City Council to Clarify Its Votes on Traffic Proposals

Seeking clarity on a series of votes at the previous meeting, municipal staff members will ask the San Marino City Council to essentially re-vote on its decisions regarding Metro-funded traffic proposals that officials and the public have been weighing throughout the year.
Citing some contradictory language used in forming the ad hoc motions at the council’s July 10 meeting, City Manager Marcella Marlowe and Parks and Public Works Director Michael Throne have formally drawn up motions they believe reflect the panel’s intent at the time. The agenda for this week’s meeting — on Friday, July 26, at 8:30 a.m. — asks the council to vacate the July 10 votes and consider the reworded motions.
Assuming the council votes along the same lines, the traffic signal synchronization proposals for Huntington Drive and San Gabriel Boulevard will likely remain dead; although one member was absent at the time, three voted to reject those proposals, constituting a majority in any scenario.
A proposal to target congestion issues on Huntington near the city’s schools is likely to remain on track, as that also received three votes last time.
Presuming all five council members attend Friday’s meeting (Susan Jakubowski was out of town during the July 10 session), the tiebreakers that derailed every motion — for or against — regarding Huntington’s intersection with Atlantic Boulevard will have to be resolved.
The resolution to be presented in this meeting’s agenda recommends that the City Council approve refining both the Huntington-Atlantic proposal and the school-centric Huntington proposal. It also urges that the council reject the remainder of Huntington intersection proposals, signal synchronization on Huntington and San Gabriel, and a slew of proposals that would affect Sierra Madre Boulevard.
The proposals in question concern earmarks from Metro for San Marino to take up projects that the countywide transportation authority had prepared as alternatives to the now-dead 710 Freeway tunnel project. After killing the tunnel, Metro’s board voted to distribute the $780 million in sales tax-generated dollars to San Gabriel Valley cities that would have been affected by the tunnel’s construction.
Cities that asked for Metro funds were free to simply take the agency’s plans and move forward, but could also modify them as desired as long as Metro feels they accomplish the goal of reducing congestion and improving traffic flow. Throne has committed to refining the projects to fit resident concerns before presenting them to the council for final consideration.
Although the earmarks were assigned in November, Metro’s board is expected to cement commitments from cities in September and move forward with funding schedules. The City Council plans on formally approving or shooting down the proposals it has elected to refine at its September meeting.
Because none of the votes on July 10 specifically addressed Sierra Madre Boulevard, it was unclear at the time whether the council had taken up those proposals. Marlowe and Throne’s staff report indicates belief — after a review of the meeting — that the council actually had intended to reject those projects.
At any rate, the council will get the formal opportunity to clarify that on Friday.

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