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City Council Meeting - Wednesday, January 10, 2024 7:30PM

Greetings Ward 1 Community,

I hope you either enjoyed today’s snow or were able to avoid it. I am feeling much better but still experiencing that well known COVID brain fog. I have a little more for you than usual. Skip below to City Council Meeting Agenda, if that is all you have time for.


“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Best,

Shana Fulcher


Snow Removal: I received a couple of emails Monday morning regarding the snow storm and Public Works taking care of our City’s streets. This snow storm surprised me and apparently caught our city a little off guard as well. As soon as the Takoma Park Police Department made Director Braithwaite aware of our slippery streets, she started to get our PW Department into action. That was around 8am Monday morning. 


According to Director Braithwaite, ”For most events, with less than 6 inch of snow, we can get to all city roads within a 12 hour shift, when all 6 of our trucks are dispatched. We have the city divided into 5 response zones. Each zone has priority streets which includes those with steeper slopes and those that are connecting streets. The lower priority streets which are treated later are alleys, dead ends, and cul-de-sacs.”


This seems reasonable but it does mean that it takes time for our streets to be cleared. Significant snow, such as this weekend’s, means that we all should expect that we need to slow down. 


Pleasant Pedestrianism: On this week’s agenda, we will talk about revising Traffic Calming Devices and Sidewalk policies. I am excited about this because I think our city should be leading in walkability and bike friendliness, but we need our implementation policies to be equitable in order to do this work. Also this Thursday January 18th at 7pm in the Community Center, HCD is hosting the Maple Avenue Connectivity Project Community Workshop. There will be a presentation and group discussion about ways to make Maple Avenue safer and more comfortable for pedestrians, bike riders, and bus riders.


Minor Master Plan Amendment: On Thursday January 25th at 7pm at Takoma Park Middle School, the County Council Public Hearing - Minor Master Plan Amendment will take place. Residents who wish to testify at the public hearing in person or on Zoom must sign up by Jan. 24 at 5 p.m. on the Council’s website or by calling 240-777-7803.


Recreation Center Sculpture: HCD released a Call for Artists seeking proposals for an installation outside the Takoma Park Recreation Center. The sculpture should reflect a theme of 'welcome' or 'crossroads.' The Call will close on 3/3/2024 and can be found on the City website.


Montgomery College Project Update Forum: On Tuesday January 30th at 6pm, a virtual update on the status of the Leggett Math and Science Building and the Library/Resource Center Renovation projects and give an overview of upcoming phases. Please register here.



City Council Meeting Agenda - Wednesday, January 17, 2023


Voting Session 


I will vote in support of this agenda item. Please see my post last week about this item.


2. Resolution Approving an Employment Agreement Between the City of Takoma Park and the City Manager


I would like to go further into this item, which I am in favor of, but I am not sure that we have reached a hiring agreement with our City Manager. 


The interviewing process was actually quite lovely. We had many good candidates to choose from and I am excited for us to have our city on more solid ground. 


WORK SESSION

I appreciate the staff’s hard work that went into these recommendations. My color coded chart below coordinates with what staff used in their chart if you follow the link above . I have sent my questions/comments/concerns below to staff already.


Policy Structure

My preference

Explanation/questions


Proposed TC/SW 

Can these processes (TC/SW) all be the same? Can they be accessed in the same place through the TakomaParkMD.Gov website for resident ease?

Initiation

Proposed TC/SW Alternative #2 Initiation-Resident request; or City staff request; or CC request

I think residents should be included in those able to start the request. What benefits were considered to not permit residents to initiate the request?

Evaluation

2. City staff evaluation A project prioritization based on DDOT TSI 2.0 for traffic calming and Toole Design prioritization tool for sidewalks would guide staff on whether or not a project advances further and/or how highly it is prioritized. See "Prioritization Alternatives' tab for full breakdown.

It’s unclear to me; are you using information already gathered through DDOT TSI 2.0 for your evaluation or are you using their rubric for staff evaluation? How easy is it to use and get this data? Is the Toole Design prioritization tool something we already have access to? Is it simple to use? 


How will you incorporate our sidewalks map in evaluation? Would it be simple to include the history of traffic violations from TPPD  in the evaluation? Is there Safe Streets to School Data to include? Were the “Criteria for Evaluating Sidewalks” as recommended by the Complete Safe Streets Committee considered?  


I would appreciate a clear rubric that would be publicly shared on the evaluation process, that will allow for a transparent and equitable process. I also prefer a process that does not frequently require traffic studies for simple projects as this will drain funds and be inefficient in implementation. 

Consultation

3. Community meeting (discussion of options)

4. Annually publish the queue in advance of budgeting season; whether via Newsletter, public meeting, public hearing, or other

InRe 3: I know that the residents appreciate having input into the process.

InRe 4: I think that residents would appreciate understanding how we are planning to improve our streets and how we are going to spend revenue.

Approval 

(New Process)

5. Project approved for implementation via City Council budget vote

Have you considered the Project Evaluation Scorecard created for Public Space Management projects for evaluation criteria? It would be helpful to include a similar scorecard when bringing projects to a vote. 

Design/

Confirmation

6. Proposed design developed


7. Community meeting (present proposed design for review)


8. Design finalized

InRe 6: How often are we able to create a “proposed design” in house? Are we spending enough money that we should consider hiring someone for design?



Implementation

9. Project added to work queue

What will be the process for eliminating/denying requests? How long will residents need to wait before submitting a request for the same/similar project? 


Last Questions: Can bicycle lanes be included in Traffic Calming devices? Are sidewalks already included as a Traffic Calming device since they inflict a “road diet?”


Recommendations of the Complete Safe Streets Committee to the City Council: How To Prioritize Traffic Calming And Sidewalk Installations


My thoughts on how the Project Evaluation Scorecard relates to TC/SW:


Public Space Management Plan: Project Evaluation Scorecard

  • Safety (addressing areas where pedestrian safety is a concern)

  • Equity (adding sidewalks to underserved areas)

  • Sustainability (bike lanes and addition of SW management/greenspace, tree coverage for pedestrian comfort and canopy)

  • Implementation Feasibility

  • Placemaking (might the building of a seating spot as part of a road diet create outdoor space?) 

  • Connectivity (does this sidewalk/bike lane better connect our community?) 

  • Identified Needs 

  • Economic/Fiscal Impact 


We had a lot of applications from Ward 1, so thank you very much for applying. We continue to struggle with getting applications from Wards 3, 4, 5, and 6, so if you have a friend in those areas please give them a gentle nudge to serve our city.

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