Barriers to go up to help with school traffic

The Devine City Council approved Devine ISD’s request for the installation of Tuff Curb delineators on Highway. 173 during the Regular meeting held last Tuesday, August 18, but postponed a decision on installing another set of delineators on Hwy. 173 and South Jamison Drive to let District 3 Councilman David Espinosa gather feedback from his constituents.
Christen Longoria, the Texas Department of Transportation’s area engineer for Medina County, said that Devine ISD had contacted TxDot regarding problems with school traffic backing up along FM 2200 to the Hwy. 173 intersection during peak hours.
Tuff Curb delineators, which are traffic separator curbs installed on streets, would be placed so that traffic at the intersection of FM 2200 and Hwy. 173 that turns right onto Hwy. 173 will be unable to immediately turn left onto Freedom Drive (the street beside DISD’s Parent Place, which used to be a church).
“What the school’s concern was the traffic at Freedom was backing up and causing conflict with the crossing guard and students crossing the street,” said Joe Zinsmeyer, project manager. “And so by putting the traffic further away, we hope to alleviate that conflict.”
Longoria also spoke about the possibility of installing delineators at the intersection of Hwy. 173 and S. Jamison Dr., next to Burnt Boot Creek.
Longoria explained that the bridge over the creek was identified as a bridge-class culvert, which was why the metal rails were removed and replaced with a concrete rail.
However, the concrete rails block the view of incoming traffic along Hwy. 173 at the S. Jamison intersection, and Longoria said TxDot had two proposed solutions to prevent crashes.
“Option one is to choose to use another intersection, another way to enter 173 when you turn left there” Longoria said. “Or what we do is when we create potential for crashes, we could put Tuff Curb.”
Espinosa made a motion to approve the curb delineators requested by Devine ISD and to contact the district about it, as well as to postpone a decision on putting delineators at the Hwy. 173/S. Jamison intersection pending a canvassing of District 3 residents’ opinions. District 1 Councilman Rufino Vega provided the second, and the motion passed unanimously with the support of District 2 Councilman Steve Lopez, District 4 Councilman Chuck Guzman, and District 5 Councilwoman Debra Randall.
If installed, delineators at both locations will be in place around the clock, not just during peak traffic times.
Oak Hill Drive
Council approved an Ordinance to change the parking zones on Oak Hill Drive, banning parking along the east side of the curb closest to Walmart.
Mayor Cory Thompson said the problem was
“You have to creep so far out into traffic because you can’t see,” Thompson said. “It’s not a problem turning into the parking lot, it’s a problem coming back out of the parking lot.”
A Randall-Vega motion to ban parking on the east side of the street, closest to Walmart, and allow daytime parking only along the west side of the street passed 5-0.
The Ordinance will go into effect as soon as appropriate signage has been erected and Public Works paints the curbs.
West Texas Gas
Council adopted an Ordinance denying West Texas Gas, Inc.’s proposed rate increase.
City Attorney Tom Cate explained that WTG must go through the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to increase prices, and that municipalities all around the state form a coalition and hire a law firm in Austin to represent them at the PUC.
“The City doesn’t pay anything to the lawyers representing us at the PUC,” Cate said. “That’s all passed through their customers.”
A Randall-Guzman motion to adopt an Ordinance denying the proposed rate increase passed 4-0 with an abstention from Vega, who works for WTG.
Devine Golf Course clubhouse renovation and Ordinance amendments
Council heard a presentation from GRG Architects regarding renovation of the golf course clubhouse. GRG found multiple safety code violations that must be repaired, and that the patio cover requires welding. GRG will continue developing construction plans that should be submitted to Council by October 1.
Additionally, Council tweaked a number of City Ordinances, including requiring that all cats and dogs be registered with the City, and increasing the number of allowed yard sales to four per permitted sales per year, plus an annual Citywide sale that will not require a permit.
More details on Council’s discussions about Ordinances, GRG’s findings, and the clubhouse renovation will be in next week’s edition of The Devine News. See separate articles in this week’s edition for more from the Aug. 18 Council meeting.
A Special meeting to discuss the City’s contract with Republic Services for waste management and a budget workshop for the upcoming 2020-2021 fiscal year was scheduled for press night on Tuesday, Aug. 25.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer