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Berkman Drive Public Forum Aug 14
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Mueller Community

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Berkman Drive Public Forum Aug 14
by bdolezal on August 11th, 2014

In case you haven't received an email or seen the yard signs, there is a public forum regarding Berkman Drive this Thursday, Aug. 14 at 6:30 at Our Lady’s Maronite Catholic Church to provide information on the street’s design and discuss short-term and long-term methods that may be considered to address traffic, speed and parking concerns.
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Sol Acosta-Houston
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Eric Englert
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Berkman Drive Public Forum Aug 14
by Eric Englert on August 25th, 2014

I wasn't able to be there but I'd really like to know what was discussed. Is there a place I could find this info online?
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Mueller Community

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Berkman Drive Public Forum Aug 14
by danx111 on August 26th, 2014

Dee Desjardin from Catellus committed to publish the slides
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Rick Krivoniak
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Berkman Drive Public Forum Aug 14
by Rick Krivoniak on August 26th, 2014

One of my Windsor Park neighbors asked the same question, so I wrote the following:

Catellus hosted the August 14th meeting regarding Berkman and opened it to the general community. Representatives from the City of Austin's Transportation Department and Economic Development Department, Catellus, McCann Adams Studio - Mueller's master planner, HDR - Catellus' local traffic engineers, and GHD's Mark Lenters - a national traffic/roundabout consultant, shared information on Berkman Drive’s interim and final design, the road construction timeline, and current traffic data.

This meeting was in response to concerns from the Mueller Transportation Committee (a Catellus-convened group of representatives from Mueller and surrounding neighborhoods, including two from Windsor Park, of which I am one), and from residents living on or near Berkman within Mueller. A June meeting for Mueller's residents only primarily yielded concerns about speeding and lack of visibility around some of the parallel parking.

Berkman opened through Mueller in May of 2013. Last October, with schools and the HEB open for a few months, the City did traffic counts and recorded speeds in several locations along and near Berkman showing that 85th-percentile (a State standard) southbound traffic within Mueller was traveling around 44MPH, well above the posted 30MPH. (Don't hold me to the exact data figures - I'll share the Powerpoint presentation when it's available online. I do recall that for Berkman near Broadmoor/Greenbrook Parkway, 85th% was around 37, just 2MPH above the posted 35. Still too fast!). South of Manor Rd., E.M. Franklin was actually worse.

HDR and Mark Lenters continue to insist that once Berkman is completed to its final design of a wide "transit median" with single traffic lanes, parallel parking and cycle tracks on each side, the "friction" will naturally slow traffic. A comparison was made to the completed portion of Simond Avenue, off of Berkman within Mueller, with a wide median and narrow traffic and parallel parking lanes. The traffic lane on Berkman will be 12 inches wider. Berkman is slated to be fully built-out by the end of 2015. It was noted that construction along the blocks from McCurdy Street to Philomena Street over the next 16± months would create its own traffic calming.

With all adjacent property now platted, no changes are anticipated for Berkman's ultimate design. Currently, the 4-way stop at Barbara Jordan Blvd. and Berkman is the only planned traffic control between 51st and Manor. Roundabout consultant Mark Lenters showed two roundabout sketches that could be built within the existing Berkman right-of-way, but they force cycle-track bicyclists onto the sidewalks or into traffic lanes, and are not being considered for the build-out.

As for visibility when turning onto Berkman from the many Mueller streets with adjacent parallel parking, the City of Austin is reviewing those intersections on a case-by-case basis and may removed some parking for better visibility. It was also found that the parking spaces were striped too narrow, so they will be re-striped very soon.

I personally asked about stop signs on Berkman at Zach Scott, which will ultimately be a straight-shot street from Airport Blvd. though Mueller to Manor Rd. Initially, only traffic on Zach Scott will be stopped, but it's possible that will be a a 4-way stop intersection later on. State laws prohibit using stop signs and traffic signals for traffic mitigation, and require certain triggers to be met for virtually all traffic controls.

On another note, traffic signals should be in place on E. 51st at Mueller Blvd. by the end of September.

I hope this helped.

Rick Krivoniak
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Ross Houston
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Berkman Drive Public Forum Aug 14
by Ross Houston on August 26th, 2014

Thanks very much for posting that review. I was at the earlier Berkman residents-only meeting (but not this one) and it sounds like Catellus delivered a very similar message. To me that message sounds like they are willing to listen to resident concerns, but only for fine tuning, as major design changes sound like they are off the table.

COA's message seem to be that they don't have the ability to foresee anything, and that everything they do must be reactive. To the point where you couldn't actually get any of them to say, "Yeah, sooner or later we'll need a four-way stop at Zach Scott and Berkman." I'm sure they operate like that for a good reason, but it made for some frustrating conversations.
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