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Meeting Date:  April 25, 2000 

Subject/Title:     Recommendations for the Second Street Extension 

Submitted by:    Engineering: J. Stevenson 

Approved by:     Jon Elam, City Manager 


Direct staff to monitor traffic volumes on Central Boulevard and O’Hara Avenue and to return to Council with a recommendation to construct the Second Street Extension once the level of service at the intersection of existing O’Hara Avenue and Central Boulevard reaches level of service “E,” or business owners along O’Hara Avenue request relief from the traffic congestion, whichever occurs first. 

The recommendation to construct the Second Street Extension shall be accompanied by a detailed analysis of the assessment district financing of the roads in the area and if or to what extent the business owners should be reimbursed by the City for any oversizing costs of O’Hara Avenue.  The analysis should include the cost of the road, the right of way width, the cost of the right of way, Facility Fee credits received by the businesses and cash contributions by the City towards the construction. 

Direct staff to coordinate seeding of the Second Street right of way with the Equus Group and prepare an agreement to reimburse Equus on a percentage and square foot basis for the seeding and maintenance of the right of way. 


On May 14, 1996, the City Council approved Resolution No. 96-53 approving a Right of Way Contract to purchase the right of way for the Central Boulevard and O’Hara Avenue realignment for the purchase price of $636,100. 

On July 15, 1997, the Planning Commission by a 5-0 vote adopted Resolution 97-33 recommending the northerly extension of Second Street. 

On July 22, 1997, the City Council denied a General Plan Amendment dealing with the Second Street extension, but directed staff not to sell the right of way and hold it for future reconsideration by the Council. 

On April 11, 2000, the City Council directed staff to retain the right of way and return to Council with a slightly modified recommendation. 


As the City grows, traffic concerns, which in the past were only vague items for discussion, have become real and pressing needs.  The Second Street extension falls into that category.  The recent opening of Walnut from Dainty to Central and the Sand Creek/O’Hara loop has opened up traffic and improved vehicular flow so that it may be difficult to imagine why the Second Street extension is so important.  It is! 

All one needs to do is to realize that even though the City is currently reviewing its General Plan, the build-out population of the City will undoubtedly reach three and possibly four times its current population.  We already experience unacceptable delays in driving across town.  With the previous annexation of the northwest area and the anticipated annexation of the central area later this spring, the smooth and continuous flow of traffic along the future O’Hara/Second Street corridor starts to come into focus.  This corridor will be a major conduit of people, cars, and commerce into the downtown core. It makes no sense to congest that corridor by inserting two “T” intersections, as the alignment now exists. 

The previous Council struggled with this question as a result of lobbying by the businesses along the then existing 600-foot long O’Hara.  The existing traffic volumes on this road until a few weeks ago consisted of traffic going to and from these individual businesses.  Traffic volumes were less than 1,500 vehicles per day.  The business owners understandably wanted traffic volumes to increase as rapidly as possible in front of their businesses.  Staff concurs with this desire and believes that the best possible approach for all parties would be to allow traffic to increase until it becomes a problem and then to construct the Second Street Extension to relieve the congestion.  If the right of way is sold, that congestion relief will not be possible. 

Projected volumes for the original stretch of O’Hara incorporating the Second Street Extension are 9,000 vehicles per day in 2010, with an additional 18,900 vehicles per day on the new Second Street extension.  Nine thousand vehicles per day is an acceptable level of traffic for this road.  To give the Council a feel for this traffic volume, it relates to existing Walnut Boulevard between Balfour and Oak Street.  It also relates to a traffic volume that will allow movement into and out of the existing businesses, which the traffic study indicated as being a problem if Second Street was not extended.

This extension of Second Street has been analyzed by a host of experts from every corner of the professional spectrum.  They include the City Engineer, the City’s Economic Development Director, the City Traffic Engineer, Police Chief, Fire Chief, and two separate Traffic Engineering Consultants.  All are unanimous in their support for this road extension, but see no reason for it to be built prematurely.


Improved north/south traffic for the City

Improved access to downtown

Long term increased tax revenue due to improved access to downtown business

Reduced Pollution

We already own the right of way 

Recommended by:

City Engineer

City Economic Development Director

City Traffic Engineer

Police Chief

Fire District Chief

Two separate Traffic Engineering Consultants


More expensive in current up-front cost

Reduced up-front development fees due to smaller Equus Group site

Not desired by the businesses on existing O’Hara 

In a previous agreement signed by the developer and the City, the City agreed to build the Second Street extension at its expense within the right of way purchased.  Therefore, there are no real cost savings in trying to include the road extension into the Equus Group Project since the City is paying for it whenever it is built.  Staff believes that the win scenario for all concerned is to allow Equus to proceed with their project with the major access off O’Hara Avenue, and save the City roadway money for more pressing current needs.  Only build the extension when absolutely necessary. 

The City Manager and City Engineer held a breakfast meeting with business owners along O’Hara north of Central to discuss the various options.  The business owners were unanimous in their support for Option 1, to retain the right of way for future construction.  The owners have seen a significant increase in traffic and were already noticing difficulty in pulling out of their driveways.

 The City Council at its April 11, 2000 meeting directed staff to retain the right of way, but requested that staff return with a slightly modified recommendation. 

At their meeting of April 18, the Planning Commission required the Equus Group to seed the area north of their first two buildings with rye grass and wild flowers.  Since the Second Street right of way will be unused for a number of years, it seems appropriate to have Equus seed this area also and maintain it along with the remainder of their lot.  The City should then reimburse Equus for our proportional share of the cost of this seeding and maintenance.  Staff has included a recommendation along these lines.


May 14, 1997 – Traffic Study


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