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Minutes of the Work Session held April 7, 2003 at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers.

 

Members Present                                 

Mayor Ronald Drake and Council Members                                         Marie Lopez Rogers

                                                                                                            Peggy Jones

                                                                                                            Stephanie Karlin

                                                                                                            Raymond Shuey

                                                                                                            Betty Lynch

                                                                                                            Albert Carroll, Jr.

                                                                                                           

ALSO PRESENT                                           

Todd Hileman, City Manager

Andrew McGuire, City Attorney                        

 

2)         CITYWIDE SPEED LIMIT ORDINANCE

Citywide Speed Limit Ordinance.

 

Todd Hileman, City Manager, stated that in October 2002, Council directed staff to develop a citywide speed limit ordinance and school zone speed limit policy.  He stated that staff had been working with a consultant to accommodate both of those goals and wanted to present the results.

 

Carnell Thurman, City Engineer, stated that local authorities could set maximum speed limits within their jurisdictions.  He stated that some factors in determining speed limits were road characteristics, pace speeds, roadside development, parking practices and pedestrian activity, collision experience and the 85 percentile speed.

 

Council Member Carroll entered the meeting at this time.

 

Mr. Thurman stated that staff recommended maintaining current speed limits on all residential streets and lowering speed limits on 16% of collector streets and 50% of arterial streets.  He stated that staff researched the national practices for addressing speed limits in school zones and recommended that the Council adopt a citywide ordinance. 

 

Council Member Lynch asked how multiple schools in one area would be handled.

 

Mr. Thurman stated that the whole series would be taken into consideration.

 

Council Member Lynch suggested that the speed limit be graduated to 40 mph on Dysart Road from Indian School Road to Van Buren.  She suggested that the speed limit be 40 mph on Indian School Road from 111th Avenue to Dysart.  She further suggested that the speed limit be 40 mph on McDowell Road from 115th Avenue to Dysart Road.

 

Mr. Thurman stated that he would support those suggestions.


Council Member Carroll asked how the public would know that a document had been adopted to change the speed limits.

 

Mr. Thurman stated that public notification would be made.

 

Andrew McGuire, City Attorney, stated that the earliest implementation would be 30 days from passage or at the end of May.

 

Council Member Carroll asked who would pay for the installation of the flashing yellow lights.

 

Mr. Thurman stated that the school district would have to make a request for the lights and if warranted, the cost would come from the City’s budget.

 

Council Member Carroll asked if the whole area along Central Avenue was considered.

 

Mr. Thurman stated that staff looked at the whole corridor to see if it should be considered for the whole school zone.

 

Council Member Carroll stated that the City had to do what was right for the children and go beyond what was in the ADOT manual.

 

Mr. Thurman stated that the ADOT manual gave some parameters to work from.

 

Council Member Karlin stated that the speed limit should remain at 45 mph on Dysart Road.  She stated that it was a very busy road and it was necessary to move traffic out of there quickly and onto the freeway.

 

Mayor Drake asked what the speed limit was north of Indian School Road on Dysart Road.

 

Mr. Thurman stated that it was 50 mph.

 

Mayor Drake asked if it should be transitioned to 40 mph.

 

Mr. Thurman stated that he would recommend that because of future development, the school and more commercial activity.

 

Mayor Drake stated that he was comfortable with 45 mph.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that it should be 50 mph north of Indian School Road, 45 mph and then 40 mph near the housing developments, commercial sites and schools.

 

Council Member Jones stated that she did not think it was even possible to travel 45 mph on Dysart Road because of the amount of traffic.  She stated that she could support changing the speed limits in the school zones if that was supported by the best practices.  She asked why staff was asking the Council to post speed limits in a new neighborhood.

 

Mr. Thurman stated that there was no ordinance that identified the speed limits and there were a lot of inconsistencies on the arterial collector streets.

 

Council Member Jones stated that the City Manager or authorized designee could make those changes or the public could come forward to request changes.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that staff was asking the Council to support bringing consistency to all of Avondale.  She stated that staff would like to post speed limits based on the studies that were done and she agreed with that.

 

Council Member Shuey asked how future adjustments to speed limits would be made.

 

Mr. Thurman stated that the public could make requests for staff evaluation and recommendations to the City Manager.

 

Council Member Shuey asked if it was typical for elected bodies to set speed limits or if it was a staff function.

 

Mr. Thurman stated that the it was typical for an elected body to set the speed limits.  He stated that the City of Phoenix had a similar ordinance identifying all speeds in their arterial collector streets based upon a speed limit investigation and traffic survey.

 

Mayor Drake thanked Mr. Thurman for bringing his expertise to help the City with a speed limit ordinance.  He stated that he had no issues with any of the recommendations and felt comfortable with them.  He asked staff to monitor the issue and bring items to the Council that needed to be changed.

 

Mayor Drake asked if Mr. Thurman was comfortable with the recommended speed limits.

 

Mr. Thurman stated that he reviewed the report and agreed with all of the recommended changes except for one.  He stated that on Dysart Road south of Van Buren to MC-85, he would recommend that the speed be posted at 40 mph rather than 35 mph.

 

Mayor Drake asked why Mr. Thurman would not want the speed limit to be 40 mph on Indian School Road west bound to Dysart Road because that was one of the most dangerous intersections.

 

Mr. Thurman stated that he would recommend 40 mph west of the river and 45 mph east of the river to 111th Avenue.

 

Council Member Karlin stated that she would be interested in knowing which streets had the highest amount of accidents and whether that would give some validity to changing the speeds.

 

Mayor Drake asked if Mr. Thurman agreed with Council Member Lynch’s suggestion to change the speed to 40 mph on McDowell Road from 115th Avenue to Rancho Sante Fe Boulevard.

 

Mr. Thurman stated that he did and that a signal may also be warranted there.

 

Vice-Mayor Rogers asked if the police and fire departments provided input in the consultant’s study.

 

Mr. Thurman stated that collision data was provided.

 

Vice-Mayor Rogers stated that there were some issues that she did not agree with and asked how the enforcement would be handled.

 

Mayor Drake asked if staff could postpone the item so that Stephen MacKinnon, Police Chief, could be present to answer questions.

 

Mr. Hileman stated that Chief MacKinnon did not have the kind of statistical data that the Council was looking for and that was why a new computer system was being installed.  He stated that it would be a good idea for Chief Adams and MacKinnon to review the recommendations and provide input.

 

Mayor Drake asked if Chief MacKinnon could discuss lowering the speed limit to 40 mph by the river on Indian School Road, transitioning the speed limit from 45 to 40 mph on Dysart Road and having the speed limit be 40 mph in front of Friendship Park.

 

Council Member Carroll asked if drivers would be notified of speed limit changes.

 

Mayor Drake stated that signs could be posted that read, “Reduced Speed Limit.”

 

Mr. Thurman stated that orange warning signs with flags could be posted to announce traffic control changes.

 

Mayor Drake asked staff to bring the item back in two weeks.

 

Mr. Thurman stated that reviews were needed on McDowell Road in front of Friendship Park, Indian School Road between 111th Avenue and El Mirage Road, and Dysart Road south of Indian School Road.

 

Mayor Drake stated that a review was also needed from El Mirage Road to Dysart Road on Indian School Road.

 

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Council, Council Member Lynch moved to adjourn.  Council Member Shuey seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

Meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                     Mayor Drake

 

                                                           

            Linda M. Farris, CMC

                     City Clerk

 

CERTIFICATION

 

I hereby certify that the foregoing minutes are a true and correct copy of the minutes of the work session of the City Council of the City of Avondale held on the 7th day of April, 2003.  I further certify that the meeting was duly called and held and that the quorum was present.

 

 

 

                                                           

                     City Clerk