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BUENA PARK : Council Delays Vote on Dale Street’s Path

After 3 1/2 hours of public discussion, the City Council on Monday postponed the vote on a controversial project to realign Dale Street with one of two residential streets in the Bellehurst neighborhood.

Mayor Donald L. Bone said a final decision by the council will be made at the Jan. 3 meeting.

Councilman Don R. Griffin said there was “no doubt in my mind to proceed with a project” but requested the continuance so staff could further examine his questions. Councilwoman Donna L. Chessen also expressed a desire to continue action to get clarification on questions.

The proposal involves realignment of Burlingame Avenue or Monticello Avenue with Dale Street, or maintain Dale Street as a T-intersection that dead-ends at Malvern Avenue. The project also includes building an underpass for the railroad crossing on Dale Street.

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Bone expressed concern over whether the delay could hamper the city from receiving state money to get the project built.

The project’s cost is estimated at $8 million, plus an additional $900,000 to prepare plans.

The money for the project will come from state, county and local sources, including $5 million from the state Public Utilities Commission and $860,000 from the railroad company.

The city must finalize its agreement with Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway by April 1 or the city would lose the state money, said Donald K. Jensen, director of public works.

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City Manager Kevin O’Rourke said continuing council action on the project until next month won’t place the project in jeopardy.

“We can stay on target for April,” he said. But O’Rourke added that the final environmental document on the project must be approved at the Jan. 18 meeting.

Jensen said the realignment is necessary to improve traffic safety at the intersection.

“We have an intersection that is confusing to motorists, and it is congested,” Jensen said. “The way it exists today, it’s difficult for traffic to go through the intersection without being delayed or without a high potential for traffic accidents.”

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A draft environmental impact report prepared on the realignment project recommends that Dale Street be placed in line with Burlingame Avenue.

Burlingame Avenue is the better alternative because it would simplify traffic flow and reduce the potential for traffic accidents to a better extent than the Monticello realignment, Jensen said.

Meanwhile, 15 residents who live on either Burlingame, Monticello or elsewhere in the Bellehurst neighborhood addressed the council during the public hearing. About 75 residents attended the meeting.

Overwhelmingly, residents living on Burlingame opposed the realignment project with their street. Residents said that the realignment will cause additional traffic and speeding and pose a safety hazard in their neighborhood.

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“The safety of my children is foremost in my life,” said Burlingame resident Teri Raymondo, a mother of seven. “It’s not a matter of selfishness, but of safety.”

If the project is approved, Dale Street will be closed to some traffic for one year during construction. Emergency vehicle access may be allowed. Upon approval, construction could begin by November, 1994.


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