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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Community Development, 51 Winburn Way



Attendees: Tom Burnham, Brent Thompson, Julia Sommer, Colin Swales (Interim Chair),

                  Matt Warshawsky, Eric Heesacker,

Absent: John Gaffey, David Young

Ex Officio Members: Mike Faught, David Chapman, Derek Severson, Steve MacLennan,

                                   Scott Hollingsworth, Larry Blake, Nathan Broom and Jenna Stanke

Staff Present: Karl Johnson, Jim Olson, Nancy Slocum



            Introductions were made. There is one vacancy on the Commission that is expected to be filled soon.

A.     Election of Officers

Commission decided to appoint an interim Chair as new Commission Chairs were historically elected at each May’s commission meeting. Warshawsky moved to appoint Swales as interim chair. Burnham seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

B.     Appointment of Traffic Subcommittee

Sommer asked whether the Chair or Staff sets the Subcommittee’s agenda. Faught explained the Subcommittee’s role was to make recommendations on routine traffic issues. The agenda would include staff reports. Faught noted that any Commissioner could recommend an item for the Subcommittee agenda. Swales wondered if there was an appeal process that would bring items to the full Transportation Commission. Faught said that although there was no appeal process, the subcommittee can refer major issues to the full Commission. Olson used the example of the Dollarhide neighborhood continuing concerns about speeding. This item has taken a lot of staff time in the past and staff could make the decision without taking the Subcommittee’s time.


Appointment of members would be tabled until a permanent Chair was chosen.


II.              PUBLIC FORUM

Egon Dubois, 381 W Nevada, had read and liked the ordinance. He thought the Commission’s mission should be followed up with a formal protocol. He thought a list of transportation needs that could be prioritized and added to was essential to achieving some of the Commission’s goals. He would like to see the Commission proactive with each member given a specific assignment. He used Corvallis, Bend and Portland as examples. He wondered why Ashland is a “more auto dependent” city as stated in the Comprehensive Plan.


Steve Ryan, 801 Siskiyou, presented the Commission with a 1952 Special Citation for “No Pedestrian Deaths or Injuries.” The award was found in an attic and donated to the Commission by Nancie Ozimkowski.


Kat Smith, RVTD and Ashland resident, reported that RVTD had many programs encouraging people to use an alternative to cars. They are cosponsoring the Bike Swap. RVTD was the first in Oregon to institute “Walking Wednesday” to encourage elementary school children to walk to school. She is working with the City’s GIS department on a “Safe Routes to Schools” map for Helman School. RVTD also works on grant applications, “Walk a bike to School” day, free helmets and school safety presentations. Smith looks forward to seeing the work the Commission does.




IV.            BUSINESS

A.     Questions regarding the Commission’s Role

B.     Set Commission Schedule and Venue

Commission chose the third Thursday of each month at 6:00 pm as their regular meeting time. The Siskiyou Room at 51 Winburn Way was chosen as the venue.


C.     Commissioner Packets

1.      Background and Supporting Documents

Slocum asked what type of educational / background information would be helpful to the Commission. Commission requested a notebook for each Commissioner that contained the current Transportation System Plan (TSP), the updated Chapters 6 and 9 from HDR, the Transportation Element of the Comprehensive Plan, the ordinance forming the Commission, the final Regional Transportation Plan Update and any other background information Staff deemed important.


2.      Process for dissemination

The Commission requested that paper copies of the packets be mailed as well as being posted on-line. They also requested that the background documents or links be posted on the City website.


D.    Topics for Future Discussion

1.      TSP Update: History & Immediate Goals

Faught explained the difference between the recent TSP update of Chapters 6 and 9 and the planned comprehensive TSP. (One half of the cost of the full TSP update has been applied for through the Transportation Growth Management grant.) The limited update was completed by HDR and includes an update of CIP projects and a transit review. The Council asked that staff see the limited update through the Comprehensive change process. This could take somewhere between several months to one year.


Sommer asked how transportation projects are funded. Faught said primarily through SDCs and developer’s money conditioned at the time of Planning Commission approval. Swales wondered why, if the assumptions used for the two chapter update are incorrect, the update is moving forward. Faught said that the updates will increase the amount of SDCs the City can charge and update the street standards (“green” street standards). Faught said staff will do a presentation on Chapters 6 and 9 in the near future.


2.      2009-2034 Regional Transportation Plan Update Draft

Chapman noted that the RVCOG Regional Transportation Plan had just been adopted. Although there are no mandatory rules, the recommendations could assist Ashland. In addition the plan allows for regional coordination and improvement of air quality. The regional plan used the assumption that in 50 years the population of the Rogue Valley will double. The plan estimates where the areas of growth will most likely be.


Chapman thought the City’s TSP should be more progressive than the region’s (e.g. there are plans for two rail stops in Ashland).




·        The Commission received a letter from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. This organization teaches children bicycle and pedestrian safety in Ashland. As they have worked closely with the Bike and Pedestrian Commission, they would like continued support from the Transportation Commission.


·        Egon Dubois announced that the Bike Swap is Saturday May 9, 2009 from noon to 2 pm at the Grove (1195 E. Main Street). The purpose of the Bike Swap is to buy or sell new or used bikes, bike parts or skateboards. The money raised at the event funds bicycle education and safety equipment. Dubois asked for volunteers to help fix up donated bikes.


·        Jenna Stanke, Jackson County Road Liaison, announced the Rogue Valley Summit on Tuesday, March 24th. In addition, Jackson County Roads and Parks are updating the bike map that will be on sale at local bike shops. Other plans include a “Bike to Work Fair.”


·        Olson distributed an ODOT North Ashland Interchange – Green Springs Project pamphlet regarding the construction improvements to Interstate 5 Exits 14 and 19. Improvement drawings are expected on the ODOT website soon. Olson would ask Gary Lemming to make a future presentation to the Commission. Faught would also like to schedule a presentation on access management.


·        Heesacker asked about the status of the Frequently Asked Questions planned for the website. The questions would perhaps save staff time by referring people to the website. Slocum was assigned the task and, although was working on federal stimulus grant applications, would move this item up in priority.


·        Olson was asked about timing for the construction of the redesigned Siskiyou / Garfield intersection. Olson noted that construction would begin on or around June 14th when SOU spring quarter ends. SOU and the City decided it was too dangerous for pedestrians to work around the constructions.


·        Blake reported that he obtained federal stimulus money for the installation of SOU pedestrian scale lighting. He worked with Engineering Staff to demo other lighting options. He also reported that the Electric Department increased the wattage at Bridge Street and invited Commissioners to visit the intersection at night.



V.              ADJOURN:  9:00 PM


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