Monday, May 20, 2013

What you may not know: Week of May 20

Before I get started with this week's notes, here's a quick update on something that generated a lot of conversation last week:

Cherryvale Avenue

The Board of Public Works elected to hold their pair of action items regarding the potential extension of Cherryvale Avenue from Evergreen to JJ. Before that happened, though, I was able to clarfiy some things about the project:
  • The map shows at least a slight curve in the proposed new road, which hopefully will slow traffic down a bit and keep the road from becoming a "straight shot" through from Evergreen to JJ. I don't think there are any plans to raise the speed limit on Cherryvale (currently 25), so hopefully with enforcement we'll be able to keep the speed down.
  • The trail crossing on Cherryvale is likely to be similar to the crossings on Providence and Ashbury, with the bump-out in the curb to serve as a traffic calming measure. The city is open to considering other methods to slow cars down through that stretch, once the street is open and we see what we're dealing with. 
  • The intersection of Cherryvale and Ashbury will likely be left as-is, because it's the city's opinion that adding stop signs to a road doesn't actually have a significant impact on driving habits (at least in terms of speed) on a road. Issues that get resolved by cars periodically stopping tend to pop back up when cars accelerate out of intersections to "make up for it."
  • This road is being built as a joint effort with Little Chute because its primary purpose is to connect to some development that's happening in Little Chute (which is why Little Chute is compensating Appleton for the project). As such, the city isn't going to connect utilities to the north end of the Cherryvale addition immediately, and it's likely to be a while before any of that property is developed.
  • Finally, the chunk on the map labeled "parkland" is still owned by a developer at this point. It's potential parkland, but at this point it's still owned by a developer. It's a narrow strip of land, so it would be a challenge to build houses on.
This item was held at the Board of Public Works last Wednesday, meaning no action was taken and it will appear on their next agenda. The reason for the delay is some discrepancies between the city and developer on the terms of the proposed agreement. Assuming it's still moving forward, this item will come before the BPW and the full council at their first meeting in June.

Now, moving on to this week's committee highlights:

Human Resources, Monday, 6 pm

The HR committee meets tonight and the lone action item on their agenda (following a closed session) is approval of a tentative agreement on a contract with union employees at Valley Transit. This is one of the final steps in extended negotiations and is a welcome development. 

Municipal Services, Tuesday, 5:30 pm

This week's top story will once again come from Municipal Services, where Mason Street bike lanes are once again the hot topic. I honestly thought this issue was going to be resolved in front of the full council last week, but instead it's been sent back to committee for further consideration. Here's what happened since the last time we talked about it:
  • An oversight was spotted that will allow bike lanes AND a parking lane to be installed at the far north end of Mason, from Northland to Lindbergh St.
  • An amendment was proposed that would modify the plan and split the bike lane in two between Lindbergh and just north of Wisconsin, with the northbound lane moving over a block to the east and going up Summit St. That amendment passed 8-7.
  • With that amendment added, the entire project was sent back to committee for further study. That was necessary so citizens on Summit (and Brewster and Lindbergh) could be informed of the possibility.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'm one of the eight that voted for the amendment. I voted for it because I think citizens have made it loud and clear that they won't accept losing parking on Mason Street unless we can be absolutely certain there's no other option. On Tuesday night the committee will get an opportunity to hear the advantages and disadvantages of this option from city staff and neighbors, and they'll have the option to accept this plan, amend the plan back to what it was a week ago or make more amendments.

Keeping you informed on issues that may impact you around the city is one of my primary goals as an alderman. Making the council's activity as accessible as possible to as many people as are interested is part of my goal to make it easier for more people to get involved with issues that matter to them.

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