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Posted on: March 11, 2020

Highlights from the Council Workshop on March 11, 2020

Council Highlights

HUDSON, OH (March 3, 2020) – At last night’s Workshop, Hudson City Council discussed several projects that will move forward for additional discussion at future meetings.  These included:

Economic Growth Board Update

Keith Curley presented an update to Council on the Economic Growth Board. The board is planning to initiate a Listening Tour, where board members will go out into the community and listen to concerns of businesses and residents regarding economic development. The Tour will provide direct, face-to-face input as well as online responses to provide the Board with input to help ensure the direction of economic develop efforts are meeting the needs of current and future businesses, as well as of residents.

Adaptive Traffic Signal Update

Assistant City Manager Thom Sheridan provided an update on the adaptive traffic signal project and asked for direction from Council regarding moving into the design phase of the adaptive signal process. Adaptive signaling is being considered as way to use technology to improve traffic flow through the downtown, since downtown roads cannot be widened.

Previously, City Council approved the first phase of the project which was to examine the current signal timing and equipment and make changes to improve the movement of traffic through the City. Originally, the cost of the first phase was estimated at $105,000.  After the review, the actual costs came in around $35,000.

When reviewing the existing hardware on SR 91 from Prospect Street to Georgetown and SR 303 from SR 91 west to Boston Mills, the contractor found that, although the hardware and system was about 20 years old, most of the signals had the capacity for traffic responsive signaling that was being underutilized. While this is not as efficient as true adaptive signaling, the signal timing was improved by fully utilizing the traffic responsive capability in the current equipment.

Prior to making changes in the current system, SR 91 in peak morning drive times showed an average speed under 14 mph. After optimization of the current system, that average speed was increased to 23 mph, a 68% improvement.  Afternoon peak times increased from 13.7 mph to 21 mph, a 53% improvement providing better movement of traffic through downtown.

With the current equipment being more than 20 years old, the system will need to be replaced soon. Should signals fail, parts are no longer available or difficult to find to make repairs.

The consultant recommends moving into the design phase of the adaptive signal program this year. Moving to adaptive signaling will provide improved real-time traffic flow for both motorists and for emergency vehicles traveling through town. With less time spent in stopped or slow traffic, motorists will travel through Hudson easier, and the signaling will cut down on vehicle emissions and fuel consumption.

Cost for the design phase is approximately $165,000, with the cost to make the upgrades to adaptive signals at approximately $800,000. The cost to simply replace the current system with a similar new system that does not use adaptive technology would be approximately $300,000.

After discussion about costs and the program, Council asked that legislation be put on the agenda for the design portion of the project which would still provide time for additional discussion by Council about costs and options. 

Land Development Code Commercial Updates

Community Development Director Greg Hannan reached out to City Council to receive direction on whether to begin a review of the commercial portions of the Land Development Code.

Several years ago, Planning Commission and staff sought to review and update the entire Land Development Code, which turned out to be a major undertaking.  Council asked that it be broken down into three portions.  The first portion, the Administrative review, was passed in October of last year. The next two portions to review would be the commercial and residential.

Some items that might be considered in the commercial revisions include the location of assisted living facilities, drive-throughs, short-term rentals (Air B&Bs), green technologies and solar farms, and the alignment of district parcels in Districts 7 and 8, among others.

Council wanted to know more about what is prompted considering of the various items for discussion and the process going forward. Previously, the City held a few joint meetings with City Council and the Planning Commission. Council thought holding similar meetings would be helpful to understand the issues that would be considered as part of any changes to the Code. No changes to the Code would be considered without first seeking public input as part of the review process.

Railroad Quiet Zones

Councilman Skylar Sutton submitted a report on railroad quiet zones which included citizen input on the problem of train horns throughout the community, as well as examples of what other cities have done regarding quiet zones in their community. After a discussion, Council directed staff to come back with costs of various options for further discussion by City Council.

Sign Codes

As mentioned with the passage of changes to the current sign code, Council continued its discussion on possible additional changes to the code to meet the needs of the merchants in various districts, as well as maintain the image of the community. One issue mentioned was the differing needs for A-Frame signs and window clings among businesses that are downtown and directly on the street versus the needs of businesses in other areas of town where the storefronts are set back from the road. A suggestion was made that perhaps there should be different regulations for different parts of the City.  Based on Council comments, staff will come back with more information for further discussions by Council.

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