TROY — Several residents in the Riverside Drive area spoke against the proposed changes to the Riverside Drive Phase II project, which includes the relocation of the recreational trail to the west side in the right-of-way of the road at the city council meeting on Monday.
The Riverside Drive Phase II project includes replacement of water lines and the addition of sewer, as well as the repaving of the street. The scope also includes eliminating the crossing of the Great Miami River Recreation Trail to the west side of Riverside Drive.
Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington said the city believes it is the safer option to move the path to the right-of-way to eliminate the need to cross the road and the trail would be maintained by the city.
“We don’t want cyclists and walkers and joggers to have to cross two crosswalks to get between Community Park and Duke Park,” Titterington said on Tuesday.
Titterington said while there haven’t been major accidents, there are several “near misses” in the area. He said engineer data shows between the two crosswalks, an average of 200 walkers or cyclists cross the road daily, including week and weekend counts. The average speed of motorist is 34 MPH in the area is marked 25 MPH.
“We are talking about 12 properties that may back in and out of their driveway five times a day. Those potential impacts are a lot less than if these cyclists had to cross the road,” Titterington said.
The city offered to cover the cost for property owners, who notified the city Oct. 1, to hook into the new sewer line and abandon their septic systems. That deadline was to include those residents in the final design scope for their sewer work. Residents are requested to annex their properties into the city of Troy to hook up to the sewer systems. The city offered to pay for the hook-up, annexation application and other costs associated, which could cost up to $5,000 per household.
Titterington advised that once the sewer line is available, the state code requires residents to tap into the utility due to health codes. The residents who didn’t opt in will have to connect at a later date. Titterington said it was the only deadline residents were given due to the final design plan.
Titterington said all the work is being performed in the right-of-way.
At the council meeting, Don Hetzler, a resident of Riverside Drive, prepared a briefing for council to review on how the proposed changes would impact properties.
Hetzler said some of the proposed changes aren’t in the best interest of the property owners on the west side of the road, including curb lawn and curbs, and that the city isn’t considering the disruption to the property owners. Hetzler said he feels like he’s getting pressured to annex into the city and the design.
Hetzler said he believes there will be an increase in personal liability accidents with the relocation of the bike trail to the west side of the road. Hetzler said he thinks the city should just repave the road and leave out the curb work, which he believes is unnecessary and could lead to more water issues on the west side of the road.
Hetzler said residents want to work out a solution, but so far, the solution has been in favor of the city.
“We would like to see the city and the city council to take another look at this and consider the things the residents have talked about and see if we can’t come up with a position that has a little less impact on those who live on Riverside Drive,” said Hetzler in closing.
President Marty Baker thanked Hetzler for his time. Baker said there would be a future committee meeting and any action regarding the Riverside Drive project would have to be approved by city council before it goes to bid.
Robert Barnette, a resident of Riverside Drive, said, “This isn’t just going over our yards. This is going over 13-14 driveways about the distance of two football fields. Now, that to me, really brings up some serious concerns.”
Barnette shared how he is retired from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and has witnessed accidents during his years of law enforcement service. Barnette said visibility issues of those using the bike path could be hazardous for both the user and the driver pulling in and out of the 13-14 driveways throughout the proposed new bike path. Barnette said some people could lose parking space with the proposed plan. He also gave an example of cross country and track runners using the bike path to run and those runners now will have to cross the street and the 13-14 driveways to practice after school.
“I don’t think this is a good idea, I think it’s a lot more dangerous than the crosswalks,” Barnette said.
Resident Steve Schmitz asked for some clarifications about annexation for sewer connection. Director of Public of Service Safety Patrick Titterington said residents who annexed into the city during this project would receive sewer connection at no cost to the owner.
Schmitz also asked about how the project would impact the grade of his driveway. City engineer Jill Rhoades said the road project would improve the grade by lowering the road. Schmitz also told council the Public Square pedestrian crosswalks would benefit from flashing signs to improve safety especially during downtown events when visibility is limited by parked cars.
Riverside resident Kevin Adkins said backing out of the driveway is an issue for some residents. Adkins said cyclists seem to navigate the crossings at County Road 25-A and Eldean Road just fine. Adkins said during soccer tournaments, traffic backs up on Riverside Drive from Duke Park.
Riverside resident Mary Jane Harrod asked council if they lived where they lived if they would like a bike path in front of their properties in close proximity to their front door.
“If we all had million dollar houses would you want to put a bike path in front of our houses?” she said, nothing most people are retired and middle class. “It does not make it our responsibility to service your bike path going across our property.”