The Stillwater City Council spent a large portion of its most recent meeting talking about the condition of the city’s streets. It’s a conversation that has been going on for a while and will continue.
The councilors ultimately asked Engineering Director Monty Karns to develop cost projections for an entire list of projects, then asked him to add an extension of the Kameoka Trail to that list.
Karns will return at a later date with those figures and some recommendations for the council to consider when choosing which projects to prioritize.
In April, Karns presented a proposed Pavement Management Plan with targeted projects designed to extend the life of certain streets. But the councilors only approved a portion of it. They also opted to wait for more public input before committing to a list of projects on the proposed capital improvement plan for roadways.
To get that public comment, in June the councilors held a transportation town hall meeting. City staff also conducted a survey through the FlashVote platform that addressed the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians and asked people how they would prioritize transportation funding.
Based on Monday’s discussion, congestion on Sangre Road near Sangre Ridge Elementary and Stillwater Middle School is a problem school and city officials are struggling to solve.
For many years, the City’s transportation master plan has called for widening Sangre Road to four lanes to accommodate cars traveling from the southwest to the public school sites, Meridian Technology Center and State Highway 51, but the current City Council has questioned whether four lanes are necessary.
Community member Chris Peters has advocated that the council first focus on developing less expensive infrastructure that makes it safer for students to bike and walk to school, and seeing if that helps to alleviate some of the congestion near the schools.
Some grant funding could be available for those projects.
Stillwater Public Schools Superintendent Marc Moore told the councilors that the district’s renovations of Sangre Ridge is adding a small amount of additional parking, but that won’t be enough to address congestion at drop-off and pick-up. The district’s plan for bus lanes will improve safety, but won’t do anything about congestion, he said.
Only about 90 Sangre Ridge students ride the bus, Moore said. About 200 students walk to school and the school sees about 300 parent drop-offs and pick-ups each day.
Students must live more than one mile from their school site to be offered bus service.
Stillwater Middle School, which is located directly to the north and serves students from across the city, transports about 450 students by bus and sees 350-360 drop-offs and pick-ups each day.
Only about 100 SMS students walk to school.
Addressing part of the Pavement Management Program, the council voted to award preventative maintenance contracts with Andale Construction Inc. for $340,000 and Vance Brothers, Inc. for $470,000.