7/17/18 Irvine Transportation Commission Meeting Notes

7/17/18 Transportation Commission Notes of Interest

Attendance: 4 commissioners were present and one( Sandy Moody (Schott appointee) was absent.

Agenda Item 1: Approval of last meetings minutes

Agenda Item 2: Irvine Train Station Elevators

Staff Report: Irvine Train Station has 2 elevators that go up to the overpass walkway that crosses between the passenger platforms on either side of the train tracks. The elevators have periods where they are out of commission, sometimes for more than a week. When passengers are unable to use the stairs they need a means to cross over the tracks. In the past an “at grade” crossing was arranged to help people cross over, but the California Rail Authority, which owns the tracks, and OCTA which have liability, have forbidden the “at grade” crossings.

Remedial actions taken have been : Out of order announcements and notices are made on the trains, notices are posted on the elevators, and on the train website, and a Taxi Service, provided by the City of Irvine which transports passengers in a long circuitous and time consuming route at the rate of $15 per trip amounting to approximately $12,000 a week when the elevators are out of commission. A problem arises when passengers have to catch another train and there is insufficient time between trains.
Options for remediation are: build a second set of elevators at the cost of $2.8 million or construct a pedestrian underpass at $8-10 million.

Commissioner comments:

Ken Montgomery (Fox appointee): Ken asked for a challenge to the ruling against “at grade” crossing.

Rose Casey (Lalloway appointee): Rose asked if there was a source of funding for remedial action and the presenter stated he did not know.

Carrie O’Malley (Wagner appointee): Carrie requested that the city ask about grant applications to cover ADA component of the remedial action.

Action taken: The report was approved.

Agenda Item 3: Traffic Impact Analysis related to the conditional use permit for the Shir Ha-MA’A Lot private school project located on Michelson between Culver and around Harvard in the Rancho San Joaquin Village.

The Staff Report of the traffic analysis was very hard for me to hear and understand, largely due to the soft voice and heavy accent of the speaker. The construction of the building has been completed and the applicant wants to obtain permission to use it as a K-12 school which will have staggered arrival and pick up times for the different groups (K, Grammar School, and Jr. High and High School. The reporter stated that there would be 225 students and mentioned 555 daily trips. I suspect that the daily trips include those related to the school, and trips related to use of the connected Synagogue. The school is to have 113 parking spaces. Parents will be allowed to drop off and pick up children but not allowed to park their cars. No students would be allowed to bring cars to school. No Ques will be allowed on Michelson. One lane will enter the school grounds and one would leave the school grounds to merge into traffic.

The report further stated that the conditions for approval of the conditional use permit call for periodic subsequent traffic studies, and if it is found that the school use causes adverse impact on traffic, the applicant will be required to provide needed remediation.

Public comment: Rancho San Joaquin residents are opposed to the property being used as a school. Complaints were based on already existing traffic congestion in the area and thus the belief that the traffic study is not a valid representation of the impact that the school would have on the traffic flow.

Commissioner comments:

Carrie O’Malley (Wagner appointee): Carrie stated that she is concerned about congested traffic flow during student drop off and pick up times. The applicant stated that there are plans for traffic monitors to direct traffic and if parents had to wait for their children, they would have to park in back of the school. Carrie asked not to have to wait for future studies to remediate traffic issues and asked for and amendment to the conditional use permit that would require 2 lanes entering and leaving the complex.

Another Commissioner ( May have been Ken Montgomery (Fox appointee): Commissioner voiced concern that the number of students could increase. The applicant stated that the school lease agreement is that the capacity limit to the school is 225 students.

Steve Greenberg (Shea appointee): Steve asked if there were going to be any after school activities such as sports. The applicant reported that there will be no after school activities and school teachers and staff will have to vacate school within 30 minutes after school day ends.

Action taken: Traffic studies for conditional use permit approved on condition that 2 lanes are created for inflow and outflow of school traffic.

Agenda item 4: Traffic Impact analysis for 2 Osborn Medical Office in Woodbridge (Sterling Dental Plaza) which requires a general plan amendment:

Staff report stated that the existing 16,015 square foot single story medical office building would be replaced with a 46,800 square foot 2 story building constructed over a parking lot which will serve as a medical office building. The traffic study that the office building would create 87 AM trips and 147 PM trips and have an average of 1112 average daily trips. The report further stated that it would not have traffic impacts nor would it impact pedestrian or bicycle traffic.

Public Comments (many, many public comments): Woodbridge Village Association said that the general plan amendment and property use is not consistent with Woodbridge Village plans, Administrator of Mardan School (located on Osborn) opposed the project as it would create much more traffic on the street and pose a risk to students. Many Woodbridge residents opposed the project as it would adversely affect the use and enjoyment of their property. There were no comments in support of the project. Many people commented on how ridiculous the traffic impact statement was as the current traffic is already intolerable. People also complained that as medical appointments were short, the building was large enough to have many medical offices, so the medical offices would likely create many more trips than the traffic impact report states will be created by the project.

Commissioner statements:

Rose Casey (Lalloway appointee: Rose asked Applicant what the planned use of the building is. The response was that the building would house mostly medical offices, but maybe labs as well. Rose reported that there are medical arts buildings on Alton near Sand Canyon and on Sand Canyon which is a more appropriate location for large medical arts buildings.

Ken Montgomery (Fox appointee): Ken said that there is no shortage of medical offices in Irvine, so there is no need to increase the size of the building for more medical offices. The Developer applicant said that the residents of Irvine are aging and are going to need more medical offices. Ken stated that he does not approve of the project because he does not want to mess with the Irvine villages, but supports the traffic study.

Steve Greenberg (Shea appointee): Steve said that he does not support more medical arts buildings in Woodbridge.

Carrie O’Malley (Wagner appointee): The commission’s job is to look at the traffic analysis study component of the project. Carrie was worried about the OCTA transportation availability with regards to bus stops.

Action taken: 2 votes to oppose and 2 votes to approve traffic studies.