Posts tagged “University Drive Pedestrian Safety

Closing Boyett on busiest nights makes Northgate safer

By Gus Roman, Assistant Director of Community Services

If you’ve ever driven through the Northgate Entertainment District on a Friday or Saturday night, you know it’s an immensely popular place for college students to get revved up for Aggie football or just unwind after a long week of classes.

You also know it can be an extraordinarily dangerous place for unwary pedestrians. With more than 60,000 students walking, driving and bicycling around campus, safety has to be the top priority for local authorities.

The city has worked closely with Texas A&M and The Texas Department of Transportation to devise and implement various safety improvements along University Drive. In 2012, Old College Main was closed at University Drive, and we added a bicycle and pedestrian crossing.

Still, with one of the nation’s most populous universities across the street, pedestrian safety remains a dominant issue – especially at the intersection of University and Boyett Street.

Despite the presence of a signalized crosswalk, many pedestrians blatantly ignore the signal and haphazardly move through the bustling traffic. Meanwhile, ride-booking services and taxis often stop in traffic lanes to serve their customers.

We may not be able to stop that reckless behavior, but we can try to reduce the risk.

That’s why starting this week, Boyett Street will be closed between University Drive and Patricia Street from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The intersection will also be closed Wednesday, Aug. 29, the night before the Aggie football opener against Northwestern State. No parking will be allowed on the sealed portion of Boyett.

The closure includes the area in front of Shiner Park, O’Bannon’s Tap House and a few other bars, along with two entrances to the corner convenience store.

Whenever Boyett is closed, the southern row of the Northgate parking lot will serve as a designated loading area for ride-booking customers. To help traffic flow, we renumbered and restriped the lot to accommodate angled spaces. Plenty of additional parking is available in the city’s Northgate Parking Garage, which has more than 700 affordable spaces.

These adjustments may be inconvenient for some, but in the end, we’ll have a safer, more pedestrian-friendly environment in Northgate.

 


About the Blogger

Gus Roman has been with the City of College Station since 2015 and has served as assistant director of community services since 2016. He’s also worked for the City of San Marcos and the City of Bryan. Gus previously served the City of College Station from 1995-2003. He has two degrees from Texas A&M – a bachelor’s in building construction (1989) and a master’s in agriculture, land economics and real estate (2006).


 

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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Dec. 14)

(L-R): Bob Brick, Linda Harvell, Jerome Rektorik, Karl Mooney (mayor), John Nichols, Barry Moore, James Benham.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Dec. 14. It’s not the official minutes.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink channel 19 or online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

Employee Recognition

Earlier this afternoon, the council recognized Sgt. Kevin Harris as the city’s employee of the year along with employees who have reached 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years of service.

Employee of the Year Kevin Harris and Mayor Karl Mooney

5:26 p.m.

The workshop has started. No action was taken in executive session.

5:40 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. Councilmembers pulled these consent items for workshop discussion:

  • Francis Street Rehabilitation: The $3.7 million contract for the rehabilitation of Francis Drive includes pavement from Munson to Glenhaven and Walton to Munson. The project also includes replacing existing sidewalks along with water, wastewater and drainage improvements.
  • University Drive Pedestrian Improvements: The $6 million construction contract is for Phase II of pedestrian safety and mobility improvements along University Drive from College Main to South College Avenue/Bizzell Street. Sidewalks along the north side of University Drive will be widened, median islands will be constructed, and traffic signals will be replaced and will have enhanced pedestrian timings. Also included are illumination improvements and an overlay of asphalt pavement.

5:41 p.m.

Benham Elected Mayor Pro Tem

The council voted unanimously to elect Councilman James Benham to a one-year term as mayor pro tem. Benham will act as mayor if Mayor Karl Mooney is absent or otherwise unable to fulfill his duties.

6:16 p.m.

Planned Development Districts

The council discussed Planned Development Zoning Districts (PDDs) and associated concept plans. The purpose of PDDs is to promote innovative development that’s sensitive to surrounding land uses and to the natural environment. If a proposed development varies from specific standards, it should demonstrate community benefits.

PDDs are appropriate where the land use plan reflects the specific commercial, residential, or mix of uses in the proposal. A PDD may be used to permit new or innovative concepts in land use not permitted by other zoning districts. While greater flexibility is given to allow special conditions or restrictions that wouldn’t otherwise enable the development to occur, procedures are established to ensure against misuse.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:17 p.m.

The workshop has been suspended until after the regular meeting, which will start after a short break.

6:25 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

6:29 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

  • Councilman James Benham recognized Army Spc. Chad H. Drake as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 23-year-old Garland native died Sept. 7, 2004, when his patrol vehicle came under attack by enemy forces in Baghdad, Iraq.

6:29 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • The 2018 Council Calendar.
  • An agreement to purchase eight Zoll Medical X Series Manual Monitors/Defibrillators for $239,228.80 with a three-year extended warranty contract for $20,995.
  • Renewal of four master agreements for real estate appraisal services: Atrium Real
  • Estate Services (not to exceed $30,000), CBRE (not to exceed $30,000); JLL
  • Valuation & Advisory Services (not to exceed $30,000); and S.T. Lovett & Associates (not to exceed $30,000). 
  • Renewal of an annual contract not to exceed $250,000 with DIJ Construction for pavement markings and roadway striping.
  • A bid award not to exceed $286,650 to BPI Materials for cement stabilized material.
  • A $3.7 million contract with Hassell Construction for the Francis Drive Rehabilitation Project.
  • A $243,965 contract with Quality Works Construction for a security fence at the city’s public works facility on William King Cole Dr.
  • A $6 million contract with Larry Young Paving for the University Drive Pedestrian Improvements Project.
  • Authorized the city manager to approve contract documents and expenditures totaling $11.3 million for employee benefits for 2018 and a contract with Cigna for stop-loss reinsurance for 2018.
  • Ratified additional expenditures up to $187,500 to pay current and future invoices under the current contract with Brenco Marketing Corporation for diesel fuel and gasoline. The total annual estimated cost is $1.09 million.
  • Renewal of the annual one-year contract with Brenco Marketing Corporation for gasoline and diesel fuel and the annual estimated expenditures of $1.4 million.
  • Repealed a resolution concerning the administration of the city’s contract forms, delegating authority to the city attorney to administer the forms and providing for a periodic legal compliance review of the forms.
  • Amendments to the city’s Code of Ordinances related to civil parking offenses and civil parking fines.
  • A five-year inter-local agreement establishing the Community Emergency Operations Center staffed by Brazos County, College Station, Bryan, and Texas A&M and contracting for equal sharing of facility rental costs, which comes to  $340,695.90 for the City of College Station over five years.
  • The city internal auditor’s Examination Engagement of the Research Valley Partnership.
  • A bid award of $112,037.50 to Midsun Group for electric substation wildlife protection equipment to reduce substation outages.
  • Partial assignment of the Infrastructure and Economic Development Agreement with College Station Town Center.
  • A change order to increase a design contract by $33,925 with Pierce Goodwin Alexender & Linville for renovations to the Arts Council building located on Dartmouth Drive. The increase allows for civil engineering services provided by Kimley-Horn and Associates.

6:41 p.m.

Medical District Sewer Line

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to establish a 30-foot wide public utility easement on parkland and greenway property in the Medical District area that’s needed for the development of College Station Town Center and other parts of the city.

The route on parkland and greenway property is the only one feasible since it’s located directly between the developer’s property and the sewer trunk line along William D. Fitch Parkway. The easement is not expected to have any negative impact, and the site will be restored to its original condition, including the hike and bike path.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:48 p.m.

Jackson Hole Planned Development District

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the zoning district boundaries to Planned Development District for about 2.2 acres at 3747 Rock Prairie Road West. The change to the concept plan’s preserve area mitigates unpermitted clearing that took place on the property, and a supplemental landscape plan provides for additional plantings.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:51 p.m.

Land Use Change on State Highway 47

After a public hearing, the council voted 5-2 to approve a request to change the land use designation from Business Park to Urban for about 11 acres east of the intersection of State Highway 47 and Raymond Stotzer Parkway. Councilman Bob Brick and Councilwoman Linda Harvell voted against the motion.

The change will allow for development that includes multi-family and other uses.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:58 p.m.

Rezoning on State Highway 47

After a public hearing, the council voted 5-2 to approve a request to change the zoning from Planned Development District (PDD) to Rural and PDD for about 11 acres east of the intersection of State Highway 47 and Raymond Stotzer Parkway. Brick and Harvell voted against the motion.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:11 p.m.

Preliminary Plan Approval Process

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to amend the city’s Unified Development Ordinance to streamline the development review process by allowing preliminary plans to be approved administratively unless the applicant is seeking a waiver or discretionary item.

In August, city staff hosted two public meetings to solicit feedback on proposed changes to the UDO, including preliminary plans. In September, staff briefed the Planning & Zoning Commission on the results of the public meetings and was directed to move forward with the changes to the ordinance.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:20 p.m.

Board and Committee Appointments

The council discussed the appointment of council members to represent the city on joint committees and with other governmental agencies and community groups. The council will consider citizen appointments in January.

8:22 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

8:22 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the regular meeting. The workshop will resume.

9:05 p.m.

Privatizing Solid Waste Services

The council discussed the pros and cons of privatizing the city’s solid waste services. The consensus was to continue the discussion at the annual council retreat in early 2018.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

9:08 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports.

The council meets again on Thursday, Jan. 11.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its final workshop (5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meeting of 2017. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Planned Development Zoning Districts: In the workshop, the council will hear a presentation about Planned Development zoning districts and the role of associated concept plans.
  2. Privatizing Solid Waste Services: The council will hear a workshop report about the possible privatization of the city’s solid waste services.
  3. Francis Drive Rehabilitation: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a $3.7 million construction contract for the rehabilitation of Francis Drive from Munson to Glenhaven and from Walton to Munson.
  4. University Drive Pedestrian Improvements: Also on the consent agenda is a $6 million construction contract for Phase II of pedestrian improvements along University Drive from College Main to South College Avenue/Bizzell Street.
  5. Preliminary Plan Streamlining: After a public hearing in the regular meeting, the council will consider amending the city’s Unified Development Ordinance to allow preliminary plans to be approved administratively. The change would help streamline the development review process.

Before the workshop, the council will host the annual employee recognition ceremony, which will include the city’s employee of the year and years-of-service awards.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channels 19 or online. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

Related Links:                                                                 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meeting

By Colin Killian, Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5:30 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Rental Registration Update: The council will receive a workshop presentation about new software that allows online registration and renewal of rental properties.
  2. Impact Fees: The council will discuss the pros and cons of implementing impact fees for transportation and water/wastewater infrastructure.
  3. University Drive Safety Improvements: The council will consider a contract for creating a final detailed design of Phases 2-5 of the University Drive Pedestrian Safety Improvements Project.
  4. School Traffic Movements: The council will consider changes to traffic movements near three elementary schools as requested by the College Station Independent School District: a) No left turns from Welsh Avenue into the Rock Prairie Elementary driveway; b) No left turns from Brothers Boulevard into the Southwood Valley Elementary driveway; and c) No left turns from Eagle Avenue into the public alley north of Newport Lane during drop-off and pick-up times at Creek View Elementary.
  5. Arts council Board: The council will consider appointments to the Arts Council of Brazos Valley’s board of directors.

(more…)