From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 106, Number 9 - February 26, 2009
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Recommendations made after workshop

by Stephen Crane

After the town of Pinedale held a public workshop on the drainage issues plaguing the southwestern area of town, WLC Engineering compiled the public commentary and submitted its recommendations for the area to Town Hall.

“This biggest thing was just what to do — how to construct the streets without the swales and how to take care of the drainage,” said Brian Gray, of WLC. “The recommendation is to try to handle the drainage with infiltration, without using swales.”

At the workshop held on Jan. 22, Pinedale’s Town Hall was packed full of residents from that southwestern area, who voiced a number of opinions and concerns about the drainage plan that is part of the Phase III Sewer and Water Rehabilitation Project.

Last summer and fall, residents complained about the swales that WLC, in collaboration with AMEC consulting company, were incorporating as their answer to the drainage issues in that area.

In response to the public outcry, the swales were filled in and drainage alternatives were analyzed, which were then presented at the public workshop by Aaron Murray, of AMEC.

WLC listened to the public opinion at the meeting and provided its subsequent recommendations to Town Hall.

“The preferred alternative now is basically an (underground) infiltration chamber,” said Gray. “You’d have drop inlets for the water to flow into, and the idea is to get the water into the ground in places where the general public would never even see these infiltration areas. All you would see is the inlet, like in a bigger city.”

During the workshop, one citizen expressed his apprehension of this approach, citing the fine particles of the area that would likely clog the drains as well as the difficulty in accessing the underground chambers for maintenance purposes.

“There’s ways of getting around that,” said Town Engineer Eugene Ninnie. “We’ll institute some structural things, wrapping it in filter material to keep the fine stuff out. “And then you’ll have a sump inside these catchment structures that’s going to catch it. And as part of our road maintenance, we’ll get a sucker truck to clean those out in the spring.”

The issue of sidewalks was also a point of discussion at the workshop, with many in the audience conveying their opposition to sidewalks, due to limited access and required winter maintenance.

After the meeting, however, Town Hall received a number of e-mails from residents who supported the sidewalks, and they are now included in the latest recommendation.

“It seems like it’s been more of a generational divide on sidewalks,” said Gray. “It seems like if you were to take a vote, you’d get a big split down the middle would be my guess.

Based on the contact with Town Hall, it seems that younger generations are in favor of sidewalks while the older tend to be opposed, according to Gray.

As part of the town’s master plan, sidewalks will likely be included, and the town is now working on a way to remove the burden of winter maintenance from residents.

“The recommendation is to incorporate sidewalks into the streets — basically continue with the town ordinances and master plans that support that, as well as current design standards,” said Gray.

Other recommendations from WLC include a “paved width of 32 feet with curb and gutter for residential areas,” as well as a “6-inch high ‘mountable’ curb” for residential areas to provide extra room for resident-specific usage.

The recommendations include four engineered drawings of what the residential areas could look like, and three of the four display the area without sidewalks. And according to Gray, all these drawings are “meant to show people what the streets would look like when it’s finished.”

The fourth, however, which is the recommended approach, includes a “detached” sidewalk that lies away from the street and gutter, at a varying distance of between 3.5 and 18.5 feet.

According to the written recommendations of the report, this area would “be finished with grass (sod) or gravel as desired by resident on individual basis.” Thus, residents could use the space as they see fit, whether for landscaping or for extra parking space.

For commercial zones in the area, sidewalks would still be included, as well as a widened, 70-foot roadway and parking plan. Nineteen feet on either side would be used for off-street parking, and 32 feet in the middle would be used as roadway. Sidewalks would extend an additional five feet on either side of the parking areas, providing a total of 80 feet of right-of-way.

WLC also presented general recommendations to the town of Pinedale, including the need for an evaluation of snow removal policy, which was also a message stated by many residents at the workshop.

Other general recommendations were that “drainage and pedestrian access need to be carefully evaluated on future town projects,” as well as “any further new street design should be delayed until the drainage study and master plan (are) complete.” If street design is necessitated prior to that completion, “AMEC should be closely coordinated with.”

The final general recommendation was that “infiltration and direct conveyance to the creeks should be explored for future drainage solutions as much as possible.”

Overall, the recommendations provided by WLC are intended to ease the drainage burdens of southwestern Pinedale, while conforming to the pragmatic obligations of Pinedale’s master plan and balancing the desires of those in the neighborhood.

“It takes care of a lot of the nuisance flows and ponding that occurs,” said Gray. “(We’re) just trying to get the water back into the ground sooner, rather than having to convey it in the street for six city blocks. The sooner the city can get the water back into the ground, the better off they are.”

“The soils around here are perfect for absorption,” said Ninnie. “And they can absorb all of this water and still have that preexisting flows that we can just convey right to the New Fork River, and that’s where we’re trying to go.”

— The WLC Drainage/Roadway Recommendations report is available at WLC Engineering, 58 S. Tyler St., as well as at Pinedale’s Town Hall.

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