Calendar at the April 3 meeting, said she feared approving the resolution would make it appear the city was also assuming costs for traffic improvements surrounding Santa Paula High School.

The “Action Items” report by the Traffic Safety Commission sought funding to create a four-way stop at the intersection of 10th Street and Monte Vista Drive. Each sign, recommended by a consultant’s report, would cost the city about $250.

The Traffic Safety Committee, comprised of the Public Works Director, Fire Chief and Police Commander, also denied the request for green curbing in front of curb-side mail boxes located along East Harvard Boulevard including 125-135 and 280 B as well as West Harvard Boulevard at 224, 230, 248-250 and 1315 High St. 

The report also noted: “The order of magnitude cost for the traffic safety improvements in the Santa Paula High School neighborhood would be in the range from $400,000 to $600,000,” including design, construction management and construction. “Plans and specifications for these improvements must be designed by a professional civil engineer and must be separately approved by the City Council prior to installation. No funds are budgeted at this time for these improvements.” 

Gherardi said she and Interim Public Works Director John Ilasin attended a meeting of the school board and council subcommittee where it was recommended that the two entities “sit down together and figure out what they can do inexpensively,” and, “Come back with that.”

Mayor Jenny Crosswhite, who also serves on the joint committee, said she agreed that although there is no city funding, “they are good things for us to figure out how to do.”

“I do not argue that point,” but Councilman Martin Hernandez said he views the issue as “a process unfolding — and what I did read in that first paragraph” is any such work would require an approved design.

“It’s just conceptual at this point,” he noted.

Public Work’s Caesar Hernandez said he could recommend to Ilasin that the resolution be reworked: “Those potential projects are an x-variable” that can be brought back independently with more direction. 

“City staff should sit down with school staff,” and address it, noted Gherardi.

“That would be preferable,” said Hernandez.

Councilman Hernandez said it would be preferable but “I don’t want to delay any further,” and he urged that the parking district issue again be studied before improvement action is taken.

Crosswhite said it does appear in the resolution before the council that the city would be responsible for costs; projects that could be done at little or no cost should be examined as well as an agreement reached with the school district to split funding.

The recommendation, she added, does imply the city is bearing financial responsibility.

After some more discussion City Attorney John Cotti recommended that instead of reworking the resolution for immediate adoption, “Just bring it back,” with the questioned language removed.

“It would be a cleaner resolution,” he noted. 

The resolution noted that the Traffic Safety Committee approved the recommendations by the “Santa Paula High School Final Traffic and Circulation Study” prepared by Stantec in December 2015 to install vehicle speed feedback signs on Santa Paula Street. The sign for westbound traffic would be located west of Seventh Street, and the sign for eastbound traffic would be located east of Olive Street. ?

Having school warning signs with 25 MPH Speed Limit located up to 1,000 feet from school grounds; curb extensions or bulbouts and rectangular rapid flashing beacons on Santa Paula Street at the intersections of Fifth Street (all corners) and Sixth Street (northwest and southwest corners). ?

Also recommended are street lights on Santa Paula Street at the southwest corners of the intersections of Fifth Street and Sixth Street; No Left-Turn signs on Fifth Street and Sixth Street and rectangular rapid flashing beacons including signage, yield pavement ?markings, and Crosswalk Ahead pavement markings at the Santa Barbara Street and Fifth Street intersection. ?

The council agreed to reconsider the resolution, 4-0. Councilman John Procter was absent from the meeting.