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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

MPO TO ADD MORE FAIRHOPE PROJECTS?

Fairhope, Al.

'TIP' PROGRAM

cc from left: Dorsey, Smith, McMillan, Calimetti, Hagood
The Eastern Shore MPO's policy board met this morning in Daphne to review the agenda being considered by its various subcommittees later this week: the board will reconvene next Wednesday to vote on the same package.

A 'Transportation Improvement Program' listing proposed projects is a MPO requirement:

"Each metropolitan planning organization (MPO) is required, under 49 U.S.C. 5303(j) , to develop a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)—a list of upcoming transportation projects—covering a period of at least four years. The TIP must be developed in cooperation with the State and public transit providers. The TIP should include capital and non-capital surface transportation projects, bicycle and pedestrian facilities and other transportation enhancements ... ."

Several new local projects being considered for their 4+ year visionary list are a sidewalk along Gayfer Rd. Ext. from Bishop Rd. to Meadowbrook Dr; and a left-turn lane on Hwy 104 for the new Catholic High School now under construction on Higbee Rd.

The proposed Gayfer sidewalk is outside of the city limits, so it would be a county-sponsored project; but the turning lane on Hwy 104 inexplicably lists the city as the sponsor, even though it lies well-outside of the city limits too. (The sponsor is usually the one who applies for the federal grant.)

A 20% local match of some kind is usually required for the associated federal matching grants.

Fairhope's new School Building Authority is overseeing the catholic school construction project: no public meetings have been announced yet, as far as we know. It is subject to state open meeting law requirements.

TIP plan
A resident  of the Meadowbrook neighborhood approached the county commission about the sidewalk. There was some discussion about whether the road qualified  as conscripted.

Precise funding sources were to be determined later; it was said probably no MPO funds would be involved.

(The county commission will be funding the paving Higbee Rd. from the intersection northward to the school and eventually out to Hwy 181, according to commissioner Tucker Dorsey.)


DOWNTOWN PARKING STUDY PROPOSED

Adding an item to the list for a study of downtown Fairhope's notorious parking problems was also discussed.

Fairhope Planner Johnathan Smith said the study will be done by Blue Zones Llc. -- led by the same Dan Burton who helped the city with its safer streets design program in 2012 (formerly complete 
streets).

"ugly" parking deck?
(Smith was substituting for councilman Burrell and mayor Kant who are policy board members but did not attend this meeting. Burrell asked him to substitute; the mayor told him too, smith said.)

A plan is already included  to locate another BRATS hub  near the parking structure's west side (off Church St.) -- with golf-cart shuttles to ferry people around town: Hopefully that would increase the usage of the structure, which often sits half-empty.

Burton is also expected to help find suitable locations for bike racks downtown;  and the city hopes to spruce up ("beautification efforts") the monolithic, concrete parking structure area itself while at it, with the help of local business owners along the alley.

 A Fairhope citizen observing agreed; he said it looked as bad as in "downtown Brooklyn, NY."

(Having local artist paint murals was suggested several years ago, but never materialized.)


OTHER MATTERS

Sarah Hart, MPO coordinator
* If the TIP plan is adopted next week, it will not be ADA 
   compliant (disability): the MPO and individual cities will still
   have to come up with a transition plan by July 2016  to
   inventory and eventually upgrade street-infrastructure to qualify
   for future federal grants. Each will have to appoint an ADA
   coordinator as well.

(Note: The long-awaited Fairhope Ave. paving project was delayed as public works crews installed required "curb cuts." It is expected to finally start later this month or early next.) 

* The adaptive traffic signal project for Hwys 98 and 90 is still
   scheduled for completion next year.

* Potential uses of aerial "drones" will be discussed by the CAC (Citizen's Advisory Committee):
   home package deliveries could reduce the need for more roads in the future? 

* How to present/explain the divergent diamond interchange to the public was discussed (Hwy. 181 at
   I-10). Some citizens have expressed confusion, much like with roundabouts which have proven
   not  to be a problem for drivers after installation ("a non-issue").

* New officers will be elected at the board's next meeting.


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Simple plan - fine all the people that work downtown and park downtown (not in the garage, etc). These are the worst offenders. Leave their cars parked all day.

Anonymous said...

So, they expect taxpayers to foot the bill for the new roads to a private school while public schools can not even afford to pave there drivways and parking lots? How did that happen?

Anonymous said...

only compact cars can fit in the garage.

Anonymous said...

It is really sad to see the things the politicans put our employees through some times. just not right.

Anonymous said...

Please, why is it called Higbee road on one side and Lawrence road on the other one?