Using the document “Meridian-Kessler Long Range Traffic Calming Plan” as a basis for discussion, we began by discussing the general terms on Page 1.
Note was made that the “specific crosswalk design” suggested to denote Safe Routes to Schools crossings is a substance called “duratherm” and requires new asphalt paving to be installed. DPW felt that this may certainly be a possibility in the future, however we would need to wait until such resurfacing would be scheduled for each particular intersection.
Regarding the request for “raised crosswalks” (hereafter properly called “speed tables”)— a trial of speed tables was made on Georgia Street, and was felt not to be elevated enough to have a calming effect. Therefore, DPW suggests we hold on this request until such time as this traffic calming measure may be improved. Further, this change would also require repaving.
Nathan did feel that Indiana State Law supports mandatory traffic stops when any pedestrian or bicycle is in a marked crosswalk intersection. Towards that end, they were amenable to the placement of “MUTCD” crossing signage, initially perhaps, at Safe Routes to School crossings, or other areas of high pedestrian/bicycle use. (DPW noted that a trial of such a sign for the International School at 49th and Boulevard was found to be quite successful in the calming of traffic).
Regarding “speed humps”—several criteria must be met before DPW may even consider the feasibility of speed hump placement. Among these criteria are: Vehicular activity less than 2000 cars/day and assessment of property owner impact with a 75% favorable position of those affected property owners. Once these criteria are met, DPW would conduct a traffic volume study for both current and proposed future impact, including an assessment of the amount of “cut through” traffic, as well as a speed study which would have to demonstrate that 85% of vehicles were traveling in excess of 35 MPH.
Marking of parking in the curbside lane for areas of increased parking on a regular basis (such as CFI, Immaculate Heart Church and School , Bethlehem Lutheran Church, School 70, First Meridian Heights Presbyterian Church, and St Joan of Arc Church and School—DPW felt that a trial marking of Central Avenue, perhaps at one location initially (St Joan of Arc Church) might be possible, with expansion to marking other curbside lanes as indicated above in the future.
Regarding “curb bump outs” and the possibility of constructing them to accept plants and other landscaping—DPW is open to the possibility of plant-able bump outs, but notes that they cannot be responsible for their maintenance. Towards that end, DPW prepares an “MOU” (Memorandum of Understanding) to be agreed to by a major not for profit neighborhood organization (in our case, MKNA) or possibly with individual home owners, who would agree to be responsible for the maintenance of these bump outs. For those neighbors unwilling to sign the MOU, the city would place paved bump outs. Natalie will provide us with the necessary “flora permit” for those bump outs which would be planted.
Regarding Central Avenue specifically
DPW is receptive to the speed limit on Central Avenue being decreased from its current limit of 35 MPH to 30 MPH which will match the other neighboring north/south streets of Pennsylvania and Washington Blvd. This seemed reasonable in light of the fact that Central Avenue traverses all the churches and schools located in Meridian Kessler, and is considered a major route for Safe Routes to School. Nathan will begin exploration of this change, and will notify our committee as he moves forward. It was decided that bringing our City/County councillors on board would be a good idea as this proposal begins to advance.
DPW is also open to consider the remarking of Central Avenue to eliminate the current lane marking which divides the north/south lanes into two lanes, while keeping the center double yellow line, thereby making Central Avenue a two lane street which will match the other neighboring north/south streets of Pennsylvania and Washington Blvd. Central Avenue will continue to have unrestricted curb side parking. Consideration will also be given to marking a bicycle lane on Central Avenue (the request has been similarly made for Pennsylvania and Washington). They will consult the city’s proposed bicycle route plan which has been made public (and which does indicate Central Avenue for a bicycle lane in the future).
Jerrey discussed the proposal made by Forest Hills residents (and which held an unusually high percentage of consensus on a small sampling) proposing central islands at the “points” of such streets which have a high rate of “cut through” traffic. DPW is open to this proposal, and informed us that while DPW will build the infrastructure, the neighbors would be responsible for the completion of any fountain/statuary/planting etc contained within. This would be accomplished by an MOU. It was felt by DPW that early involvement of City/County councillors would be helpful for a project such as this.
Alicia reported the result of Safe Routes to School’s effort to move the curbside parking on 49th St. She indicated that while there was nearly unanimous neighbor opposition to that specific proposal, the ensuing conversations with property owners on 49th St led to a mutually satisfying resolution of the safety issue concerns. Yet another wonderful example of neighbors coming together to resolve a problem!! Alicia will forward the final consensus to Nathan for his review, with a discussion of moving forward to implementation to follow.
It was also noted that Indygo’s representative Annette Darrow, will be consulted by DPW prior to any structural changes made regarding traffic flow. Thus independent consultation by MKNA is not needed.
Nathan will begin exploring the steps necessary to implement a 30 MPH speed limit on Central Avenue. Alicia and Jerrey will move forward to bring our City/County councillors on board once Nathan has contacted us as to the steps involved to realize this goal.
Nathan will speak with DPW Operations regarding the remarking of Central Avenue, the placement of curb lane parking markings along Central Avenue for one block north and south and the block adjacent to St Joan of Arc Church. If this is found to be acceptable, DPW will pursue consideration of similar markings along other areas of Meridian-Kessler (specifically noted, the above mentioned churches and schools involving Central Avenue and parts of Washington Blvd, 49th and Penn, College Avenue). He will also begin to explore the marking of a bicycle lane on Central Avenue, as a trial as well.
Natalie Derrickson will be the primary contact regarding future meetings and discussion.
Alicia and Jerrey will lead the Meridian-Kessler Plan Committee in prioritizing the many suggestions listed in the “Traffic Calming” document in the order of 1-3. This document will be submitted to the above listed attendees so that it may be consulted periodically as DPW moves forward with its budget process. This conversation typically begins in June of the year preceding the budget year. Our committee will plan to meet in June of 2013 when DPW begins its budget process for the year 2014. This will allow the Meridian-Kessler Plan Committee to present the proposals to and elicit new suggestions from the neighborhood at large, as the MKP moves forward with its Form-Based Code planning in conjunction with the city’s DMD and Kathleen Blackham.