City Council: Thursday Preview (March 24)

Here’s a quick look at some of the items the College Station City Council will be discussing Thursday, March 24 at its workshop and regular meetings. This blog is not intended as a complete and official agenda. Click here to see the complete agenda packets.

Workshop Meeting (3 p.m.)

University Drive Pedestrian Safety Improvement
The council will discuss a plan to enhance pedestrian safety along University Drive between Wellborn Road and Tauber Street, along with an ordinance removing parking on University Drive and a Memorandum of Understanding with the Northgate District Association. According to media reports, there have been about 342 accidents in the project area since 2001, including 12 that involved pedestrians or bicyclists. Eight out of those 12 have been in the past two years. The primary focus of this project is to significantly increase safety as pedestrians cross University Drive. The vast majority of pedestrians and bicyclists cross University Drive at the College Main intersection.

Presentations to the city council about the efforts to improve pedestrian safety along University Drive were made in July 2009, November 2009, and June 2010. At the meeting in June, council directed staff to permanently close College Main to vehicle traffic, remove parking along University Drive, and to create a loading zone, if desired by property owners. Texas A&M is supportive of the project.

The University Drive Pedestrian Safety Improvement plan being developed by the Texas Department of Transportation is based on public comments it received at city council meetings, prior public meetings held by TxDOT, city-initiated public meetings with the merchants, comments from the Northgate District Association (NDA) and direction from the city council. During discussions with merchants and the NDA, several requests were made due to concerns about how the project would impact businesses. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was developed to document needed safety aspects and what the city would do to mitigate the merchant’s concerns. To view the MOU, see pages 10-13 in the council’s workshop packet.

TxDOT has approximately $2 million for the construction phase. The project’s scope changed and evolved as stakeholders provided feedback and input, but the budget was not increased. The state is working to develop a design that meets the needs of the city, Texas A&M and the NDA within the allowable budget. However, the city may need to contribute additional funds to this project if favorable bids are not received. The city will be solely responsible for the cost associated with the design and construction of the capital improvements included in the MOU with the NDA.

Medical Corridor Update
Staff will update the council on the progress of the Medical Corridor Study. The Medical Corridor project has progressed significantly with the formation of the Medical Corridor Advisory Committee (MCAC). In addition, Schrickel, Rollins & Associates (SRA) has conducted its initial site-mapping of the Medical Corridor Study area and presented this information to the MCAC. SRA continues to receive and process stakeholder feedback as well as conduct independent analysis of the study area.

Regular Meeting  (7.p.m)

Consent Agenda
This is not a complete list. Click here to view all the consent items.

Bike Loop Completion Contract:  The council will consider awarding a $257,443.64 contract to Fuqua Construction Company, Inc., for the third segment of the College Station Bike Loop project, which links several residential areas, commercial areas, city parks and municipal buildings. This phase will complete the portion of the bike loop within Bee Creek Park and will provide an important connection with the pedestrian improvements along Longmire Drive, linking the southern part of town to central College Station and the Texas A&M campus. The connection also will allow access to the bike loop from the hike and bike path under construction along FM 2818. Funds in the amount of $588,438.20 remain for this phase of improvements. Approximately 80 percent of the construction costs will be reimbursed by the Texas Department of Transportation.
College Station Business Council:  The city council will discuss a resolution creating the College Station Business Council.  In September, staff presented a conceptual work plan for the College Station Business Advisory Committee that identified an operating structure, key functions, and a list of prospective members. Council adopted a resolution creating the College Station Business Advisory Committee that was to be comprised of advisors/ambassadors to sell and tell the story of College Station and assist the city with advice and assistance for economic development. The proposed resolution will replace the Business Advisory Committee with a Business Advisory Council. The advisory council’s activities will be coordinated through the city manager.

Settlement of Weingarten Lawsuit:  The council will consider approving a settlement agreement with Weingarten Realty Investors (WRI) that would end litigation over the use and development of 70 acres near the intersection of Earl Rudder Freeway and Rock Prairie Road. As part of the settlement, Weingarten would drop its two-year-old lawsuit against the city, former council members Lynn McIlhaney, Ron Silvia and Ben White, current council members Dennis Maloney and Dave Ruesink, and Planning & Zoning Commissioner Hugh Stearns.  In exchange, the city would pay $1.6 million to WRI, among other terms.

Regular Agenda

Wellborn Annexation Public Hearing
This will be the final public hearing prior to initiating annexation proceedings for approximately 649 acres on the southwest side of the city generally known as the Wellborn area. City staff will present an overview of the annexation service plan, and individuals will have an opportunity to express their views regarding the service plan and the proposed annexation.

The city council directed staff to start the fact-finding process in November and the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended moving forward with the annexation process in December. The council has not made a final decision on the annexation, but is scheduled to consider the ordinance on April 14.

The city has met or exceeded all state requirements throughout the process, including the development of a fiscal impact analysis, which is not required by state law. To view the service plan and fiscal impact analysis, see pages 104-119 in the council’s packet.

Watch the Meetings Live on Ch. 19

The workshop and regular meetings can be seen live on Suddenlink Ch. 19, or online at the Previous council meetings are archived on the site.

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