Nick's Council Connection (6Oct2014)

Council Meeting Date: October 6, 2014walkingpath.jpg

Council Meeting Location: City Hall, 220 Clay St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Municipal Operations and Programs goals and needs, University Avenue reconstruction (the non-controversial side), trails and more...

Committee of the Whole (4:45pm, Council Chamber, ELECTRONIC AGENDA)-

We continue to experiment with Committee of the Whole in the Council Chamber. This week, we should have a more accommodating room configuration for attendees and the television cameras.

Mark Ripplinger, Director of Municipal Operations and Programs (i.e. Public Works and Parks), leads the third director presentation for the annual, fall goal setting session (we covered Public Safety and Development Services in previous weeks). Director Ripplinger will give the 'state of the division' outlining policy and capital needs. Council digests all this into the all-important goal setting document for next fiscal year 2016 (we are currently in FY2015 which started on June 1st, 2014). 

We also review the University Avenue corridor study from Hudson Road to Horseshoe Drive. AECOM will present their traffic analysis and design alternatives. The recommendation in summary form:

  • 2-lane between Union Road and Greenhill Road
  • 3-lane (2 travel + continuous turn lane) between Greenhill Road and Hudson Road
  • University/Greenhill intersection to be designed as roundabout
  • Additional pedestrian and bicyclist accommodation

In 2015, we will reconstruct the portion between Hudson and Greenhill. In 2016, the Greenhill extension from Hudson and University/Greenhill intersection will be completed. The final 2-lane section will be completed in 2017. This is a well-thought out project both in terms of design and execution.

Greenhill-University.JPGHudson-University.JPG  

As we do every Committee meeting, we also review and sign-off on 'Bills and Payroll' prior to formal approval in the Council Meeting.

-Regular Council Meeting (7:00pm, Council Chamber, ELECTRONIC AGENDA)-

New Business 

F.1.d) We receive and file minutes from the September 10 joint council-CFU (Cedar Falls Utilities) meeting. At least once a year, cfu-logo-2014.jpgwe hold a joint meeting to review goals and policies and identify areas of common interest and concern. While CFU is wholly-owned by the City, the two entities operate autonomously. Autonomous operation is important because of the unique (and complex) operating (and political) requirements of both entities. Yet our missions remain totally aligned - to provide the best return for taxpayers and ratepayers which assures the value of our institutions rise in lockstep. 

F.2.h) In this item, we approve a grant from the Living Roadway Trust Fund which is administered by the DOT for North Cedar's Natural Resource Project. UNI's Tall Grass Prairie Center prepared the grant for which we are grateful! This will accentuate the 16 acres with additional native prairie plantings to complement other ecosystems in the area. My amazement with this neighborhood, city, county, university, state and private collaboration continues. This could very well become the preeminent urban natural area region.

F.2.i) This item deals with a contract to remove excess biomass for $4/ton (city cost). I wish these BTUs could stay in our city for electricity production. I will inquire further.

walkingpath.jpgF.2.k) Alas, the long-awaited sidewalk connection on Hudson from 1st to 12th Street. If the well-worn cow paths are any indication, this is a frequently used route for pedestrians and bicyclists. It will be 80% funded by Metropolitan Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) funds, a federal program administered through DOTs. I don't think it was worth the wait as nearly 4 decades of walkers and bikers were relegated to grass and weeds which turned to packed dirt by the weight of their burdens. Hudson Road was designed for vehicles, and only vehicles, a modern day travesty considering the pedestrian and bicycle demand for numerous public schools and a major University. Thankfully, today's staff of planners and policy makers seem more thoughtful than by-gone years.

F.2.o) This item is the formal resolution for traffic signals at Prairie Parkway and Rownd Street for $265,829 to KWS Inc..

F.2.r) This item relates to sewer infrastructure cost-sharing for the new Prairie West Addition in southwest Cedar Falls. Ordinarily,21sewer.JPG the developer is responsible for its infrastructure. In certain cases, the City will elect to cooperate in the design and execution to accommodate anticipated growth. The developer remains responsible for their portion, while the city pays for the 'upsizing'. In this case, the sewer pipe will be enlarged from 8" to 21" while the excavated depth will go to 24' versus 16'. Incidentally, the sanitary line also follows the new Greenhill Road extension path, slated for the 2016 construction season. Investing in the future.

Nick's Briefs

It's been a busy couple weeks in the office (and abroad) so I don't have prepared Briefs. For one week, I was working in Amsterdam which certainly sets the bar for a mixed-transportation design. In this picture, I am commuting by bicycle from the factory and came across this roundabout (one of many). I like the way-finding in the center, the directional queues in the apron, the road markings (including bike lane color differentiation) and the landscaping. Just thought I would share. In the near future, I will discuss another uniquely Amsterdam attribute.

RoundAbout.jpg

 


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