OXFORD — On Tuesday, June 6, the Oxford City Council voted to repeal Resolution 5068 and vote fresh on authorizing Miami University to implement road and traffic control improvements in the vicinity of Patterson Ave., Spring St., and Maple S,t. based on a Baker Traffic Engineering and Campus Circulation Study.
Due to absent council members, the repeal of the resolution failed to pass council with a majority.
The resolution, which was approved in May, approved various recommendations from the Miami University commissioned Baker Traffic Engineering and Campus Circulation Study. City council removed the recommended installation of a three way stop at the corner of Spring St. and Maple St., but passed the overall recommendation with that one modification.
The resolution to repeal the existing resolution was considered for two reasons:
•Several city council members asked staff if the item could be reconsidered.
•Representatives from Miami University were not present at the time the item was discussed and voted upon. For the sake of fairness, the owner of the study should have the opportunity to address the item, according to officials.
“The other thing I want to point out,” Economic Development Director Alan Kyger said. “This is not being done with pressure from the staff that you should vote for this. We felt like having more discussion would be good at this moment. With this resolution before you, you can deny it completely, you can modify it just like you did last time, or you can pass it. In other words, everything is on the table, we are starting fresh.”
By adopting this new resolution, council automatically repeals the old one.
Service Director Mike Dreisbach said, “Tonight’s item is like many discussions we’ve had the past few years — a way to balance the safety and convenience of vehicles versus bicycles versus pedestrians. We’ve had a lot of talk about impacts to parking and how we can make biking in town safer. This item is about making pedestrians have a safer path to cross.”
Associate VP of Facilities Planning and Operations Cody Powell and Director of Planning, Architecture, and Engineering John Seibert took the podium to share information regarding the study Miami University commissioned. There were several traffic recommendations that they were given that they shared with the council:
•One-way conversion of Oak St. and Maple St. is not recommended.
•Three-way stop control at the intersection of E. Spring St. and Maple St. is recommended.
•The removal of vehicle access and parking on the Shriver Circle is recommended.
Baker Engineering also recommended the following for pedestrian safety improvements:
•Raised median crosswalk treatment on S. Patterson Ave. and E. High St.
•Realigning the intersection of Western Drive North at S. Patterson Ave. approximately 100 feet to the south of its current location.
•Three-way stop control at the intersection of E. Spring St. and Maple St.
An Oxford Township resident spoke regarding the prohibition of a left turn from south bound Patterson Ave. onto Western Dr. This prohibition was put into place and the resident’s complaint was that now families who had children in Mini University (the Miami University daycare center) on Western Drive have to drive out of the way to access the center. He added, the new path has little pedestrian improvements and will increase the amount of conflict between vehicles and pedestrians.
Mayor Kate Rousmaniere urged Powell and Seibert to get the left turn back, because Mini University is an asset to the university.
Another resident spoke regarding the proposed stop sign on Spring and Maple Streets. He argued the stop sign would make pedestrian crossing worse. He argued that if council is convinced there needs to be more traffic control at the intersection, then they should put a stop sign in temporarily with the commitment to exchange it for a light in the future. He added that the study was “skewed to pedestrian.”
During council discussion, Service Director Mike Dreisbach said that he does not support the stop sign going in on a trial basis, as the survey suggested. He argued that students will get used to the stop sign and if they remove it, there will be accidents.
Council member Kevin McKeehan asked why it was proposed to go in on a trial basis. According to Seibert, they just wanted to test it and see if it would work. Powell added, he recognizes the concerns from residents and the trial basis was meant to be a compromise.
Council member Glenn Ellerbe suggested installing traffic lights, because they can be programmed different ways.
“The data says a stop sign will work, so I’m ready to go with this proposal, but if someone would like to make an amendment they can,” Mayor Rousmaniere said.
The council held a vote with the five council members present and the vote was in favor three to two. However, the resolution failed because it required a yes vote of four to have the majority of council. The majority of the seven members of council had to approve the resolution, even though only five members were present.
Rousmaniere asked for clarification, asking if it should be the majority of people present. Then she asked if it would mean the vote did not happen.
After checking the rules, it was declared that the rules of council declare a resolution requires the majority of those present to adopt it. A three vote, out of the five present, would mean that the resolution to accept the traffic study, and the changes it would suggest, passed.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH