By Lacey Lively, Marketing & Community Outreach Coordinator
The City of College Station’s new single-stream recycling program allows you to put your recyclables in one container. If you live in a single-family home, you’ll receive a blue 95-gallon recycling bin sometime in January — even if you didn’t participate in the old curbside program.
Collection by Brazos Valley Recycling begins on your designated day two weeks after you receive the new container.
By Troy Rother, City Traffic Engineer
As much as we all love Aggie football, there’s one thing we dread when football season arrives – the gameday traffic around Kyle Field.
We’ve worked closely with Texas A&M and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to develop a cohesive plan to move traffic more efficiently after games. Under this plan, Wellborn Road is temporarily converted to four southbound lanes from George Bush Drive to Southwest Parkway, where it changes to three southbound lanes, then to FM 2818, where it returns to the normal two lanes.
By Colin Killian, Communications Manager
The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:
- Possible Projects for Bond Election: The council will have a workshop discussion on the Citizen Advisory Committee’s recommendations for facilities projects to include in a possible November bond election. The council will also talk about other funding options for the transportation projects.
- Gateway Marker Design: The council will receive a workshop presentation on the design of markers for the city’s gateways.
- CSPD Recognition: In the regular meeting, the council will recognize the College Station Police Department for achieving compliance with the Texas Police Chiefs Association’s best practices program.
- Francis Drive Changes: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider three items related to Francis Drive: an all-way stop at the Walton Drive intersection; a yield sign for the free right-turn bay from southeast bound Walton; and a prohibition on left turns into the driveway at College Hills Elementary School during drop-off and pick-up times.
- Rock Prairie Road Development: The council will consider a performance-based agreement to facilitate the development of 232 acres on the south side of Rock Prairie Road at the future Bird Pond Road intersection. The action is another step in the implementation of the Medical District Master Plan. The council will also look at the creation of the related Rock Prairie Management District No. 2 and its board of directors.
By Lee Robinson, Traffic Systems Superintendent
For some reason, quite a few folks in College Station seem to take pride in having a stop, warning or street sign hanging on their wall like a hunting trophy.
Stealing traffic signs may seem like a harmless prank, but these signs aren’t intended to be apartment decorations. They are designed to protect public safety by regulating, guiding and warning motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Some signs may bear a family or girlfriend’s name, remind someone of a favorite place, or have a double meaning. In College Station, it’s not hard to figure out why someone would want signs from Kyle Avenue, 12th Man Circle, and even Papa Bear Drive.
We’re constantly looking for new technologies to tamper-proof and track the signs, but they still keep disappearing. Last year, 151 of our traffic signs were reported missing.
By Troy Rother, City Traffic Engineer
The City of College Station Traffic division on Monday will begin installing new controllers on the city’s 78 traffic signals. The project is expected to take about two weeks and will include new communication equipment and software.
During implementation, please obey traffic control and warning devices, and remember that dark signals — those not switching from green to yellow to red – are treated as four-way stop intersections under state law.
The signal work will typically be done nights and mornings when traffic is lightest. The signals will be flashing while the controller is being replaced and other equipment is installed.
By Heather Woolwine, Recycling & Environmental Compliance Manager
Many academic scholarship programs are based on written essays that express an applicant’s ideas about a certain topic. But when the Brazos Valley Earth Day committee decided to develop a scholarship program promoting environmental stewardship, we knew it called for something more substantial.
Words are nice, but a hands-on contribution to local communities is even nicer.
That’s why the scholarship program – which is in its first year – is based on actual projects that have a positive environmental impact in the Brazos Valley. The only requirements are for applicants to be residents of Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson or Washington counties, and be attending or planning to attend a technical school, college or university next fall.
By Wally Urrutia, Sanitation Superintendent
Andy Garcia, a route manager in the City of College Station’s Sanitation Division, placed first recently in the Solid Waste Association of North America’s (SWANA) International Truck Road-E-O in Denver.
A city employee for more than 12 years, Garcia earned his first-place trophy in the Front End Load truck competition, which includes a timed obstacle course that is set up for seven specific scenarios. Drivers have to demonstrate good safety habits and smoothness of operation, and are graded on both while navigating the course.
By Troy Rother, City Traffic Engineer
As much as we all love Aggie football, there’s one thing we dread when football season arrives – the increased traffic around Kyle Field.
In the early 1990s, the city worked closely with Texas A&M to develop a plan to move traffic in and out of the area after football games. The plan has worked well, but the rapid growth of the city and the university – not to mention all the new visitors from the Southeastern Conference – means it must be updated.
After last season’s Alabama game, we collaborated with the university to collect postgame traffic data all over the region to develop better methods of moving traffic. We also partnered with the Texas A&M University System and other local agencies, such as the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, to find ways to not only move traffic more efficiently after games, but to also assist fans arriving in town before games.
A better traffic plan (more…)
At the intersection of Timber Street at George Bush Drive, we’ve installed radar detection that detects bicycles and cars more accurately than the inductive loops and cameras used at most of the city’s traffic signals. We’ve also installed bicycle detection markings to inform bicyclists that they will be detected at the intersection every time — not hit-or-miss like other detection devices.
For more than two decades, the City of College Station has operated an unmanned, always open, do-it-yourself recycling center for used motor oil and filters. When this public facility opened in the early 1990s behind the College Station Police Department, it was the only one of its kind in the area.
In its existence, the facility has collected more than 45,000 gallons of used motor oil. Regrettably, that’s not all that’s been poured into the collection tanks.
Since the center is unmanned, it’s become a go-to spot for illegal dumping and improper disposal of household hazardous wastes such as paints, mystery chemicals and acids. This misuse has created health and environmental hazards, not to mention unnecessary cleanup costs and a loss of revenue due to contaminated oil.
Since several area businesses now operate manned oil and filter recycling facilities, the city has decided to permanently close the Used Motor Oil/Filter Public Recycling Center on July 31.
Why is recycling oil important? (more…)
Most people take for granted that their trash will be picked up on time, their drinking water will be clean and public facilities will be properly maintained. But College Station’s public works infrastructure, facilities and services wouldn’t be possible without the dedicated professionals, engineers, managers and employees of the Public Works Department.
Efficient and professional public works programs manage our water, sewer, streets, traffic operations, drainage, fleet maintenance, public building maintenance, recycling and solid waste collection. These operations are vital for the safety, health and high quality of life we enjoy in our growing community.
Willie Everline, a route manager in the Sanitation Division, placed second in the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) International Truck Road-E-O on Saturday in Denton.
A city employee for more than 11 years, Willie earned his runner-up trophy in the Roll-Off truck competition, which includes a timed obstacle course that is set up for seven specific scenarios. Drivers have to demonstrate good safety habits and smoothness of operation, and are graded on both while navigating the course.
Last month, sanitation route manager Andy Garcia was working his route when he found a convenience store employee unconscious near a dumpster. Andy promptly notified the police, who discovered the store had been robbed and the employee assaulted. Andy’s awareness and quick response allowed the store employee to receive the medical attention he needed. The robbery is still being investigated.
In the early 1990s, the city worked closely with Texas A&M to develop the Go With the Green Plan to move traffic in and out of the area after football games. The plan has worked well, but the rapid growth of the city and the university – not to mention all the new visitors from the SEC – means it must be tweaked and updated.
That’s what one College Station citizen wrote about city employee Daniel Garcia last spring in a letter to the editor of The Eagle. On Tuesday, the sanitation route manager was named one of three equipment operators of the year in the state by the Texas Public Works Association. Garcia has been with the city since 1995.
It’s no surprise that we receive more complaints than praise. Ask those who deliver any product or service — cable company, gas company, restaurants, airlines, media — whether they receive more complaints or compliments and I believe you’ll hear the same answers. It’s not that exceptional service isn’t delivered on a consistent basis, but it’s that you rarely hear from people when things are going great.
That is, unless you work for College Station Public Works’ Sanitation Division.
In terms of our city organization, these men and women apparently are the shining stars, because I see more citizen expressions of gratitude toward them than all other departments combined. Some recent excerpts:
The City of College Station is taking an aggressive approach to battling local mosquito populations. In addition to distributing mosquito dunks to homeowner and neighborghood associations, city crews are performing spot spraying and placing their own dunks in areas of heavy infestations. Much of that responsibility falls on Drainage Maintenance Crew Leader Bobby Engledow, a longtime city employee who was out bright and early this morning spraying a drainage culvert that runs between homes on South Rayado and Arroyo courts. Looks like a fun job, doesn’t it? But think of all the pesky (and potentially dangerous) mosquitoes that are no longer around.
Few things are more frustrating than getting caught in congested traffic, especially when it’s caused by inconvenient construction projects. However, when the dust eventually settles, the benefits of these necessary projects quickly become evident.
That’s certainly the case with the University Drive Pedestrian Safety Project, which will greatly enhance the safety of students and other pedestrians in the Northgate area. For more than three years, the City of College Station has worked closely with Texas A&M and the Texas Department of Transportation on the project. Thankfully, the first phase — which stretches from Wellborn Road to Tauber Street – is expected to be finished in the next two weeks.
Pavers are being installed on the new College Main Plaza, and traffic control devices will be removed in the next few days. Next week, retractable bollards will be installed at the College Main-University and College Main-Patricia Street intersections, along with new pedestrian signals at Boyett and University.
The City of College Station’s Sanitation Division is always researching new methods and technologies to provide safe, efficient and cost effective solid waste services to our residents, but don’t take my word for it – read our mission statement:
“To provide safe, efficient and cost effective solid waste and recycling collection services incorporating state-of-the-art methods and technology, with world-class customer service to all citizens of College Station, in conjunction with promoting waste reduction and clean community programs through public education.”
That’s why we’re excited about unveiling our first Autocar E3 Hybrid this week, making us the first city in the Brazos Valley to operate a hybrid garbage truck.
Have you ever asked that question while sitting at a red light? Traffic signals are frequent targets of verbal abuse, especially when they are on the blink (pun intended!). And you always seem to catch that red light when you’re late for an important appointment.
How hard can it be to make these things work right, anyway?
Keeping our traffic lights maintained and operating efficiently is a bigger job than you might think. The City of College Station’s Traffic Division maintains and operates 70 traffic signals, 50 pedestrian/school zone flashers, more than 12,000 traffic signs and over 100 miles of long-line pavement markings.
Public Works Employees Reunite Aggie with Lost Ring
You wouldn’t think a typical drainage ditch would be a place to find lost treasure, but City of College Station maintenance crews through the years have found tons of valuable stuff in those muddy trenches: jewelry, wallets, purses, car keys, credit cards and even wads of cash are frequently uncovered by mowers and other equipment.
But the three-man crew mowing deep grass in a ditch near Southwest Parkway on Tuesday came across something they never expected. Eddie Bookman, a city employee since 2004, saw something resting on the bottom 2 x 4 of a fence that ran parallel to the ditch. At first, he thought the small object was just an old mud dauber nest. But as soon as he picked it up, he knew it was something a bit more special. Judging from the imprint on the wood, the item had been there for a very long time.
It was a mud-caked Aggie ring embossed with the year 2004.
Bookman summoned his co-workers, T.J. Pemberton and Ben Dickerson, and they found the name Nicholas McClure etched inside. Knowing that Aggies treasure nothing more than their class rings, the trio embarked on a valiant quest to locate Mr. McClure and reunite him with his lost treasure. They were also curious to find out how it came to rest in such an obscure place.
Okay, we admit it. We’re not perfect.
But we were awfully close in the annual audit of College Station Utilities’ commercial sanitation billing. The audit revealed that out of about 980 commercial accounts, we had a single error. That’s right, just one. And it was for an under-billing.
Can you imagine a major league baseball player who made just one error in 980 chances?
College Station Utilities takes pride in producing accurate bills to our customers. In most cases, the service level doesn’t change once the account is set up, except with commercial sanitation billing. Businesses are provided services and charged by a variable rate schedule that depends on the volume of waste they generate. This means they can change their internal procedures to change the amount of waste they produce. When this happens, we may need to adjust the number of days we collect their waste, or we may even need to remove their container and place a different one at their location. The billing is then changed to reflect the new level of service.
Consider practicing these 10 easy tips during and after this holiday season:
During the holidays:
- If you are a late shopper (and who isn’t?), remember to buy green — look for recycled content, environmentally-friendly products such as a compost bin, Energy Star logos, local goods, membership to environmental organizations, or rechargeable batteries.
- Reuse gift bags, paper and old holiday cards as gift tags.
- Bring your own bags on shopping trips so shops won’t have to give you new ones with your purchases. Make sure to tell the clerk that you have your own bags.
- Review the list of recyclables that College Station accepts at the curb and be sure to recycle. Recyclable items include newspaper, white paper, phone books, magazines, No. 1 and No. 2 plastic containers, clear and brown glass bottles and jars, and aluminum cans.
- Review the Bryan / College Station Recycling Directory to recycle items such as cardboard and packaging materials.
The council meeting was adjourned. Replays of the entire workshop and regular meetings are available at cstx.gov/cstv19.
Sunset Commission Appointments
The council unanimously approved a motion to appoint Ann Marsh, Kay Parker, and Betty Trost to the Sunset Advisory Commission, which serves as an advisory board to the council on whether certain city boards, commissions or committees continue to serve a public need.
Municipal Cemetery System Prices
The council unanimously approved new prices for cemetery spaces in the College Station Municipal Cemetery System. After reviewing the history of the fee schedule for the cemeteries, staff recommended a price structure that results in an average increase of 10 percent. The new prices will be effective on Jan. 1. The prices were last increased in September 2009.