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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Apr 2, 2012 EEAC Council Mtg Minutes

EEAC MINUTES – Monday, April 2, 2012
Riverview East Academy
Call to Order
Jackie Weist called the meeting to order at 7:10 pm. There were approximately 45 people in attendance, including 20 residents, two city council members, members of the Queen City Bike Club, a representative of the Linwood neighborhood council, and the president of the Madison-ville council. Channel 12 filmed the beginning of the meeting. Contact:

• Riverview East Academy – Lin Yates, principal
Mr. Yates welcomed the meeting participants, and encouraged all to visit the K-12 school. He will provide personal tours of the building.

• Police Report – In Officer Love’s absent, the report was given by Officer Kelly Macbeth, District 2. The report covered the periods Mar 5 - 29, 2012. She said there are lots of B&Es and property thefts in our neighborhood, but very little violent crime. Residents and passers-through were encouraged to keep vigilant. In response to two questions, she said to report copper thefts and barking dogs. It is not a waste of time for the police.

• Jackie welcomed city council members Wendell Young and Roxanne Qualls, Transportation Director Michael Moore, Madisonville Council president Bill Collins, Linwood council rep Ralph Jacobs, and NSP head Rick Deiringer.

Bike Lane Introduction – Laurie Keleher
Laurie summarized the reason for meeting: the intent to delay the promised bike lanes on Riverside Dr. She provided a history of the project: the EEAC approached the City in April 2010 to participate in the city bicycle plan. The EEAC worked with neighborhood, providing opportunities to learn about options for a bike facility and to provide input. The goals of the project include managing speed on Riverside to provide a safer environment for bikers and pedestrians. Contact:

Bike Lane Comments, Questions & Answers (speakers identified when known)
• Maren Ostendorf, representing the Queen City Bike Club. She had biked from North-side, and was glad that the bike lanes were regarded as a positive asset to the East End.

• Betty Zink, 53 year East End resident and owner of 3 businesses, recalled similar discussions about speeding traffic in previous years. She thinks cars, not trucks, speed through the neighborhood.

• Biker explained how 4 lanes of traffic seems to cause cars to drive faster and more recklessly. It is difficult for bikers to get into the left hand lane. Opening doors on parked car are very dangerous to cyclists.

• A resident noted that sometimes bicyclists drive 4 wide; the law calls for 2 wide.

• We need more education for both bicyclists and drivers of vehicles.

• Money has been budgeted for the project. If it doesn’t go forward now, the money might be wasted. Answer: The study will not have to be done again.

Michael Moore, City Director of Transportation and Engineering.
Mr. Moore stated that he is committed to slowing traffic and making Riverside a better neighbor-hood street. He explained the thinking for delaying the bike lane installations: 471 N (in N KY) started construction today (replacing pavement). The project will take until the end of 2012, and next year 471 S will undergo the same construction. Rush hour traffic from Mt. Washington, Anderson and Eastgate to/from downtown will likely switch to use Riverside or Columbia Parkway to avoid 471. Riverside morning rush hour traffic is already 800-900 vehicles/hrs/2 lanes (capacity); afternoon rush hour traffic on Riverside is 1200-1400 vehicles/hrs/2 lanes. Reducing Riverside lanes to one lane for the bike facility at this time could be problematic.

Traffic gridlock (on 471 and Riverside) is dangerous for many reasons (i.e. getting emergency vehicles through). He suggested waiting a month to see what happens (this is spring break week, so there isn’t a true picture of the traffic change). Money for bike lanes won’t go away, unless Council decides there is a better use for the funds. The morning rush hour is the primary concern – commuters from the eastern suburbs working in the city pay income taxes, and they are stakeholders also. Mr. Moore thanked EEAC and QCB for their commitment and concern. 200 emails were received protesting delaying the project. He asked that we be more patient, and said we’d talk again.

Mr. Moore explained the project (from S to N): bike lane, traffic, traffic, bike lane, parking.

Questions and comments addressed to Mr. Moore included:

• Tom Flotman, new EE resident. Says he’s been patient for a year waiting for the already delayed bike facility, and wants it to go in now.

• Concern was expressed about waiting 8 wks to start construction. Won’t that be too late for construction in 2012, and cause a one year delay? Answer: No, the hot summer months are best for this type of construction anyhow. And the city can go ahead with the concrete work now to show its commitment to the project.

• Can 471 work be done at night? Answer: It’s already a 24/7 project.

• Will the Riverside bike project be done at night? Answer: No

• Can trucks go on Columbia Parkway? Answer: No. People drive too fast; it’s a parkway not intended for truck traffic. Columbia Parkway is near capacity: 25,000 vehicles/hr.

• Why wasn’t the project done last year?

• Jackie Weist, president of EEAC: Is the City doing PR work to suggest commuters ride their bikes, take the bus or carpool? She thinks 95% of cars have only 1 occupant.

• Ken Welsh, EE resident: Is it possible to shut down one lane for a few days to see how it works? Answer: Let’s try counting vehicles first.

• What about the Oasis bridge project? Answer: It (Eastern Corridor Project) is at least 10 years off.

• Jane Sites, EE resident: Why isn’t the bike path on RR tracks? Answer: There was an exhaustive study done 4-5 years ago to see if this could happen. The RR property is owned by SORTA; there are other ‘players’, and they couldn’t reach agreement among all. This is still an active RR line. Clearances are also needed for this project. Laurie explained that the East End neighborhood requested Riverside Drive bike lanes.

• Betty Zink: Why didn’t I know about this? Answer: There will soon be an informational sign at the corner of Delta & Kellogg. LeBlond has newsletters, and posts EEAC meetings on its new sign. You can also subscribe for free to an online monthly EEAC newsletter.

• Paule Asch, QCB: Make bike lane wide enough for my wheelchair, because it will take so long, I’ll be in one when it’s finished. Wait until gas is $5, and educate citizens about benefits of biking.

• Frank Henson, QCB: Will the contractor hold its bid open until the end of summer to accommodate this ‘wait and see’ delay? Answer: Yes. Originally, the Dept of Transportation recommended starting over, but has now changed its opinion and reached agreement with the contractor to hold its bid until the end of this summer (unless asphalt prices raise too much).

• Will there be reversible lanes? Answer: No, never again unless there are physical barriers to put up to stop traffic. They are very dangerous and cause fatalities.

• What can we do for safety now?

• Bill Collins, Madisonville Community Council: He is in attendance, because the EE is part of the Eastern Corridor planning (from 71 to Red Bank Rd), and he supports the EEAC. He is hopeful to have an eastside bike path that extends thru Ault Park & Linwood. He thanked Mr. Moore, and said he is one of the biggest allies for bike-friendly planning. He is most worried about ODOT’s policies and practices.

• Has only seen one police car during rush hour. Answer (from resident): Rush hour occurs during shift change. Answer (from Mr. Moore): We’ll work with police during changes.

• Can we have cameras in school zone? Betty Zinc: There already is a camera near Riverview East Academy. Laurie: The EEAC may invest in infra-red deer cameras that can be loaned out to different parts of the neighborhood. This is being discussed at the next Board meeting, and would have been on the agenda tonight, had it been a regular council meeting.

• Betty Zinc is worried about slow traffic or traffic tie-ups during construction of the bike facility effecting EE businesses. Answer: This project should lengthen pavement length by 6-7 years, therefore reducing the need for as much future construction. And the construction should be less disruptive than a normal street rehabbing project.

• Councilman Wendell Young thanked all for attending and inviting him. This is part of his listening tour. He believes that communities should have a voice in what’s going on. He is really impressed with what the EEAC is doing; it functions much better than some other neighborhood councils. He stated that Michael Moore is doing a good job at representing the city. He will always try to have a presence at our meetings; he introduced his aide, Josh Sabo.

Laurie thanked Mr. Moore and reiterated our position that there be no delay in the bike facility project. The EEAC wants people to come TO our neighborhood, not speed THROUGH it. She stated that most of the neighborhood has embraced the project.

CORRESPONDENCE: Jackie read EE residents Meg & David Nauss’ letter, concerned about losing curbside parking due to the bike facility, and reminding the EEAC that not all residents are for the project

Additional comments on the bike facility:
• Betty Zinc has concern for bikers riding after 6 PM. She said there is a need for more police presence. This is the only concern she now has.

• Jackie Weist said that Mariemont has a 25 mph speed limit. Couldn’t the East End? Answer from Michael Moore: To lower speed limit, there would need to be a speed study, which gets a little complicated because of Riverside being a federal highway (US Rt 50). Bill Collins suggested that we can learn from Mariemont and other suburban communities.

• Bob Little, EEAC business chair: Should we have a vote or approve an action plan? Answer: Laurie Keleher – Not necessary at this point; the EEAC has already voted. Councilwoman Roxanne Qualls: The issue will be taken up by her committee on Livable Communities next Tuesday at 1:00 in council chambers. You can speak for 2 minutes by filling out a speakers’ card at the meeting. Michael Moore: He will have information on the traffic counting that will begin in a few days on Riverside.

Resident Request: Jackie – Resident David Wendell wants to know if there are objections to him buying the lot next door to him on Worth Ave. Laurie stated that he needs to present his case himself in front of the EEAC. This is a Rec. Dept owned city lot. FEMA rules in ‘97 and ‘04 prohibit sale to private individuals to build on, although it is believed this would be green space (but not a community garden). LeBlonde Rec Center director Alayne Kazin offered to have someone from Rec come to a meeting; it was decided to have David Wendell speak first.

All other business of the EEAC was tabled until the May meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15.

Great American Clean-up is Sat, Apr 21. Meet at LeBlond at 9AM
for donuts, coffee, gloves & bags.

The May 7 EEAC meeting will be at the LeBlond Recreation Center.

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