MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
November 3, 1999
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
Chairperson Laws called the meeting to order at 12:06 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hauck, Hanson, Wheeldon, and Fine were present. Mayor Shaw arrived late. Staff present: Assistant City Administrator Greg Scoles, Public Works Director Paula Brown, Director of Community Development John McLaughlin, and Parks Director Ken Mickelsen.
Assistant City Administrator Greg Scoles that the item councilors had received summarizing the strategic planning session was preliminary information. Scoles explained that once this information can be looked at further, a piece discussing the preliminary goals will be prepared for an upcoming issue of the Ashland City Source.
DISCUSSION: PROPOSED CENTRAL ASHLAND BIKEPATH & GREENWAY EXTENSIONS
Public Works Director Paula Brown reviewed the status of the Central Ashland Bikepath (CAB) extension, as well as that of the Bear Creek Greenway. Noted that large maps had been placed on the wall for council viewing, and discussed the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission’s proposal for a extension of the CAB from Eighth Street at the Rail Road Park.
Brown noted that the CAB is complete from Eighth Street to Tolman Creek Road, and explained that signage is being placed to identify the path and crossings. Emphasized that both the Traffic Safety Commission and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission have met to discuss aspects of the CAB, and the newly completed bikeway is receiving heavy use.
Brown further explained that the proposed extension of the CAB at Eighth Street would give cyclists the option to go behind the Railroad Park to either Fourth or Sixth Streets, rather than crossing at Eighth. Brown pointed out that Director of Community Development John McLaughlin, is working on including the extension of the CAB in the plans for development of the Rail Road property. Noted that one concern had been raised over possible conflicts created by stopped train cars at this site.
Brown informed council that McLaughlin had obtained Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) grant monies to look at options for this area, and emphasized that at this time, the only thing "written in stone" is the Transportation Systems Plan (TSP). Brown confirmed that the TSP shows the CAB with a connection at Fourth Street. Brown emphasized that there is no staff preference for Fourth Street versus Sixth Street. She also stated that there are eventual hopes for a connection to Oak Street. Brown explained that full, striped bike lanes are on the roadway at Hersey Street, and with an Oak Street connection these will provide an avenue to the Greenway (Hersey to Oak to Nevada to the Dog Park to the Greenway). Brown emphasized that the purpose of today’s discussion is to provide a "big picture" view of the CAB and Greenway.
Wheeldon emphasized that there is a need for a crossing at Sixth Street rather than Fourth. McLaughlin pointed out that because of the limited availability of grant funds, timing of the extension of the CAB will likely depend upon the pattern of development in the area. Explained that if there were a master plan in place, development could be required to provide the extension as part of the necessary infrastructure for new construction.
McLaughlin pointed out that the railroad is opposed to a Fourth Street crossing. Brown explained for Fine that it would be impossible to do a bicycles-only crossing, and emphasized that the railroad has been opposed to any new crossing. McLaughlin explained this further, noting that there is a federal mandate to reduce the number of rail crossings. McLaughlin suggested that while there may be some possibility of trading a crossing here for the elimination of an existing crossing elsewhere in the city, there was little likelihood of adding an additional crossing. McLaughlin also explained that there has been some support at the state level, but emphasized that it was his belief that realistically the number of different regulatory agencies that would need to be involved would create difficulty with a crossing here.
Brown noted on the map that there was also difficulty with a crossing at Water Street. It was suggested that a more suitable location for a crossing would be to use Hersey Street or Van Ness Avenue as a means to connect the sections of the CAB. Brown explained that the yellow lines on the map were future possibilities, and stated that easements and rights-of-way were not yet set.
Discussed the possibility of future development of the Billings property at the north end of town. It was noted that there was a likelihood that development here would provide for a CAB connection. Brown also pointed out that there is a need for storm drains to be addressed here, due to field flooding.
Brown noted city staff has not focused on a Greenway connection, as they have been working on the CAB itself. Brown noted that she has worked with Croman and LTM to look at CAB extensions at these sites. McLaughlin also noted that the section of the Greenway at North Mountain Avenue will be within the city limits. McLaughlin emphasized that 60-70% of the necessary easements have been obtained in this area, and that other property owners seem willing to provide them and will be contacted. Brown noted that staff will be working to involve both Jackson County and Rogue Valley Action Committee for Transportation (RVACT) in providing support for the Greenway and CAB extensions within Ashland.
Brown noted that an extension of the CAB at West Nevada Street will come when Mountain Avenue is extended. Brown explained for Reid that the bridge here is included in the current six year plan, and McLaughlin noted that this will be funded by the recent transportation SDC increase.
Brown noted that the next step has to do with easement acquisition.
Laws emphasized that there is a need for the council to remain flexible as new developments occur, and not to become too attached to one particular vision. Laws questioned what will occur with the Siskiyou Boulevard design work that was done by the previous committee, now that a jurisdictional exchange is being considered. Brown explained that the previous design work will provide a starting point, and that she would suggest reconvening the committee to move ahead with further design work, taking into account changes that have occurred since their previous efforts. Brown also noted that she will be bringing back information on the jurisdictional exchange issue to a later meeting.
DISCUSSION: LOCAL IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT (LID) PROPOSALS AND PROGRESS FOR FY ‘00
Brown explained that this update was being provided to council at the request of administration, to explain how the current process is working and what is on the list of projects. Brown emphasized that things change as new proposals are made by members of the community. Noted that the Penny/Palmer LID is coming before the council in early December, for construction in the spring of 2000. Brown clarified that the city portion of the project will be 40% of the cost listed.
Brown also noted the success of the Central Avenue LID, which had only one property owner involved, and stated that there has been interest expressed by developers in the Strawberry Lane area.
Laws agreed to moving the projects in Brown’s council communication to first priority. Brown emphasized that staff doesn’t have a priority, and without council direction, will not establish priority but will continue to move ahead with projects as previously planned.
Reid emphasized the need to move ahead, but recognized that there are concerns with growth in the Strawberry Lane area.
Laws stated his support for the plan. Brown noted she will bring concerns to council when heavily traveled streets need to be addressed.
Fine asked for some guidance relative to sidewalk policy, and explained he would be attending a meeting of the Penny/Palmer neighbors. Noted that they would like to pay for sidewalks now, but not have the sidewalks put in until development requires their placement. Council discussed the difficulty with putting in sidewalks once vegetation is established and agreements are forgotten. Shaw stated her belief that all sidewalks need to go in up front. Wheeldon agreed, noting that sidewalks can be built as a placeholder for eventual connections.
Laws questioned changing ordinance relative to vegetation growth in the easement. McLaughlin noted that the current ordinance prevents this, but that difficulty arises in enforcement.
Reid questioned the possibility of taking money for sidewalks in neighborhoods where sidewalks are not a priority now, and using the money now where they are a high priority. Shaw suggested that this would not be perceived well by the community. McLaughlin emphasized that even if they only cover short distances, sidewalks have usefulness within neighborhoods.
Brief council discussion of the passage of the library and fire station measures in the recent election. Noted that the final voter turnout was 56.7%. Discussed the possibility of using the Hillah Temple as a temporary library branch, during construction at the Carnegie site.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:04 p.m.
Submitted by Derek Severson, Assistant to the City Recorder