BLOOMFIELD — Bloomfield City Council heard two lengthy presentations that, among other considerations, stressed safety for local water supplies and roads, but it was the night's only new business that seemed to sidestep safety in favor of beautification.
Resolution 2012-09 was approved Monday night with Mayor Scott Eckstein's tie-breaking vote to approve a scope change to improvement plans along Bergin Lane, improvements two council members voted against.
"The question here is of safety," Councilman Pat Lucero said before voting against the resolution. "I would rather have enough funding to improve the overall safety of the project than not. Safety and infrastructure should never be outweighed by beautification."
Curtis Lynch voted with Lucero against the resolution. Council members Pennington and Roark voted for its approval.
City Manager David Fuqua, who received glowing praise during public input from senior Dorothy Smith, who said Fuqua was "doing a good job" and was "falsely accused by that woman," said the project was not as in need of investment for expanded sidewalks along Bergin Lane as Lucero suggested.
Mesa Alta Junior High School lies on the southwest portion of Bergin Lane just off Highway 64 and for the majority of its length lacks sufficient sidewalks for students and their families to use to do anything but drive to and from school. Much of the road between the highway and W. Blanco leaves pedestrians nowhere else to walk but the street itself.
Randy Kirkpatrick, Director for the San Juan Water Commission, gave a presentation on water supplies and ongoing legal battles, but he emphasized San Juan County's threat from invasive species, quagga and zebra mussels, that will wreak havoc on water facilities and systems.
"It's not a question of if, but when," Kirkpatrick said, signaling a warning and need for expanded funds in the near future to battle the damaging filter feeders that deplete water supplies of nutrients, kill fish when they are not clogging pipes and screens that deliver and filter water.
Duane Wakan, an associate planner for the Farmington Metropolitan Transportation Organization, also emphasized safety during his presentation on "Complete Streets," and local organization that sets long-term transportation policy.
"Our intention is to get support from the local governments like Bloomfield to help develop roads that adopt the "complete streets' concept," said Wakan. "The importance of its adoption is to promote overall safety, better connectivity, and stronger economic vitality for all of San Juan County.
Wakan championed advocacy group Smart Growth America's program to the council as a means of benefiting all potential users of local roadways the stroller-pushing mom, the commuting bicyclist, pedestrians, and vehicles with a strategic "road diet" design that gets engineers and planners to be more pedestrian-centric and less car-traffic-oriented when planning road networks.
"It's what we're wanting to do," Fuqua said, appreciative of Wakan's presentation. "We look forward to being able to come and see you guys," he said of the planning organization.
Instituting a Complete Streets policy, Wakan said, ensures that transportation planners and engineers consistently design and operate the entire roadway with all users in mind.