Public input slated for White Rock CIP projects Wednesday

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By Kirsten Laskey

The Public Works Department is seeking public input on two capital improvement projects – N.M. 4 alignment and Cañada del Buey Arroyo multi-use path.
A public hearing on these projects will be at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Fuller Lodge’s Pajarito Room.
Just as some people need feedback on design choices for a home improvement project, the Public Works Department is asking the community to weigh in on landscaping, plants, lighting and other amenities.
Engineering Project Manager Audoro Espinoza said 30 percent design drawings, or concepts of the roadways will be shown. He added there will also be drawings that show cross sections of roadways, and how the medians will look as well as dedicated turn lanes and intersections.
During the meeting, Espinoza said, “we’ll be looking forward to the public’s reaction to the landscape features and the proposed decorative lighting and hopefully we receive some constructive comments.”
He added, “it would be great if the public would be engaged and provide us with their thoughts either in writing or during our … presentation. The public’s input is important to us as we move toward 60 percent (design drawings) – granted we’re still required to follow design standards.”
If people are interested in making comments, now is the time to speak, Public Works Director Kyle Zimmerman said.  While the project is still being designed, it is easy to make changes he said, but once the project is out to bid and construction begins, it is far more difficult and costly to make modifications.
“If we don’t hear from the public we’ll proceed on our best judgment but there are things people can weigh in on,” Zimmerman said.  
People might be interested in which type of decorative lighting is used, he said. The public might like one choice over another.
The community has been involved in the two CIP projects since their inception.
People’s feedback was incorporated in the final studies for the CIP projects and will be addressed in the finished designs, Espinoza said.
Also a matrix was built to tab the public’s comments on the different alternatives that were initially proposed for the CIP projects.
Then more comments were taken and the numbers of alternatives were reduced based on feedback. For instance, in the N.M. 4 alignment project, Espinoza said a roundabout on Rover Boulevard was initially proposed but after getting public input, the roundabout was eliminated. Espinoza said a roundabout would not have been feasible; it would have encroached onto private land and taken too much property from developable lands.
The feedback from Wednesday’s meeting, he said, will be summarized and incorporated into presentations that will be made to the Transportation Board and Parks and Recreation Board Thursday.
The projects will also be presented to the CIP Review and Oversight Committee on Nov. 15.
The designs will continue to be developed. Espinoza said 60 percent drawings will be created, which will show better defined details in the geometry of the roadway and in the quantity of take-offs.
The first season of construction is roughly estimated to begin in July or August 2011, he said.
“Since we’re starting construction this late into the season, we would not want to impede traffic on N.M. 4 so we will more than likely start on the Cañada del Buey project first,” he said.
Espinoza added, “It may seem like a long process but it’s a necessary one in order to achieve our goals of designing a corridor that provides efficient services for both through and local traffic while creating a traffic flow that supports the development of a pedestrian-oriented core.”
He said the projects will result in a transportation infrastructure that shifts the commercial/community “center of gravity” in White Rock from the N.M. 4/Rover Boulevard intersection to the N.M. 4/Sherwood Boulevard intersection and will enhance White Rock by attracting more businesses and shoppers.
Council approved the design and construction of the two CIP projects in August.
The N.M. 4 alignment, according to a press release, will encompass Pajarito Road to Rover Boulevard.
The project will offer one through travel lane in each direction, right-turn lanes at major cross street intersections and left-turn lanes at intersections and other high-turn locations.
Also, there will be a posted speed of 35 mph and new stoplights at Pajarito, Sherwood and Rover. The Sherwood stoplight will not be installed until it is warranted by future development.  
The CIP also calls for stop signs on Sherwood, Bonnie View and La Vista. An at-grade pedestrian crossing will be put in east of the Sherwood intersection and street lighting will be installed from Sherwood to Rover at the Pajarito intersection.
The multi-use path will feature a 10-foot wide pathway along the north side of the arroyo that runs from N.M. 4 to Bonnie View Drive. The pathway then continues along the south side of the arroyo parallel to Longview Drive and Rover. Both CIP projects were produced from the White Rock Master Plan.