June 11 2015 mtg

Meeting Date: 
Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 7:30pm

Meeting Minutes

June 14, 2015, 7:30pm DRAFT

Members in Attendance: Rena Getz, Chris Pitts, Sallee Lipshutz, Maureen Reilly-Meagher, Joe Corkery, Barbara Bower, Kathy Winters

City officials: John Rice, Bill Paille

Other attendees:

1) Meeting called to order at 7:36 PM

2) Secretary’s report:

3) Treasurer’s report: RG reports that 3 checks have cleared and balance is down to $2602.38. We have a new submission for the printing of the brochure for $345.30. RG moves that we approve appropriation. SL seconds motion and asks for a discussion on the process because the original amount approved was less than this. RG suggests that in the future that for interim approvals that the treasurer, one other officer, and another member be given the ability to approve appropriations up to a certain limit. JC thinks that sounds like a good plan. SL suggests that we instead increase the treasurer’s discretionary fund to $200 to cover unexpected overages. JC moves that we authorize the increase of the treasurer’s discretionary fund to $200 to cover overages on previously authorized expenses. Unanimously approved. RG suggests that the councilors each take brochures around to neighbors to raise awareness and collect email addresses for future petitions and surveys. JC notes that we had no increase in email addresses as a result of WIS mailing. RG suggests that we give each councilor a certain number to distribute and collect addresses. RG suggests that we post the flyer online as well to save on printing costs. MRM wants to know if we want to take this on for this summer. SL suggests that we look at it geographically and break up the list for each councilor to address.

4) Burning Issues: a) DD notes that now that the trees are all in, if people see things that are unsafe on the roads that they should report it to the city via 311. b) ?? wants to know if the council should look to print more. CP says that he got a deal at the time, which is why we have larger numbers now and had the overage. JC thinks we shouldn’t keep too large of a stock. CP wants to know if people visiting website. Not many people checking it. c) ?? wants to know if we use Nextdoor Waban. CP yes, we post meeting announcements there as well as on Facebook. JC wants to know who gets the emails. Suggests that those who are not getting emails, please add their email address to the sign in sheet.

5) Beacon / Collins / Waban Traffic Changes: BP, Director of Transportation, for DPW. Notes that he’s been here many times to provide many updates and now they are ready to start construction. Working internally for a few months. Hired a consulting company, WorldTech, a few months ago to help out with citywide signal planning and also to help out with this plan. Notes that new plan includes putting a signal at Manitoba that was not in plan before. New plan includes curb extensions at crosswalks at the middle of the island to reduce crossing distance and driving speed. Able to retain 3 parking spaces on Beacon St. Manitoba light will be green on Beacon at 99% of time and will be coordinated with signals in the intersection. Primarily there to facilitate people exiting the school and turning left onto Beacon.

SL asks if parents leaving Angier have to wait if turning right out of Angier. BP says there will be no wait for turning right. Will plan to do simulated drop-off & pickups in the fall to prepare for traffic flow once intersection is done (probably completed in October). ?? asks where the post at Manitoba will be as his driveway is across from the school exit. BP says that he will find out and communicate that information to the asker. BP says it won’t be at the end of the asker’s driveway or in their sight lines. BP says that it will make it easier for them to get out of their driveway. BP says they are closing off the island and will have sidewalk all the way around. Will be able to put snow into the middle as necessary. Will do new landscaping as well. Will take advantage of trees left over from school, but also have some budget for new landscaping. Will make sure that landscaping will stand up to winter but will also not impair sightlines. Notes that they worked with the Union Church to determine the appropriate driveway exit for them.

MRM asks if there will be water there to maintain landscaping. BP says going to try to work with the city to tap into water main to provide protected spigots for watering. Notes that project went out to bid last week and a few bids have come in a little higher than expected. Have found a way to make it work and close the gap. ?? wants to know if location of permanent signal will be different from temporary signal because can’t really see signal when stopped. BP notes that equipment will be positioned differently and should have better visibility. SL wants to know if water going in could be associated with a drinking fountain. BP says that it could, but need to work with contractor on what plans might be. Important thing is to make sure that have access to water now and could add fountains later if desired.

RG asks how streets are zoned for parking. Recently traffic council has established parking restrictions for all of these spaces from 4-6. Says these spaces aren’t geared towards staff. They are expected to park in parking lot or down the street on Beacon St. RG asks if this has already been approved. BP yes. RG are there going to be bicycle lanes on Beacon. BP would love to have bicycle lanes on Beacon, but not enough room in this space. This will have to be shared use. BB notes that there is no daycare at Good Shepherd anymore, so there will be fewer issues of people backing up onto bridge during pickup times. BP notes that there will be a learning curve with this, but people will learn. Says principal, school staff, and police need to make sure to enforce parking issues. RG concerned about commuters that will park there between 6-7. BP notes that when this is installed in fall, will get a good sense of how commuters use space before school opens and will reevaluate restrictions in that case.

CP wants to know if they have had a discussion to look at culture of drop-offs vs. walking. BP says that they have. Have learned many lessons from Carr school process. Having discussions with Public Buildings, School Department about how it works and then with Aldermen to figure out funding. Notes that afternoon pickup is a bigger issue than morning dropoff. BB points out that it was astonished at how many parents bring kids to school early and let kids hang out and play which is great for kids. Thinks that this is an important issue and want to make sure that doesn’t get disrupted for the sake of traffic. BP need to address the issues we have right now. Can’t force every kid to ride the bus, so we need to be able to accommodate pickups. Plans are about safety first. ?? asks about timing of signals. BP notes that signals will be timed appropriately to prevent stopping between lights. SL asks what’s the worse case scenario in terms of stops in that space. BP says 3 stops is worst case, but that would be highly unlikely. SL how does this compare to others chools? BP will work a lot better than at Memorial-Spaulding and Horace-Mann. Comparable to Walnut St and Newton North during drop off time. But very optimistic about this because won’t be opening this up for the first time when school is back in session. Will have time over the fall to try this out.

?? asks if it is true that 30 staffers won’t have parking at the school. BP yes, based on final build-out there will be 20-30 staffers without parking at school. ?? how many crossing guards. BP definitely will have 1 but probably will have two. One right in front, but second possibly in front of Manitoba, but that will be up to police. ?? wants to know if they will be fixing sidewalks on school side when putting in new lights. BP knows that they are going to do some reconfiguration because they are using it as a construction entrance. So will replace sidewalks with concrete panels and will improve ramps and walkways. RG is it possible to get a copy of this plan? BP says it is on website. ?? what is final plan for parking on Beacon and the immediate streets in the area. BP parking along Beacon hasn’t changed. Restrictions haven’t changed beyond the intersection area. However, if issues arise they will address them. Will be following this for the 6-12 months following this. BP part of this process is the addition of a HAWK (High-intensity Activated crossWalK) at the crossing in front of Waban Kitchen. Wasn’t able to address Woodward intersection due to funding decrease. If were able to address Woodward, it would be a major redesign of the space. HAWK signals are only useful for mid-block crossings (for example, doesn’t work well at intersection of Crafts and Linwood where it is installed). Site needs to meet special criteria for installation. This area meets its because of close to school, site visibility is poor over bridge and coming up street. Have made many efforts including signage and lighting, but that hasn’t worked. Excellent candidate for HAWK. Need to add signage and striping as well. Many different ways to install them. Not all have to be giant mast-arms. Can be slender and be made to fit into area. This is a new technology, so people need to get used to it. DD will there be signage alerting people to new signals ahead. BP absolutely. When new signals are switched, they will make change over night. Will have police out on day off and possibly for following days. Will have signage and message boards in days in advance. Police and transportation department will be out monitoring it. JC could you make a short video that explains this that we could post? SL asks if people would prefer slender or large masts. Everyone prefers slender masts. SL notes that traffic council made these decisions and that they are appealable until June 17th. So if you have strong opinions on this, write to the traffic council before June 17th. BP we’re learning from the HAWK installs. No city has installed 4 yet. SL do we have data on their usage and effectiveness. BP we don’t, but the light at Parker and Daniel most used. Could possibly get more usage out of it. BP notes that according to federal data, 80+% pedestrians die when hit by vehicles traveling 40 mph or faster; less than 10% die when hit at 20mph or less which is a very significant reduction. BP speed tables are difficult to implement because of fire department. City looking to implement fire preemption system that will coordinate signals across city. Will also apply to ambulances. This system might relax issue on speed tables, but would still be an issue for ambulances because they have to stop CPR as they go over it. SL how do we as a community help you help us at the intersection of Woodward and Beacon? BP will do traffic counts in the fall to see if it meets warrants and if it does will try to come up with solutions to make it safer. Remind him in September if you don’t hear from him. Good news that they have interviewed a strong candidate for a traffic engineer and have another coming in. CP heard that Chestnut and Beacon signal changes might be coming. BP yes, will start looking at the intersection this fall, starting with traffic counts. Will be moving forward with it regardless of St. Philip Neri situation. There will be light changes and upgrades. Could possibly put loop detection in to make it better. May do something in the interim if SPN goes through and replacing things later.

6) Updates

a) Angier Construction Progress: BB reports that school was behind on electrical, but are back on schedule. Have made deadline for 3rd floor. On track for deadline for 2nd floor. Finalizing exterior shell of building in the coming month. After that all work will be interior and everything is still on track.

b) Add-A-Lane: SL reminds people that they can get reports on what’s happening via email. This week’s report notes that work will have to occur in travel lanes and roads will be restriped to handle this. BoA will be having a conversation with DoT on June 18th. Unclear whether it will include Rt. 9 and 128. If it does, suggest that some of us be there.

c) WAC Boundary Petition: On June 17th there will be a public hearing where they will hear our petition.

d) WAC Election Update: SL reports that she has been going back and forth with David Olson. Says he just heard back from the last of the area councils and will email tomorrow. Nomination papers will be available on Aug 5 and due on Sep 18. Sep 22 last day to withdraw and lottery for position. Nov 3 election day with possible early voting on October 27. Voting location is not known yet. DD how many positions are open? SL 9. BB reports that she is not running for reelection and thinks that Matt might not be either.

e) Friends of the Quinobequin: SL reports that DCR has installed one bridge already.

f) Tour de Newton: SL reports that they need greeters. Event is on June 21st.

g) St. Philip Neri: KW reports that site meeting occurred, a number of councilors and residents were there, as well as all 3 alderman, plus Katie Lacy from Mass Housing. Developer and attorney were there. People stood in parking lot and talked for a long time. One of the neighbors had put up a balloon that was 47 feet high where one of the townhomes would be. SL notes that at education forum that Brooke Lipsut (sp?) said that she can’t do anything with resident input once it gets to her, but Katie disagreed with that. Not sure where we are in that process. KW says that we have written the letter as the council as well as to confirm the understanding that Katie passed on. There is a plan for a design review next in the stage. Doesn’t know if there is any standing for residents to appeal a Mass Housing decision. RG says that Mass Housing is severely understaffed and doesn’t necessarily have the resources to do a good review. SL notes that 80 letters were submitted in comment on this, but deadline was extended and that is relatively normal process. RG was going to follow up with each of the Aldermen to find out if they sent in a letter. John Rice and Brian Yates were going to send note approving of WAC letter. Deb Crossley was going to send own letter. SL says that abutters have done sketches comparing buildings to adjacent houses. CP notes that those images are put on website. Says there has been a request to do that from the other side. RG encourage everybody here to write a letter and the deadline is tomorrow. KW says the email address is 1521BeaconStreet@newtonma.gov.

h) Waban Hardware Store: KW states that she received call from attorney representing company that bought hardware store. They want to reopen store and expand it by opening basement. They are the Neighborhood Hardware Group. The own a number of local hardware stores in the area. Website is www.pillhardware.com. RG do they have a good reputation? KW I don’t know. SL notes that MetroWest wrote about them and had nice things to say about them. KW says that because they are expanding into the basement, they are expanding their square footage and therefore need additional parking spaces, but they don’t have them and so are looking for an exemption. KW reads email from AD on the topic of parking. AD notes that the parking rules are based on the fallacy that all customers will drive. KW moves that she can say on behalf of the WAC that as a council we strongly support a family owned business buying Waban Hardware and reopening the business and that the committee do whatever they think is reasonable to ease their integration into Waban. SL seconds. Unanimously approved.

7) New Business: None

8) SL requests that we move next meeting from July 9th to July 16th. BB will notify Angier Construction team if no issues come up with date.

9) SL moves that we cancel our August meeting. CP seconds. Unanimously approved.

Next meeting will take place on July 16, 2015. Adjourn. 9:35 pm.

Respectfully submitted, Joe Corkery