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Monday, June 1, 2020

macungie borough council Motion passes to convert Cotton Street to one-way westbound

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 by PETER MCCONNELL Special to The Press in Local News

Macungie Borough Council has passed a motion for Cotton Street to be converted to a one-way westbound between Lea and Church streets with a sidewalk constructed on land from Kalmbach Park up to Lea Street. The plan referred to as Alternative Three from the borough engineer's proposals also converts Dock Alley into a one-way street eastbound.

Council members who opposed the motion included Greg Hutchison and David Boyko.

The motion authorizes borough engineers Barry Isett & Associates to proceed with the design and allows for the understanding Kalmbach Park will not be responsible for any expense of construction. The park is merely donating land to accommodate the sidewalk. How much land exactly is at this point undetermined.

A letter from Kalmbach said the park trustees would prefer Cotton Street remain two-way for its entire length and the park would be willing to donate land to accomplish this. Kalmbach would also be willing to aid in opening Bird Alley for pedestrian and/or vehicular traffic to make for easy access to and from the park. Becker said at one point Bird Alley would not be in the borough's finances for this project.

Council members Roseann Schleicher and Becker pointed out without making Cotton Street one way for the aforementioned length, the borough would not be able to attain a light at Main and Church streets, which has been in talks for some time.

Becker says about $300,000 is forecasted for the Cotton Street project from funds obtained through a general obligation note and split between Lumber Street, Cotton Street, and Church Street traffic light capital projects.

In other business, funds discussed at the last meeting remaining in the police department's K-9 account have been transferred into the borough's general fund. Boehm says the borough paid out more than what was in the income line for the budget. "It's clean and transparent and no money is being spent on anything other than the K-9 fund," Boehm said.

Council passed a motion to ban parking on both sides of West End Trail for its entire length. There was some discussion of other options, including a proposal to ban parking on only one side of the street, and to ban parking only from the CVS Pharmacy and the post office driveways to Village Walk.

Boyko was opposed to the motion, insisting if parking is to be taken away council should be considering options of where to give it back, such as a municipal parking area as seen in larger cities like Allentown.

Becker suggested the issue go into committee, specifically Public Works and Transportation under John Yerman.

The motion authorizes the borough solicitor to begin preparing an ordinance to appear for public review at a hearing, most likely in September. At this point the topic will be open for public comment.

Mayor Gary Cordner had made some other suggestions, such as making the parking at the intersection of Village Walk available only between certain hours or only to passenger cars. This last option was short lived as a passenger car is legally determined to be one holding up to 15 passengers and a vehicle of such size would defeat the purpose of the ordinance, which is to improve visibility at the intersection.

Currently a borough ordinance states parking is prohibited for 450 feet north from Main Street along West End Trail.

There was discussion of a change to the borough's existing ordinance regarding firearms. Certain language in the ordinance is "questionable" according to the borough solicitor and states firearms cannot be carried in the parks. Boehm later confirmed this and the ordinance will be listed for redrafting on a future agenda.

Due to a resident complaint lodged regarding the absence of an ADA accessible ramp where the railroad tracks cross Main Street, the borough will be meeting with the Pennsylvania Utility Commission, Norfolk Southern and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to discuss the intersection. Boehm says the position of a railroad mast prevents an ADA ramp from being constructed, and the cost to move it is around $300,000. It was discussed who would be responsible to pay for the ramp and the solicitor made it clear the borough is only responsible when the borough undertakes construction work on a particular street or part of a street. At this time, however, there is no proposed work to be done. The borough is only meeting with PUC and PennDOT to discuss the situation.

Council is going to look into different options for repairing or replacing the roof on the Macungie Institute which sustained around $65,000 in damages this last winter. Boehm says the majority of the damages are within four feet of the edge of the roof around the whole building.

The borough will receive $32,000 in advance from the insurance company. The remaining amount exceeds the threshold at which projects must be put out for bid, so Boehm has directed the borough engineer to start drafting specs for a bid. She says a repair would probably fit in the budget; a replacement probably would not. But Becker pointed out roofing companies will give free price quotes on replacement for shingle roofs and Boehm wants to look into affordable options.

Council agreed to pay the final amount owed to Zgura Concrete Services for the 2014 ADA Project, despite objections from Boyko the matter with a homeowner's damaged basement had not been settled yet.

Boehm noted the homeowner had been given the opportunity to provide a value to Zgura's insurance company for damage done during the concrete company's work near the property. The homeowner has to date not provided this information and without it cannot receive compensation for damages.

Boyko is concerned paying off the bill now may mean the homeowner does not get what is due. Boyko's motion to leave the bill unpaid died for lack of a second. Boehm said the grant money used to pay the bill would expire at the end of September and Hutchison moved the bill be paid.