Kareem Johnson | Digital Journalist

Parking Takes Center Stage at Traffic Commission Meeting

By Kareem JohnsonEmail the author | April 14, 2011

In a short meeting Wednesday night, the University City Traffic Commission covered a lot of ground.

After approving minutes from the March 9th meeting, the first order of business were changes that will be coming to the Centennial Greenway Trail, a pedestrian and bicycle walkway that joins Washington University and Ackert Walkway along Melville Avenue, between Kingsland and Delmar.

The trail ends at Delmar, in a plaza currently under construction, which will have traffic signals at the intersection.  The construction required the removal of 37 parking spaces on the west side of Melville. Washington University has donated land to the project to allow for the creation of 22 spaces to make up for the loses.

William Courtney, owner of Cheese-ology Mac and Cheese, located at 6602 Delmar, gave the recommendations of the traffic commission for the project his full backing.

“I’m fully in support of them. I think they are great ideas [the parking and traffic changes], keeping Melville two-way, [and] allowing traffic flow through that area.”

He did have a concern about the parking verses no parking areas along Loop South (Avenue A) between Melville and Leland.

Courtney said he was surprised with ordinance 10.44.010, which stated that there is no parking on both sides, 90 feet from Melville. He said that aside from 10 feet of yellow curb, there is no indication of no-parking being allowed on the north side of the street.

“I would really like to recommend is that you, the commission, would speak to whoever is necessary to get signage and curb painting put on the north side, because people currently park there,” Courtney said. He noted that there really isn’t enough space for cars to move in both directions in that location, and that he felt it was an emergency hazard as well.

University City Police Officer  Shaun Margul, who represents the department at the Traffic meetings, addressed Courtney’s concerns, noting that there is a no parking sign immediately east of the parking lot behind Cheese-ology, where parking tickets are issued as much as the department is able to. To the west of the parking lot, there is no parking permitted.

After Courtney’s testimony, the commission listened to the Public Works Department’s recommendations to amend the municipal code to restrict parking on the west side of Melville between Kingsbury and Delmar and allow perpendicular parking on the south side of Loop South (Avenue A) between Melville and Leland.

The Public Works department’s recommendations were passed by a voice vote.

The second item on the agenda was the Olive Streetscape Project Phase III, which involved a request to eliminate a pedestrian crossing on Olive Boulevard west of Hanley Road. The pedestrian crossing is on the northwest corner. The city is upgrading sidewalks and American with Disabilities Act (ADA) access points on Olive.  A proposal was  given to the city by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT)  to eliminate the crossing on the west side of Hanley. In the March 9meeting, Lee Cannon, the city’s traffic engineer consultant presented three designs, and noted their noncompliance with ADA. Option A does not have level landings, which are not ADA compliant. Option B, MoDOT’s proposal, doesn’t meet ADA guidelines because a level landing cannot be constructed at the curb because of the existing grade. Option C, is not ADA compliant, but keeps the crossing, and adds ADA compliant components, such as 2 signal pushbuttons, which need to be coordinated with MoDOT’s

The removal of the crosswalk is not under consideration, and the issue was tabled until the commission gets additional information from MoDOT.

The final item on the agenda was a request to install a stop sign on Enright Avenue at Westgate. Officer Margul said that a stop sign was needed at that intersection, a T-type. A temporary stop sign was added to the intersection after the police department expressed safety concerns.  There have been 10 accidents at that intersection over three years.

Margul noted that a stop can’t be placed there, because not ordinance exists for the stop sign to be placed.  The commission passed a motion to have City Council pass an ordinance to place a stop sign at Enright and Westgate. The motion was seconded and approved.

Lastly, a comment from resident who recently purchased a home on Crest and frequents the Schnucks on Olive, and when turning off of Ferguson onto Olive, he is met with a very long light, which he feels he could make if the sign was changed to yield on green, rather than have to wait on the light. Members of the commission met his situation with agreement.

The signal is operated by the state, and the resident was instructed to give his contact info to the Public Works department, and the city will look into the situation.

The meeting adjourned at 7pm. The next scheduled meeting of the Traffic Commission is May 11 at 6:30 pm in the EOC Room.


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