2/19/19 – Transportation Commission Meeting Highlights

Present were: Carrie O’Malley (Wagner),Christine Knowland (Kuo), Ken Montgomery (Fox), Steve Greenberg (Shea), and Rose Casey (temporarily Khan).

Vista Verde School traffic safety enhancements are planned

Staff report by Tran Tran: There will be High Visibility crosswalks, more school traffic signs and 2 lanes inbound into the school property to improve traffic during drop off and pick up times.  Different grades have staggered class start and ending times to allow staggered drop off and pick up times. There will be a pilot program for restrictions on left hand turns onto school property. There is bus service from the more distant sections of the city. O’Malley asked for staff to study the possibility of having bus service to closer areas of the city.

Bike and pedestrian trail connections to the Great Park will be improved

Staff report regarding proposed improvements by Melissa Dugan: Marine Way will be realigned to have 4-way intersections with crosswalks to make it safer for bikes and pedestrians to cross streets.  Cypress Trail will be lengthened to reach a safer intersection which will have added striping at Sand Canyon. Freeway Ramp intersections will have crosswalks and there will be increased green signal time to allow pedestrians enough time to safely cross the street.  It is predicted that this will have significant impact on traffic. Montgomery asked if there could be camera monitoring at the trail intersections and staff stated that the visibility is too poor for cameras due to landscaping.  Montgomery also said that Sand Canyon is a high stress route for street bikers due to the heavy cut outs for right-hand turn lanes.  Staff stated that there is no way to allow for “low stress” bike lanes on Sand Canyon.

Irvine is researching bringing Shared Active Transportation bike and scooter service to the City similar to the programs in Santa Monica, Santa Ana and San Diego

Staff report by Mike Davis: There are different types of active transportation bike and scooter systems. There is the single station system where the vehicles leave and return from one station.  There is the multiple dock point to point system which has the drawback of having redistribution issues. There is also the dockless system that uses phone GPS to locate vehicles which can be left anywhere, but has problems with distribution and vehicle maintenance.  California Vehicle code requires that all drivers have a vehicle license or a learner’s permit, and all users must wear a helmet.  Also, maximum speed for the vehicles is 15 mph. One of the problems noted with the shared vehicle transportation systems is that the vehicles often use sidewalks due to the high-speed traffic on the roads.  Also there is an increased need for police officer time for monitoring and enforcing code requirements. There also has been a problem with accidents between shared vehicles and pedestrians and/or automobiles.  Staff report recommended a one-year moratorium on implementing the program to give the staff time to study the programs that are in existence in other cities.

Public Comments: Commenter asked for public forums to determine the potential users of the shared vehicle programs and the level of usage and potential destinations for the vehicles. Commenters stated that shared vehicles are being used on college campuses and the programs are doing well.  Commenters stated that Irvine should implement a shared vehicle system ASAP. Commenter stated that he had used a shared vehicle in Santa Monica and noted that no one was wearing helmets, vehicles were not being returned to locations, and the police were not enforcing the required code sections. Commenter said that there have been injuries related to usage of shared vehicles, but there is no mechanism to track the injuries.  Commenter stated that he wanted a permanent moratorium on implementing a shared vehicle system in Irvine.

Greenberg stated that he is concerned about injuries and quality control, but he is against a moratorium. He stated that he wants to try a shared vehicle system in a confined area such as the Great Park.

Montgomery asked if the shared vehicles will be allowed on Class 1 Bike areas (trails for bikes and pedestrians).

Staff said that they would research the issue and bring back their recommendation.

Montgomery said that he wants the issue studied before implementing the program but does not want a specified time limit for the studies.

Knowland stated that she wants more research as she is concerned about safety issues.

O’Malley asked if there were turn signals and tail lights.  Shared vehicle business owner said that the shared vehicles have tail lights but no turn signals.  O’Malley said that she would support 3 to 6 months for the study. She said that she is concerned about safety, oversight, vehicles not being dropped off in the right places, and the use of police officer times for overseeing regulations. O’Malley said that Massachusetts laws require turn signals on scooters.

Montgomery wants cost reimbursement by the businesses for the added costs to the city from the shared vehicle systems.

Motion for staff to research shared vehicle programs, and having a pilot program located within a confined area such as the Great Park,  and report back to the commission in 120 days.  Motion passed 5-0.

Irvine to purchase 12 large 32-foot iShuttle Buses

Staff report by Mike Davis: Current 17 buses are from 7 to 10 years old with a 10-year estimated life span.  The current vehicles do not allow standing riders, and they are not wheelchair accessible.  The new busses will allow standees and will be wheelchair accessible.  The new buses will be paid for by proposition 116 funds and proposition 116 savings and also by IBC mitigation fees.

O’Malley stated that there are 2 new iShuttle routes (IBC and Irvine Station to Los Olivos).

O’Malley moved to approve the purchase of the new busses.  Motion passed 5-0.