Legislature(2013 - 2014)BARNES 124
03/12/2013 01:00 PM TRANSPORTATION
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* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 153-NAMING WALTER J. HICKEL EXPRESSWAY 1:05:15 PM CHAIR P. WILSON announced that the first order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 153, "An Act designating Minnesota Drive and a portion of O'Malley Road in Anchorage the Walter J. Hickel Expressway." 1:05:35 PM REPRESENTATIVE BOB LYNN, speaking as the bill sponsor, stated that HB 153 would name a portion of Minnesota Drive in Anchorage the Walter J. Hickel Expressway. He explained that Mr. Hickel was the U.S. Secretary of Interior and was twice governor of Alaska. One of Mr. Hickel's roles was to oversee the permitting process and so it is appropriate to name a portion of Minnesota Drive after Mr. Walter J. Hickel. 1:06:59 PM FORREST WOLFE, Staff, Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska State Legislature, stated that it is fitting that this heavily trafficked area of roadway be named after Mr. Walter J. Hickel. 1:08:37 PM REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON asked whether the Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) has a view of this action. MR. WOLFE answered that in the past the MOA has been in favor of naming the roadway after Mr. Hickel. REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON asked whether he was referring to a similar measure last year that died in the Senate Finance committee. MR. WOLFE agreed, but was unsure of why the bill didn't pass. He deferred to MR. Wickersham. 1:09:29 PM SCOTT THOMAS, Traffic Engineer, Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) stated that O'Malley Road curves around from the Hillside and becomes Minnesota at Old Seward Highway and then at Tudor Road it becomes a six-lane highway. Additionally, the road is partly an expressway 15th Avenue to New Seward Highway. He agreed it is possible to put in signs as per the fiscal note. 1:11:25 PM CHAIR P. WILSON asked whether there is any reason not to rename the entire roadway. REPRESENTATIVE LYNN said not too many personal addresses are on the current Minnesota Drive although 15th Avenue has some businesses and addresses. 1:12:31 PM REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON referred to the fiscal note which requires two signs, one sign in each route direction will introduce the expressway. He related that the fiscal note indicates the memorial sign should be located at an appropriate location in each route direction as an independent sign installation. He interpreted this to mean the bill would not change the roadway name but would memorialize a section of the road. REPRESENTATIVE LYNN recalled a similar situation in which the Eisenhower Highway or bypass was named, as well. He acknowledged this would be a memorial to Mr. Hickel, but he also thought it would also change the addresses for those residences and businesses on Minnesota Drive. 1:13:39 PM REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON asked whether the "A" street designation is still known as "A" street and not as Eisenhower [Corridor]. REPRESENTATIVE LYNN offered his belief that it is known as the Eisenhower Corridor. He explained that the proposed roadway is from 15th Street, which turns south and east and becomes O'Malley Drive once it passes Seward Highway. REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON stated that the Eisenhower Corridor is still referred to as "A" Street. He asked whether this memorial designation would be known as the Walter Hickel Expressway, but it wouldn't change the name. REPRESENTATIVE LYNN said he thought it would change the name of the highway. 1:15:04 PM CHAIR P. WILSON asked whether it would be easier to rename Minnesota Drive to the Walter J. Hickel Expressway and only change the single designation rather than individual addresses. REPRESENTATIVE LYNN pointed out that north of 15th Street the roadway would remain as Minnesota Drive. CHAIR P. WILSON asked whether it would create any problem to change Minnesota Drive to the Walter J. Hickel Expressway. REPRESENTATIVE LYNN responded that if the committee chose to do so it would be fine with him. He just would like to minimize any cost. CHAIR P. WILSON thought it would be easier and less expensive [to have the memorial roadway]. SCOTT THOMAS, Engineer, Division of Statewide Design & Engineering Services, Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF), concurred that the fiscal note was calculated for two signs to designate the highway as a memorial name, but not to change all of the street sign names such as the ones on top of stop signs or signal poles. He stated that the cost would be significantly higher to go through the proposed corridor and replace the name of Minnesota Drive on all signs. CHAIR P. WILSON remarked that Mr. Thomas is confirming Representative Isaacson's view that one sign would be at each end to designate a memorial name; however, the sponsor indicated he wanted to change the entire drive. REPRESENTATIVE LYNN responded that he is satisfied with the two signs as a memorial. 1:17:33 PM REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS recalled she previously served on a team to address this. She further recalled that the team planned to honor former Governor Hickel in a memorial fashion rather than to rename the road. She did not think it was ever the intention to rename the road. REPRESENTATIVE LYNN deferred to Mr. Wickersham as the resident expert on this. 1:18:55 PM CHAIR P. WILSON reiterated that the bill sponsor, Representative Lynn, is fine with the memorial limited to two signs. REPRESENTATIVE LYNN answered yes. CHAIR P. WILSON said the fiscal note is correct. 1:19:29 PM REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON understood this would not change residential or business addresses. REPRESENTATIVE LYNN interjected that he recalled Mr. Wickersham was concerned about the signage, too. He reiterated that keeping costs down was important to him such that it would not exceed $15,000. 1:20:08 PM CHAIR P. WILSON reiterated that two signs according to the fiscal note will be fine as a memorial. MR. THOMAS understood the signs would be the typical brown [memorial] signs. He compared this to Knik-Goose Bay Road, which has Joe Redington, Sr. Memorial Road signs at the beginning and end, yet residence and business addresses did not change. He brought up a point of clarification. He said it is an honor to put up the signs to each person, but the specific signage phrasing reads expressway. He pointed out some community councils have been concerned about speed. He explained the roadway is a controlled highway through Westchester Lagoon with a median and continues through midtown with driveways and six-lane urban arterials. He was unsure if the title expressway conveys the message of limited speed until the roadway changes south of Tudor Road. He asked for direction on the signage wording. 1:21:42 PM REPRESENTATIVE LYNN, as sponsor, said he would be happy to change it to highway rather than an expressway. MR. THOMAS said from the department's perspective the sign could read expressway, highway, or roadway. REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS asked to also consider calling it a parkway. MR. THOMAS agreed that parkway would also work in terms of sign spacing. He merely thought it might be best if it were different than expressway south of 15th. CHAIR P. WILSON read, "... Minnesota Drive and the portion of O'Malley Road in Anchorage from Minnesota Drive to the New Seward Highway are designated as the Walter J. Hickel ..." She suggested the committee consider highway, roadway, and parkway. MR. WOLFE suggested corridor should also be considered. REPRESENTATIVE LYNN suggested anything other than expressway seemed appropriate. 1:23:33 PM REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON asked whether the department has a differentiation between names. MR. SCOTT said that parkway or corridor would work, but expressway has an obvious meaning. He referred to similar roadways, such as the Eisenhower Corridor or "A" Street, and Lake Otis Parkway, which is a five-lane arterial. Thus the term parkway and corridor are very flexible terms, as well as highway. In further response to Chair Wilson, he reiterated Lake Otis is a parkway. REPRESENTATIVE LYNN said he is comfortable with either corridor or parkway. 1:24:53 PM REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS moved to adopt Amendment 1, to change the proposed name from Walter J. Hickel Expressway to the Walter J. Hickel Parkway. CHAIR P. WILSON assumed Amendment 1 would change line 2, 5 and 7 of the bill. 1:25:28 PM REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS restated her motion. She made a motion to adopt Amendment 1, which would amend the language of HB 153 on lines 2, 5, and 7, from "Walter J. Hickel Expressway" to read "Walter J. Hickel Parkway." REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE objected for the purpose of discussion. He said naming a road depends on the part of the country as to the name of a roadway. He suggested that parkways were typically roads on the East Coast and were limited to cars. Expressways were limited-access highways, without numerous streets, although he did not have a preference. He suggested if expressway was used it should be limited to the portion of Minnesota Drive from Tudor Road to Old Seward. 1:27:35 PM REPRESENTATIVE GATTIS understood the distinction between highway and expressway, but she wanted to avoid the connotation of high speed. CHAIR P. WILSON offered her belief that corridor implies speed. REPRESENTATIVE FEIGE removed his objection. There being no further objection, Conceptual Amendment 1 was adopted. 1:28:38 PM REPRESENTATIVE ISAACSON moved to report HB 153, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal note. There being no objection the CSHB 153(TRA) was reported from the House Transportation Standing Committee.