Documented by Ramiro Merino

Here’s what you need to know

  • The city council requested that staff provide a proposal on how to address crosswalk projects to enhance public safety after discussing an accident involving a child who was hit by a driver. 
  • The council approved $185,128 from the Community Corrections Partnership to pay for a police officer in the Special Investigations Unit. 

Follow-up questions

  • Can public input be provided to identify cross streets that may need added safety measures in the city? 
  • Is it the city’s responsibility to educate the public on how to approach the roadway markings that are currently in place throughout the city, such as the shark teeth roadway markings? 
  • Are there other agencies that the city can collaborate with to educate and inform the public on how to approach these safety roadway markings? 


Actions/Discussions/Public comment

  • Mayor Santos Garcia called the meeting to order at 6 p.m. 
  • During roll call, Council members Elsa Mejia, Cece Gallegos, Jose Rodriguez, Steve Montes, Anita Evans, Artemio Villegas and Garcia were all present at the start of the meeting. 
  • Evans led the invocation. 
  • The agenda for the meeting was approved as presented. 
  • Two members of the public provided public comment.
    • The first resident invited the council to attend a peaceful showing in solidarity with the genocide of Palestinians. 
    • The second resident spoke in Spanish and an interpreter was also present. They invited the council and the public to attend the Dia de los Muertos event happening on Thursday at the Courtyard Park in downtown Madera from 4 – 9 p.m. 
  • City Manager Arnolodo Rodriguez introduced new Chief of Police Giachino Chiaramonte.
    • Chiaramonte said “We have one of the best officers and professional staff. I hope to provide everything the public expects. We will be having community events because they are the ones that tell us how to police them.” 
    • Field Representative Joshua Babcock presented a certificate to Chiaramonte on behalf of the office of Congressman John Duarte, R-Ceres. 
  • Gallegos made a motion to approve the consent calendar as presented. The council approved the consent calendar unanimously.
    • (B-1) Minutes – Oct. 4
    • (B-2) Informational Report on Register of Audited Demands
    • (B-3) Piggyback Purchase Agreements for Fleet Division-Related Purchases
    • (B-4) 2023 Downtown Christmas Light Parade Entry for City Participation 
    • (B-5) Accepting the Off-Site Public Improvements for Origo Cold Madera Phase I LLC 
    • (B-6) 2023 Call for Projects for the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program and Carbon Reduction Program (CRP) 
    • (B-7) Accepting Remaining Off-Site Improvements for the Varbella Estates II Subdivision 
    • (B-8) Community Correction Partnership 2023/24 Budget
    • (B-9) California Department of Justice Tobacco Grant Program 
    • (B-10) Donation from the United Police Canine Partnership 
  • During the public hearing, Director of Financial Services Mike Lima presented an Ordinance to Update Certain Fines Detailed in the Madera Municipal Code
  • Lima said “The California Government Code gives the city the authority to establish and adjust the fines for violations of public nuisance ordinances.” The nuisance ordinances include administrative citations, emergency services fines and sewage disposal fines. 
  • City Engineer Keith Helmuth presented on the Transfer of Ownership of Real Property Located at 715 Stadium Road that serves as a Temporary Ponding Basin. 
    • Helmuth said “The basin was constructed for the Madera Bonita Village subdivision. It was constructed as a temporary basin, but has been in service for decades. It is located along Stadium Road and Almond Avenue. City staff will address maintenance issues.” 
    • The council voted unanimously to approve the item, which accepts the agreement to transfer the property to the city. 
  • Administrative Analyst Nicole Say presented on the item Initiating Annexation Proceedings of Properties into the city of Madera Landscape Maintenance District (LMD) Zones of Benefit 1 & 51.
    • Say asked “What is the need to annex? New development within the city is subject to annexation into an LMD. Assessments are levied to pay for each property’s fair share of landscaping maintenance.” 
    • Item 1 was tabled for a future meeting.
    • Item 2 was carried out and the council voted unanimously to approve  it. 
  • Helmuth presented on the item Discussion Regarding the Methodology Currently Utilized in the Consideration of Crosswalks. 
    • Helmuth said “The requests for crosswalk locations are common and usually based on the concern that someone will be hurt unless a crosswalk is installed. The methodology includes the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).”
      • High-visibility crosswalk – 22%
      • In-pavement lighting – 13%
      • Rectangular rapid flashing beacon – 57%
      • Pedestrian hybrid beacon – 97%
    • The percentages indicate how likely pedestrians will adhere to the crosswalk signs. The cost for each method varies:
      • High-visibility crosswalk — $750-$3,000
      • In-pavement lighting — $10,000-$40,000 
      • Rectangular rapid flashing beacon – $15,000 per unit 
      • Pedestrian hybrid beacon – $20,000 
    • Helmuth said that there was a recent pedestrian accident between Ellis and Owens streets. A child was crossing the street with their sibling when a driver did not see them and hit the child. This incident began a multi-agency approach to safety improvements, including between the Madera Unified School District, Police Department, CHP and Madera. Helmuth stated that even with the added safety measures, the same result may have occurred. The agencies agree to pursue grants, as this is estimated to be a $400,000 project. The next meeting is slated on Nov. 28. 
    • There was a case study conducted for a crosswalk requested by Sherman Thomas Charter School. Staff began analyzing the location for the accident history, pedestrian volume and traffic volume. There was sufficient pedestrian traffic found to warrant a crosswalk to be added. The high-visibility crosswalk was installed on Sept. 25 with shark teeth yield lines, advanced warning signs and a school zone speed limit. 
    • Council member Rodriguez asked “Do we collect data for Madera’s needs? We are reacting to something that happened when we should be proactive.” Helmuth said it is costly to collect the data. 
    • said “Do we value the dollars or the life of a child?” 
    • Mejia said the year she ran for office, she found out her cousin was killed by a vehicle while crossing the crosswalk. Mejia asked that adding photos to show what these methods look like would have made reading the 50-page report easier. Helmuth’s staff showed photos of the safety methods after this comment was made. 
    • Gallegos said the public needs to be educated on how to follow the signs because one person may stop before the shark teeth while another may stop over the shark teeth. 
    • Council member Rodriguez said the city needs to engage with the school district. 
    • Helmuth said he believes the city should have rigid guidelines for crosswalks so that a crosswalk is not added every 300 feet if requested by the public.  
    • Garcia recommended that staff put together a proposal so that the council can provide feedback, rather than the open discussion they had.
    • Helmuth said “Crosswalks do not change the behavior of pedestrians, in fact they may make it worse. Drivers still may not see pedestrians while they cross the street.” 
  • Madera County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Darren Rose provided an update on the Madera EDC.
    • Rose said they send out monthly electronic newsletters, which has over 1,200 subscribers. He attended trade shows and mentioned there is national interest in Madera for retail, after getting direction from City Manager Rodriguez to focus on business expansion in Madera. Rose stated the California unemployment rate is at 4.9% and the current Madera County unemployment rate is at 6.6%. There were 3,202 renewals issued for business licenses this fiscal year, with 145 new applicants. There are a number of projects the Madera ECD is working on, including Dutch Bros, In-N-Out, Country Club Shopping Center, AG Machining, Amond World and North Fork Mono Resort. 
    • Galegos asked if Darren could invite the city manager to the trade shows. Rose said he does his best to represent the city and that he CC’s the city manager when he attends the trade shows. 
    • A member of the public asked how many of the 145 applicants are smoke shops? Rose said he did not have that information. 
    • Garcia asked Rose to make the Madera EDC website more accessible, user-friendly and appealing for the public. 
  • The council then provided their reports.
    • Gallegos thanked all of the city staff. 
    • Council member Rodriguez thanked the city staff and council for hosting the CTC event. He asked if at a future meeting, the council and staff could assess their public transportation modes. He also asked if there is an ordinance regarding panhandlers. He congratulated the new police chief.
    • Montes said no one came to his house on Halloween because of the trunk or treat events. He also said he wants to be a supporter of peace. 
    • Evans said it is the season of giving, and he has a goal of distributing food bags for families during the holidays. The Breast Cancer Awareness Month event was held and three people were awarded. The Christmas Extravaganza event in December is coming up. 
    • Mejia said the Guelaguetza event was successful, with over 5,000 people in attendance. She attended Chiaramonte’s induction service where there was a packed house. 
    • Villegas said he is part of the environmental group for the League of California Cities. 
    • Garcia said that November is Domestic Violence Awareness month. He said he is excited to see more Dia de los Muertos events in the community as it continues to be accepted. 
  • The council went into closed session at 8:17 p.m. and returned from closed session at 9:12 p.m. 
  • With no further discussion, Garcia adjourned the meeting at 9:12 p.m. The next council meeting is scheduled for Nov. 15. 

Conversation highlight

  • “Do we value the dollars or the life of a child?” asked Council member Anita Evans

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