Council To Examine Ways To Slow Down Traffic In Payson

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Although Thursday evening's Payson Town Council meeting could be a short one, a traffic-calming policy on the agenda could draw communitywide interest.

The town's street department has been working up a draft of the plan, which has slowly expanded in scope.

Originally, the proposal called for the installation of speed bumps. Vice Mayor Tim Fruth spoke in favor of the motion and asked town staff to sketch a set of guidelines to slow traffic on local streets, especially on North McLane Road.

Since then, he has asked for a comprehensive streets program.

The town currently uses asphalt speed bumps in Rumsey Park, but Public Works Engineer LaRon Garrett proposed bumps constructed out of recycled tires instead.

Rumsey Park's speed bumps slow vehicles down to 15 miles per hour.

Speed bumps will cost about $4,000 each to construct.

The town's traffic-calming project will include everything from roundabouts, islands and street geometry to the purchase of the police department's first photo radar.

To formalize the plan, the town is in the process of changing its subdivision code and conducting public input hearings.

In a memo to the council, Garrett wrote that speed bumps do have drawbacks. Traffic noise increases and drivers have a tendency to take other routes, which, Garrett said, cause other problems.

At the same time, residents want traffic to slow down.

"There is an interest in traffic calming in general in our community," said Town Manager Fred Carpenter.

In another streets project, town staff will ask the council to approve $83,000 for the design portion of the half-mile St. Phillips Street/Bonita Street/ Frontier Street/Bentley Street improvement project.

The Arizona Department of Transportation's Highway User Revenue Fund, collected through a state gas tax, will pay for most of the $625,000 bill, leaving $83,000 for the town to pay. Carpenter said ADOT could provide additional funding to extend the Bentley Street phase.

"It's very narrow and it has drainage ditches," Carpenter added. "It needs to be made into a real road. (The project) will help a lot of people this year."

In other business, the Payson Town Council will vote whether or not to authorize an IRS request to extend a 2003 employment tax audit past the federal government's statute of limitations. The IRS is limiting its inquiry to adjustments on Medicare payments.

The Payson Town Council meets at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19 at town hall.

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