Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Minutes
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL STUDY SESSION
Wednesday, July 21, 2004 at 12:00 p.m.
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

CALL TO ORDER
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 12:03 p.m.

ATTENDANCE
Councilor Jackson, Morrison, Laws and Amarotico were present. Councilor Hartzell and Hearn were absent.
Public Works Director Paula Brown and Community Development Director John McLaughlin were present.

I.    Update of Railroad Crossing Evaluation.
Public Works Director Paula Brown introduced Assistant Engineer Karl Johnson, who will be assisting with the improvement projects. Ms. Brown explained the City hired the engineering firm HDR to evaluate the railroad crossings, and noted this item is one of the Council Goals. Staff is seeking Council's input on the rankings and need for improvements.

There are a total of nine "at-grade" crossings in Ashland, located at: Glenn Street, Laurel/Hersey Streets, Helman Street, Oak Street, N. Mountain Ave., E. Main Street, Wightman Street, Walker Ave. and Tolman Creek Road. The crossing at Crosson Road was not included in this report because it lies outside the Ashland City Limits.

Ms. Brown gave a brief summary of the conditions and recommendations for each crossing:

Glenn Street Crossing
Single track crossing with passive protection. Sight distance is poor due to the curvature of the track and the crossing is located in a residential area with single-family homes and apartments. Suggested improvements include significant road work to meet standards, active signal protection and concrete panels for both road and sidewalks. It was noted this crossing has some potential for closing.

Helman Street Crossing
Two track crossing with active protection. Sight distance is poor to the north due to buildings and the crossing is located in a mixed-use commercial, industrial and residential zone. Pedestrian panels have been installed on the north side. Suggested improvements include significant road work to meet standards, new active signal protection and concrete panels for the road and south sidewalk.

Laurel/Hersey Crossing
Ms. Brown stated this is the most awkward of the crossings, as the track crosses the intersection at an angle. There is passive protection and sight distance is poor to the north due to vegetation. The track is located in a mixed residential and industrial area. Suggested improvements include significant road work to meet standards, active signal protection and concrete panels for both road and sidewalks.

E. Main Crossing
Single track crossing with active protection. Sight distance is poor due to vegetation and fencing and the crossing is located in a mixed-use area. Ms. Brown noted the bike path scheduled to go in and stated the City has applied for a grant to assist with the cost. Suggested improvements include some road work to meet standards, new active signal protection and concrete panels for both road and sidewalks.

N. Mountain Crossing
Two track crossing with active protection. Sight distance is poor due to buildings and the steep vertical approach from the east. The tracks are located in a mixed-use commercial and residential area. Ms. Brown noted this crossing has high pedestrian use due to the bike path. Suggested improvements include minor road work to meet standards, new active signal protection and concrete panels for both road and sidewalks.

Oak Crossing
Two track crossing with active protection on one side only. Sight distance is poor and tracks are located in a mixed-use commercial, industrial and residential area. There are no pedestrian crossing panels located at this crossing, which forces pedestrians onto the street in order to cross. Suggested improvements include minor road work on Van Ness, new active signal protection and concrete panels for both road and sidewalks.

Tolman Creek Crossing
Single track crossing with active protection. Sight distance is poor and track is located in a mixed-use residential, commercial and industrial area. Ms. Brown noted crosswalk panels have been installed due to heavy pedestrian use. Suggested improvements include new active signal protection and concrete panels for the road.

Walker Crossing
Single track crossing with active protection. Sight distance is poor and crossing is located in a mixed-use area. There is high pedestrian use due to its proximity to schools and the ball fields. Suggested improvements include minor road work to meet standards, new active signal protection and concrete panels for both road and sidewalks.

Wightman Crossing
Single track crossing with passive protection. Sight distance is poor and track resides in a residential area. This crossing is considered to have very low use from an ADT standpoint and was recommended for closure by the consultants. Should Council decide to keep this crossing open, suggested improvements would include significant road work to meet standards, active signal protection and concrete panels for both road and sidewalks.

The tracks were ranked for improvements in the following order, based on their use, proximity to schools/services, and safety concerns:

1. East Main Street 0 4. Oak Street 0 7. Helman Street
2. Tolman Creek Road 5. Walker Avenue 8. Wightman Street
3. N. Mountain Avenue 6. Hersey Street 9. Glenn Street

Ms. Brown explained that in order to meet the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) standards, the City would likely be required to grade the road 100-200 feet on both sides of the track. Ms. Brown explained there is not adequate funding in the Street Program to complete this work, and the consultants have estimated a cost of $800,000 per track to perform the suggested improvements. Several funding options were noted, including Section 130 Program, Surface Transportation Program, CMAQ, OTIA III, Transportation Enhancement Funds and ODOT Bike/Ped Grants. Ms. Brown noted that OTIA III funds are the most promising source of funding.

Ms. Brown commented on the Laurel/Hersey crossing, stating she would like to move this area into a design phase and feels the upgrades are needed to address immediate safety concerns.

Council questioned if the City could install the bicycle and pedestrian crossing panels first, and wait to perform the other improvements. Staff stated this is a possibility, however if the City receives federal funding, than all of the required improvements will need to be completed. Staff added the cost for installing pedestrian crossing panels is $60,000 per track.

Council questioned who would be held liable if someone was injured on the tracks and suggested that City Attorney Mike Franell look into this issue.

Council suggested soliciting public input early in the planning process.

Mayor DeBoer suggests that signage be put up notifying pedestrians and drivers the first few weeks trains resume running. Mayor DeBoer also expressed his support of installing pedestrian crossing panels.

Staff explained the benefits of working with a consultant, and noted working directly with the railroad can be difficult.

Meeting Adjourned at 1:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
April Lucas, Assistant to City Recorder

End of Document - Back to Top


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