City Council voted Tuesday to move forward with the crosswalk policy revisions that have been discussed at recent council meetings.
The votes authorizes staff to design and negotiate easements for new crosswalks at 1020-1046 Periwinkle Way, Tarpon Bay Road at Island Inn Road and Periwinkle Way at Casa Ybel Road.
The moving of the crosswalk from the east side of the intersection to the west side on Periwinkle at Casa Ybel drew the most discussion, as expected. It is the only crosswalk of the three locations that will not be completed until next spring. The other two can be completed before the fall season.
Cyclists cross Periwinkle Way to Jerry's Supermarket at the intersection of Casa Ybel Road. Following recommendations of staff and consultants, City Council wants to move the crosswalk from the east side of the intersection to the west side to increase safety for cyclists and pedestrians.
"We always go on safety first," said Public Works Director Keith Williams. "At this intersection, bikes and pedestrians don't have to be crossing the main ingress and egress driveway traffic by moving it to the west side of the intersection. Our four-day study indicated that few vehicles turn right onto Periwinkle exiting the property compared to westbound drivers on Periwinkle turning right into the drive and vehicles on Casa Ybel turning right onto eastbound Periwinkle."
The recommendation to move the crosswalk came from consultant Kittelson & Associates who carried out a study of all three locations, including vehicle count, bicyclist and pedestrian counts, vehicle speed analysis and field observation.
The cost of the project is estimated at $35,000 to be completed next spring.
"The right-of-way (acquisition) may dictate this project," said Mayor Kevin Ruane.
The crosswalk on Tarpon Bay Road at Island Inn Road will move forward toward completion this fall after council voted to authorize staff to proceed with design, drainage evaluation and easement negotiations.
A crosswalk will be added across Island Inn Road to service Lily & Company with a crosswalk across Tarpon Bay Road connecting it to Bailey's General Store parking lot. Again safety was a primary concern in the decision among four alternatives presented by the consultants. The cost of the project, including easement acquisition, is $15,000 to $25,000.
The new crosswalk from the bike path on Periwinkle to service Dairy Queen, Lazy Flamingo and Bennett's Fresh Roast, currently under development, is estimated to cost $30,000. The location of the crosswalk and bike path to serve the businesses is between the Dairy Queen and Lazy Flamingo driveways and extending all the way east to Bailey Road.
Business signage at Lazy Flamingo interferes with the city's recommended 10-foot wide path by a mere six inches. Council authorized Public Works to use field condition discretion whether to move the path six inches closer to the roadway or reduce the path by about a foot at that spot.
The cost of the project is estimated at $40,000 and would be completed utilizing the contractor that will be working in the area on the East Periwinkle project.
The money for those two crosswalks will come from surplus funds the city has from other projects that came in under budget.
In other business conducted at the Aug. 6 council meeting included moving forward with the distressed property ordinance.
"In the darkest time in the economic downturn the vast majority of Sanibel properties are well maintained, but we have had a few complaints," said City Manager Judie Zimomra. "This is a step in the right direction."
The second reading of the ordinance during a public hearing was passed by council 5-0 with no comment from the public.
Council passed an amended resolution authorizing the city manager to dispose of obsolete or surplus assets. The amendment donates a 2004 Ford F-150 truck "as is" to Community Housing & Resources (CHR), which was seeking to purchase a service truck for its maintenance person, who has been using his private vehicle. CHR recently allocated $6,000 toward the purchase of a suitable used vehicle.
The city's Ford F-150 is valued at $1,548 and needs repairs. Instead of spending its $6,000 allotment to purchase, CHR will pay for the vehicle repairs and put it into service for a sum much less than that, according to sources.
The city also approved the transfer of the contract for the East Periwinkle Shared Use Path Project from bid winner C.W. Roberts to Ajax Paving Industries of Florida, which recently purchased C.W. Roberts outright.
However, Ajax came into question for a project in Cape Coral "years ago," according to Mayor Kevin Ruane who directed city staff to research the company's background further before final approval is given.
"Several years ago they were the preferred contractor having done several projects with the city," said Williams. "This is simply a change in ownership."
"We will do our due diligence on Ajax references and if we find anything that gives us pause, council's motion includes that we can award the contract to the second-lowest bidder," said Zimomra.
Two other resolutions flew past council regarding the collection and disposal of solid waste. The rate for residential and commercial disposal both decrease slightly for Fiscal Year 2014. The new rate for residential curbside collection will be $270.34 for the year while backdoor collection decreases to $358.28. The annual decrease for both rates is about $2.
"This is the third year that we are billing through the tax bill instead of through the provider, and at a lower rate," said Zimomra.
The final item of importance addressed was the "Tot Lot" playground at the Sanibel Ball Fields. The play equipment has become a danger for the youngsters who use it while games or practices are going on. The city wants to replace the equipment at a cost of $12,000.
The Sanibel School owns the property with the city and Lee County involved through an interlocal agreement of one-third each.
"Sanibel School had no problem coming to us when they wanted a new playground under the interlocal," said Ruane. "Now they don't want to participate in this project? We will proceed with the project and find a way to fund it, whether it is through the school or private donations in some way."