Street Committee Meeting
August 13, 2019 – 12:30 p.m.
The meeting was called to order at 12:30 p.m.
Present were Arnold Knox, Director of Streets; Don Webb, Jim Whalen and Jim Bodenhamer, Committee members.
The first order of business brought forward Mr. Gary Zander, a resident of Baxter Avenue. He explained to the Committee his concerns of the constant speeding cars going back and forth on Baxter Avenue ever since the traffic light was installed at Arkansas Avenue. He explained, the drivers, a lot during the shift change at the Lab, want to avoid the traffic light at 201 North and Arkansas Avenue, so they use Baxter and Conway as their alternate roads to get to 5 North. There are so many young families moving into Northern Hills now, there are no sidewalks, and a lot of the time there are children playing in the street, and these drivers are not making themselves aware of it. He asked the Committee if there was a chance of installing a stop sign at the intersection of Carroll Street and Baxter Avenue, since it is the halfway point between 201 North and Conway. The Committee discussed their concerns about the traffic, and Arnie told Mr. Zander he has met with the Police Chief already. Jim W. explained to him that this would be a matter for the Public Safety Committee, and a patrol car could sit out there to monitor the traffic. Mr. Zander said he had called to request a patrol car, and saw one out there one time, behind a bush. He added, if they come at the wrong time, they’re not going to catch too many people. He said he even suggested to Arnie, putting in removable speed bumps to deter speeders. He also said drivers won’t pay attention to ‘children playing’ signs when they are late for work. Jim W also suggested putting the speed indicator trailer out there to show the drivers of how fast they are traveling. He reiterated he is just there for the kids’ safety, it really concerns him. Arnie told him they have already been addressing the situation and placed traffic counters on Baxter Avenue. He reported, for the week of July 22 through July 29, there were 3,754 cars that traveled Baxter Avenue, and 95% of those were driving 37 mph or less. He did say there was one day, one car that had traveled between 55 and 60 mph. Jim B asked what the speed limit was on Baxter Avenue, Arnie said it was 25 mph. Arnie added, throughout that whole week, there were 110 cars that went over 35 mph. The Committee discussed Federal Regulations for speed limits and enforcement in the City. Arnie reported the City passed an ordinance in 1989, that all unposted streets throughout the City of Mountain Home are set at a 25mph limit. He added, the Street Department does not post 25 mph signs because it would end up costing the City between $60,000 and $80,000 a year. Don told Mr. Zander he felt his pain because he lives on Pine Tree Lane and the school traffic does not even stop at the signs in front of his house. He added, when school lets out for the day, it’s like a drag race out there. Jim W said this could be brought up at the Public Safety Committee meeting; Jim B asked Arnie, what if a stop sign was put up at Carroll, would that set a precedent? Arnie said he gets requests about 6 to 7 times a year, and said he always goes back to the Federal Regulations, which are, 4,000 cars within 8 hours, and this situation would not come close, and unsafe intersections, where there are numerous accidents and traffic is stopped. He said he wasn’t aware of any accidents recorded on Baxter. He added, this situation is all over town. As far as ‘children at play’ signs, they are only put up at licensed daycares and schools. Jim W asked Arnie if he has shared the traffic count information with Carry and Arnie told the Committee, yes, Carry has all the printouts and information to get his enforcement out there at a good time. Mr. Zander once again stressed his concern for the children in the area. Jim W and Jim B both told Mr. Zander they were on the Public Safety Committee and they would bring this up. They suggested maybe he could speak with his neighbors and they all could attend the next Public Safety Committee meeting, which will be held next Tuesday, August 20 at 5:00 p.m.
The Street Report for July 2019 was reviewed. Arnie reported Western Hills Way was going well and about half the road has already been dug out and based in from the Western Hills Loop to the bottom at the creek. All the culvert for the project has been installed and at this time, the curbs are going in on the north side of the street and when that side is done, they will go to the south side with curb installation. The Maintenance crew that has been digging out at Western Hills Way will move over to Long Street behind the hospital to start digging out. The total cost to date for Western Hills Way is at $99,054.29.
The next rebuild project, Long Street behind the hospital, is going well. The cost to date for this project is mainly the large drainage that has been installed and has a total of $44,393.68. Jim B asked when he expected this project to finish up, Arnie is hoping by the end of December, but may be spring 2020. He added, the further along on Long Street, he said he will be getting Burnett Drive prepared for the expansion to three lanes. There were some power pole issues, but that is being worked out. The crew on Long Street will then move over to Burnett when completed.
The Maintenance crew was busy in July. They made a big repair at Katherine at Partipilo in Carlile Highlands, mowing right of ways, tree trimming, and working with the construction crews at the rebuild projects. There were a few trees on 8th Street at Shiras that were taken down at the curb line. Weed trimming and spraying has been going well, with one of the Street Department guys working with a few community service people throughout the month.
The current Budget was reviewed. Arnie reported the backhoes have been purchased but the amount did not reflect on this budget because they were received after August 1. Everything else is running well, and he expects a $1.3 to $1.4 million carryover. If the asphalt contractor cannot complete the overlays, that money will be added to the carryover.
There was discussion about traffic control. Arnie and the Committee discussed a new monitoring box being purchased for the light at 5 North and 62b is approximately $4,000. He told the Committee he would like to add about $100,000 to this line item for next years’ budget. He continued, he wants to be able to monitor the light from his phone, to see activity and any problems, if any were to come up. If this will work, his plan would be to change all the traffic lights throughout the City to this type of system.
There was a discussion regarding the agenda received for the next City Council meeting to be held Thursday, August 15.
The meeting adjourned at 1:15 p.m.