The Jan. 19 Zoom meeting of Councilmembers was packed with information on priority items presented by City Manager Lorenzo Hines and a study session on the Carillion corridor revamp plans.
Both the public and the City Council rejected the two conceptual plans on the Carillion revamp when first introduced in 2018. The city was granted $600,000 from the California Energy Commission in 2017 to develop plans to reduce greenhouse emissions and promote safety along the Carillion corridor.
Alternative 1 presented to council in 2020 had 11 roundabouts and reduced lanes from four to just two. Alternative 2 called for traffic lights at each intersection. Both were rejected last November.
Craig Hoffman, community development director, reviewed both alternatives with Council and then presented three options for proceeding with the project.
Option 1 included certifying the environmental document and accepting the report without approving either of the alternatives.
“It is important to note that the city is not required to make improvements as part of the grant and planning efforts,” said Hoffman in his report. “Having a certified environmental document approved can help us move forward when we do identify something that needs to be done with one of the intersections.”
Option 2 directs staff to determine the feasibility of an option leaving Carillion Boulevard as four lanes, with reduced roundabouts and enhanced bike lanes. Lanes would be reduced one to one and half feet in width to widen bike lanes. Landscaping and the center median would not be modified. Narrowing lanes would be done by re-striping the roads without the need for additional construction work.
Hoffman said that studies show that reducing the width of lanes does calm and slow traffic.
The third option presented by Hoffman would wait on planned development and building projects to be completed before reviewing each intersection when needs arise. Each intersection would be reviewed on an as needed basis. Possible improvements could be flashing lights at pedestrian crossings or “design features that separate pedestrians from cars,” called crosswalk separators.
Hines said Option 3 offers the greatest amount of flexibility. All three options include approving the environmental document. Hoffman said changes most likely would be made many years in the future as the needs arise.
“The needs of the community and the design of the individual intersection would be analyzed as needed, then come back to the council for approval,” Hoffman said. “This is just a planning document of what could take place, stating there’s something more that we can do.”
Councilmembers Rich Lozano and Kevin Papineau said they weren’t in favor of leaving plans so open-ended. Papineau said the bike lanes were inadequate, partially in the gutter, and the complaints of excessive speed were factual.
Lozano said he believed Option 2 gave them the most flexibility.
“I don’t like the idea of waiting to see what happens with development and then decide what kind of road or intersection is needed for it,” Papineau said. “I favor the idea of having a master plan that would cover the ideas that cover both ends. Just go over to Raley’s parking lot where all the driveways go into one and see how it is on Saturday mornings, which is a nightmare.”
Councilmember Jay Vandenburg had questions for Hoffman on how speed limits could be lowered.
“Speed is definitely a problem,” Vandenburg said. “We need better enforcement, stop signs near the schools … roundabouts; yes; you do slow down, but you’re expecting to go through.”
Mayor Shawn Farmer said he agreed with Papineau and Lozano.
“I do think we should look at widening the bike lanes to make them safer,” Farmer said. “I think we need to be deliberate – I don’t think we should just look at it as it comes. We should focus on a few serious things, like the two most dangerous intersections to make it the safest we can make it for our children and our citizens. If we could make some tentative plans to do those things, it would make everyone happy.”
After the lengthy discussion, Hines said he believed staff has enough input from Council to come back at a future meeting with council’s concerns included in an option.
Hines had opened the meeting with a COVID-19 update and a list of priorities to be considered over the current year. He said the general fund deficit would be worked on; the Walker Park Master Plan would have an update; the Organic Diversion and Recycling law that will go into effect in January 2022 will need discussions with CalWaste going forward; the Walnut Interchange would also need to be discussed, and C Street improvements will also be on his agenda.
Galt Police Department has facility maintenance needs, including a new roof, outside painting, a generator and gate repair. The estimated cost for these maintenance issues is $520,000.
A proposed project called Caterina Estates is also a priority. The project would include 61 single-family units on 12.4 acres just south of the corner of Church and H streets, where Church turns into Joy Drive. The property sits on the west side of Joy. It will require an amendment to the general plan and is considered an infill lot close to Old Town.
Councilmember Vandenburg appointed Daniel Denier to the Planning Commission.
Public Works Director Michael Selling gave a presentation on new legislation requiring reductions in solid waste going to landfills. In 1989, the State Assembly passed AB939 requiring jurisdictions to divert 50% of their solid waste by 2000. In 2011, the Assembly passed an increase in that diversion from 50% to 75% by 2022.
In 2014, the Organics and Food Waste Recycling Act mandated recycling programs for businesses, public venues and multi-family complexes. In 2016, senate bill SB1483 passed, requiring 50% landfill diversion of organics by 2020 and increases organics landfill diversion to 75% by 2025.
Selling’s report said the city’s responsibilities include providing organic collection services to all residents and businesses, to conduct education and outreach to the community, to establish edible food recovery programs, to procure recyclable and recovered organic products and to monitor compliance/enforcement.
Selling’s report said the next steps would be to update the city solid waste ordinance, engage commercial organic generators to help CalWaste obtain compliance, monitor and report to CalRecycle on specifics of quantities, organics and recycling.