Mayor Steve Otis and the Rye City Council plan to vote on the City’s proposed STOP sign policy next Wednesday, March 14th at 8pm at the scheduled City Council meeting. The draft policy is a light year ahead of where we were before with no policy, but we have a few suggestions before adoption.
The STOP sign policy, drafted by Police Commissioner William R. Connors, is largely a recitation of the United States Department of Transportation’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUCTD, for those of you that want to impress on the cocktail party circuit).
The critical piece of Connors’ draft is the last paragraph where Rye makes accommodations to balance the standards of residents, the MUCTD and the professional expertise of Rye City staff.
- Rye City Council should vote on all recommendations via roll call vote (approvals and disapprovals) coming from this process. Our understanding from Traffic & Transit Committee Chairman Brian Dempsey was that all T&T STOP sign recommendations must become legislative items before the City Council. We are speaking about community requests and final approvals and disapprovals should be sanctioned by our elected officials.
- Shorten the turn around time to 45 days. The draft policy stated a final recommendation on all STOP sign requests will be made within 60 days of receipt of the original request and the draft resident “request form” states residents will receive a determination within 90 days (we’re hoping the 90 days is a typo). We suggest 30 days for city staff to make the final recommendation and send its recommendation to Rye City Council. Since Council meets every two weeks with limited exception, this would mean an end-to-end process of six weeks. We also suggest the city include language about expected timing for installation by public works—perhaps a two weeks “best efforts” clause understanding there will be exceptions for weather and unusual events like last week’s massive flooding in Rye.
- Make the process transparent. All approvals and disapprovals should be fully transparent and posted on the City’s web site. Rye residents should be able to see the determination of each department head involved in the process (the City Planner, City Engineer, the Police Commissioner and the Traffic & Transit Committee) and how each councilperson voted on the approval or disapproval. This transparency should keep both future requests from residents and review by the City honest and open.
- Single Point of Contact. Designate a named single point-of-contact from the city for residents so we can ask for updates and progress on STOP sign requests.
- Review the existing 18-20 STOP Sign Requests within Two Weeks (by March 28th). While we are pretty sure the Rye City Council overwhelmingly supports the installation of the 4-way STOP at the intersection of Bradford and Florence Avenues in Bradford Park, we’d like to see all outstanding STOP sign requests reviewed and provided with approval/disapproval notice according the new policy and the suggestions above. And if Matt Fahey, Andy Ball, George Pratt and Mayor Steve Otis can come together with the rest of the council on Wednesday to approve Bradford Park’s request, we’d be very pleased.
In the fine print, the policy refers to property owners and should refer to residents—requests should be able to be made by renters or anyone occupying a residence.
Thanks should be sent to Commissioner Connors for the draft policy and we look forward to the Rye City Council’s adoption of a STOP sign policy this Wednesday, March 14th.