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Senior Commission discusses safer pedestrian crossing across Grant Avenue

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The Winters Senior Commission on Aging discussed upcoming goals and safe pedestrian crossing at their regular meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 8.

Chair Glenn Ripley reported on the ongoing discussion of the Senior Commission’s current accomplishments and their upcoming 2022 Objectives following a special goal setting meeting on Aug. 31.

The Senior Commission will be holding a Special Meeting on Monday, Sept. 20 to look over the planned proposal. The Zoom meeting is expected to run from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The finalized draft will be proposed at a joint session between the Senior Commission and the City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 21. City Manager Kathleen Salguero Trepa said the presentation would happen within the regular City Council meeting and would allow dialogue between the Council and the Senior Commission on the proposed goals.

Safer crossing
Commissioners Wally Pearce and Valerie Whitworth expressed interest in proposing safety measures for crossing Grant Avenue (Highway 128) close to the Lorenzo’s Market area.

Trepa reported that the City secured a grant to do the planning and design plan to complete the sidewalk from Walnut Street down to Lorenzo’s Market. She noted the safe path to travel is in large part to the Senior Commission’s advocacy efforts. Trepa said the City will need to obtain a grant to do the design and construction, and in the meantime the safest way to cross is to utilize the crosswalk at the current roundabout at Walnut Avenue.

Trepa said Caltrans will not approve a crosswalk across Grant Avenue because it needs to be a controlled crossing due to safety measures and the speeds on the state highway. Another roundabout, planned to be constructed at Morgan Street, would include another crosswalk.

However, the City does not currently have the right of way and needs the land to create the circle. Trepa said the Farmstand developers are planning around the assumption of construction of the Morgan Street roundabout plans and are holding that space available for the future.

Pearce and Whitworth both commented on the speeds that motorists take when driving through the roundabout, and noted that safety for senior citizens is a concern.

Trepa said Caltrans has come out to do a pedestrian count, but came in December which is not a good time for the task. She said the City is continuing to work with Caltrans on when it is a good time to come out to assess the pedestrian route based on their standards.

“They are the deciding factor on Grant Avenue,” Trepa said.

She said realistically, there are a number of priority projects that are already in the hopper that the City doesn’t have funding for. Even if funding was obtained, the City would still need to get approval to make modifications and changes to Highway 128.

“It’s all a balancing act. Anything that we’d like to do would still need to be approved by Caltrans,” Trepa said.

Trepa said the City of Winters has not scored high in the algorithm to be awarded grants. She said grant panels look at the number of people crossing the area, the number of accidents in the area as well as other access needs. 

“(Grant Avenue) doesn’t score high because we’re small, and fortunately we haven’t had many unfortunate tragedies,” Trepa said. “That’s the dichotomy of how these grant funds are awarded.”

Commissioner Appointed
Trepa reported that Whitworth was officially appointed as a primary member of the Senior Commission on Aging at the last City Council meeting. 

Whitworth was previously appointed as an alternate member of the Senior Commission in December 2020. Following the recent resignation of former Commissioner Debra Palmer, Whitworth agreed to serve in the role and as Vice Chair of the Senior Commission, which was Palmer’s commission position prior to her resignation.

Whitworth’s term is set to expire in June 2025, which is when Palmer’s original term was expected to expire.

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