Councilor Michael Cook has resigned after being arrested last night for DWI. For more details on that, read this Compass update.
Here’s a recap of what happened during the Monday, April 1, City Council meeting:
Around and Around
Attendees debated at length the proposed roundabout at the intersection of Rio Grande and Candelaria. Public comment on the issue lasted until after 10 p.m. North Valley residents spoke out both in support of and opposition to the proposed federally funded traffic-calming measure. (The issue was also the focus of the last meeting.)
There were two items on the agenda in two separate competing bills. Councilor Roxanna Meyers sponsored one that called for the city to ditch plans for the roundabout. Councilor Isaac Benton called for a continued discussion of the roundabout for a year. The two councilors will face off for the District 2 seat in the upcoming election.
Meyers ended up offering a compromise when she dropped her bill in favor of amending Benton’s to re-evaluate traffic at the intersection. She said she believes updated information will support halting the project. Councilors approved taking another look on a 6–3 vote. Councilors Brad Winter, Trudy Jones and Cook voted no, saying they don’t think the roundabout is a good idea regardless.
Traffic statistics brought forward by advocates show the intersection has speeders and red-light runners. There is not a significant number of fatalities, but there are enough intersection crashes for the federal transportation folks to offer up more than $1 million bucks to try the roundabout idea.
The rest of the world uses roundabouts, traffic circles and other passive calming devices to get their millions of people safely about. They work not only to calm traffic but also to keep it flowing.
About $1 million was slated for new equipment and 22 more paramedics on fire engines around the city. As things stand, there are two paramedics in each rescue unit accompanying the fire engines.
Fire trucks are often dispatched to medical calls as well as fire calls. All of the city’s firefighters are basic emergency medical technicians or paramedics. City Fire Chief James Breen said putting paramedics on fire trucks is standard practice across the country. Breen said the city will not have to hire new paramedics and the change will reduce response times by 17 percent, or about 47 seconds on an average call.
Implementing the change will take up to six months and will be done with the cooperation of the firefighters’ union, according to union President Diego Arencon.
This is another good move by the Council. The city’s Fire Department has about 670 firefighters, and about 200 of them are also already paramedics. Having seen these dedicated women and men in action, giving them all the equipment and support they need is a great idea. Forty-seven seconds does not sound like a long time, but in many medical emergencies, it is the difference between life and death.
The meeting was adjourned a little after 11 p.m. with a total of 11 items deferred including revamping the city’s Police Oversight Commission and gun buybacks.
The next City Council meeting is set for Monday, April 15 at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers in the basement of City Hall. Watch it on GOV-TV Channel 16, stream it live or make a personal appearance and sign up for your two minutes of participation.