Thanks to Mr. Don Anders for the two photos during the speech. Speech is first one up at the video at this page. The speech format is to time the speech to the 20 second slides. What a blast to learn a new speech format!
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Photos from October 02, 2013. I was unable to speak due to the change of city council date but caught the vote right as it was being rendered. One of the happiest evenings ever in 78666. Props to the Dias for making the right decision.
Mr. Bill Taylor
Mr. Rodney van Oudekerke
MEDIA ADVISORY – Community Rounds Up Support to Stop Hunter Roundabout: Neighbors Stand Together Against City of San Marcos Staff
This Tuesday night September 03, 2013 residents from San Marcos will hold a protest rally out front of City Hall at 5:00 PM. Community members have spoken out against the roundabout as recently as last Monday night August 26, 2013 with a straw poll counted by San Marcos City Hall staff 72 against the roundabout with 4 in favor. A petition against the two roundabouts on Cheatham was submitted last year by citizens and was ignored by San Marcos city staff. Initial community meetings about the Hunter Project did not mention the roundabout. The City Council packet meeting initially did not include the designs for roundabout when originally proposed to the City Council. Citizens have been e-mailing and meeting with elected city officials. Now a petition drive will begin this Tuesday at City Hall for residents to voice in another format their opposition to the roundabout.
First concern is lack of communication, recently exemplified by that the most recent meeting on Monday August 26, 2013 residents were not allowed to speak on public record and microphones were not provided creating difficulty hearing the speakers. The city manager Jim Nuse ordered a five-minute break before resuming the meeting but meeting was ended by city staff minutes later without a stated reason, thereby, not affording community members an opportunity to state their concerns for the record. The meeting format agreed upon by residents and city staff was not followed by the City Manager. Residents have continued to e-mail their elected officials enumerating their concerns. Due to the August 26, 2013 meeting’s outcome, dialogue between the City Council and community members has been initiated and at this juncture, certain city council members are considering reevaluating the project now that more information has come to light, not previously provided by City of San Marcos staff to Council.
Residents also have concerns that the City of San Marcos is pressuring a local family to sell a portion of their property to accommodate the roundabout. All the while the Planning & Zoning board constantly makes favorable changes in city zoning codes for out of town developers. San Marcos citizens are also mortified that historical trees will be cut down in the process to make way for the proposed roundabout. There also exist safety issues for cyclists and pedestrians as well as emergency vehicles raised by local residents. Research which purports roundabouts are safe is written by Roundabout Committee of the Traffic Engineering Council of which Gary W. Schatz, City of Austin, Austin, TX is Executive Committee Chair. The organization disseminates pro literature for roundabouts here in San Marcos and throughout Central Texas. Community members are also concerned that the proposed roundabout and the two existing roundabouts violate American’s with Disabilities Act.
Recent Letters to the editor
Roundabouts are not the answer
Submitted by admin on Thu, 08/22/2013 – 5:00pm
Last year, the city of San Marcos’ response to a petition in August 2012 from residents who adamantly refused the Cheatham Street roundabout was to build it anyway. I have not seen any accommodations for those covered by the American’s with Disabilities Act due to the dangers posed by roundabouts. These ADA concerns have been raised with city planners, engineers, and the City Manger Jim Nuse. The only response I’ve received from COSM is that “we as city staff go through ADA training.” That is not a proactive accommodation implemented to protect residents and visitors here to San Marcos from being forced to endure difficulties posed by these roundabouts. This time around Dixon, Hunter, San Antonio are slated for a roundabout. After months of private attempts to resolve the matter we take this issue to the public. Please attend the open house neighborhood meeting concerning the Texas Department of Public Safety Hunter Road project on Monday, Aug. 26th at 6 p.m. at the VFW Post 3413, 1701 Hunter Road. There will also be a protest rally at City Hall prior to the City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 5 p.m.
First, roundabouts are more expensive to the taxpayer. TxDOT representative Victor Vargas told elected officials (Hays Free Press) in Kyle “a roundabout is expected to cost about $350,000, compared to a traffic light that runs about $250,000.”
Second, historically significant trees will be cut down. The number of trees slated to head to the roundabout gallows in the name of “smart growth” and “progress” has been a moving target. Many life long members of our community find it appalling that the city is forcing the issue of a roundabout in this location as a traffic calming device to “signal to the driver that he/she is entering into a residential neighborhood” while in the same process cutting down historic trees. The citizens of San Marcos overwhelmingly voted against eminent domain for Cape’s Camp. How is this any different?Since the area is also in the FEMA flood plain the travesty is exponentially compounded. This is not about neighborhood integrity, but rather about obtaining grant money via taxpayer dollars and avoiding environmental impact studies. At the May 11, 2012 city council workshop Wayne Becak stated, “I drive that route every day at least once sometimes twice and it seems like having a turning lane will solve most of those problems based on the cost of acquiring right-away, closing one street then going to the cost of putting in another street. So that’s something we’re going to have to look at.” Linda Huff fired back “When we received Proposition 12 money, six million dollars, one of the ties with that money is that we have to get this thing bid by August 2013. However, once we start adding more right-away, it increases the time once we have to do a lot of environmental (studies).”
Third, San Marcos residents do not want these roundabouts. Last July, the San Marcos Daily Record website asked residents if they believed if roundabouts are “good fit” for San Marcos, with 317 citizens voting “no” to 174 who voted “yes.” More importantly, those who are stakeholders do not want this roundabout. This includes property owners and neighbors that live right around the roundabout. All the city of San Marcos can do is keep fetching Austin roundabout “expert” Mr. Gary Schatz, who has been making his way around Hays County with his prefabricated PowerPoint’s and fast talking presentations. Folks there is trouble spelled with a capital T, right here in river city!
Fourth, pedestrians and cyclists all over Europe find roundabouts less safe. According to the Department of Transport, in the UK, “Ten percent of all reported accidents involving pedal cycles occur at roundabouts. Of that proportion, 11 percent involve fatal or serious injury to a cyclist. Cyclists feel especially vulnerable at large and busy roundabouts, often choosing a route to avoid such junctions or traveling by a different mode for particular journeys.” They also note that, “pedal cycle accident rates at roundabouts are 14 times those for cars.” These roundabouts are not what the citizens of San Marcos envisioned when requesting “bike lanes” so buyer beware of snappy press releases which enumerate “bike lanes” when they are attached to roundabouts. Please keep in mind cyclist/blogger Andrew Priest’s analysis “At a one-lane roundabout, this creates an environment with 24 conflict points, but approaching drivers expect just 4.” For drivers, cyclists and pedestrians roundabouts are a dangerous prospect. Bernard Guichet, a traffic engineer with more than 30 years of experience working in safety for the French Ministry of Transportation, documented 20,000 personal injuries from roundabouts in 14 years. And, these hazards are exponentially multiplied for residents covered under the American’s with Disabilities Act.
Finally, roundabouts have serious ADA problems. The Institute for Transportation Research and Education at North Carolina State University outlines elevated levels of background noise generated by other movements at the intersection, curved vehicle trajectories that make it difficult to discern traffic patterns, lack of reliably auditory cues that can be used to identify crossing opportunities, mixed-priority crossing challenges where pedestrians can cross either in a large gap between vehicles or in front of a stopped (yielding vehicle), unreliable driver behavior where only some proportion of traffic yields to pedestrians and inconsistent use of way finding cues that can help the pedestrian to find the intended crossing location.
Sincerely, Lisa Marie Coppoletta, San Marcos
UPDATE from meeting with City of San Marcos from this am with city planners, engineers, city manager, family/small business steakholders. community organizers.
We have good news. The citizens of San Marcos will be getting a public meeting in August regarding the roundabout on Hopkins/Dixon/San Antonio. In the mean time, please call or e-mail your officials to “recommend issuing change of order for project.” This means we do not want them to bid out this roundabout and we want it changed for a bid for a signaled intersection.
Tell them you want the original plan, not the roundabout which can (a) deleteriously impact a private owner’s property not to mention their small business (b) has ADA issues (c) is dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists (d) will result in historically significant trees being cut down. Please do this ASAP. Mayor_Council_Info@sanmarcostx
Heck, tell them this is not Austin if you’d like. And, that we don’t need Austin planners telling us our business. Or, that Columbus Texas builds around its trees, preserving the character of it’s town.
Thank you to our Mayor for IMMEDIATELY responding to concerns last Friday. Thank you to COSM staff for agreeing to schedule a public meeting for august as well as the sit down today at City Hall in conference room.
Another piece of good news is the number of trees to be cut down is a moving target. First it was a very significant number, now a smaller number. Let’s work together to keep the pressure on and save every last one.