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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Community Development, 51 Winburn Way



Attendees: Tom Burnham, John Gaffey, Eric Heesacker, Julia Sommer, Colin Swales (Interim Chair), Brent Thompson, Matt Warshawsky, David Young


Ex Officio Members: Mike Faught, David Chapman, Derek Severson, Larry Blake,

                                   Nathan Broom, Eve Woods, Steve MacLennan

Staff Present: Jim Olson, Nancy Slocum


I.                CALL TO ORDER: 6:00 PM



Thompson moved to approve the minutes of March 26, 2009 as submitted. Swales seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.    


III.            PUBLIC FORUM

John Olson, 102 Garfield, took issue with the design of the traffic lights at Wightman, Indiana and Siskiyou. He noted that pedestrians were at danger when vehicles make a left hand turn. For pedestrian crossing Siskiyou, he recommended a “Look both ways even with the crosswalk light is on”-type of sign. John Olson also recommended the formation of a “Health and Safety Commission” to prioritize safety issues. He noted an example in San Francisco where all four corners of an intersection get the “walk” light at the same time.


Egon Dubois, 381 W Nevada, read the Transportation Growth Management grant application in the Commission packet. He recommended the Commission read the first page of the application as it succinctly stated Ashland’s values and goals.


Dubois also had several bicycle and pedestrian comments or recommendations: four skateboard lockers were purchased by City to be installed at the library and downtown, they have yet to be installed; recommendation for signage on Helman showing the current route to the Greenway/bikeway; asked that Willow Wind School Student Safety be placed on the Commission agenda; suggested yellow or orange tactile warning systems at intersections for the benefit of the sight impaired.



            Agenda item “SOU Master Plan” was moved to the top of the agenda.


V.              BUSINESS

            A.  SOU Master Plan

Mr. Eric Ridenour with SERA Architects presented SOU’s draft master plan to the Planning Commission on March 31st and summarized his presentation for the Commission. SOU’s future plans included a new residential hall on the east side of Siskiyou along Ashland Street. SERA, SOU’s consultant, suggested three options to make crossing Siskiyou safer for students including: a minor redesign of the Indiana/Wightman/Siskiyou intersection, making University Way a two way street, and constructing an overpass or underpass. Blake stated SOU’s commitment to reduce CO2 emissions.


Gaffey noted that ODOT and the Transportation Commission should be involved early in the planning process. Faught agreed and recommended SOU hire a traffic engineer to study access management options. Faught noted that the City would eventually require a Traffic Impact Analysis. Severson said that SOU’s Master Plan would be used by the Planning Department to look at SOU and adjacent property’s future development plans as a whole. This would allow SOU to move forward with development in a timely manner.


Swales thought the master plan did not consider potential changes to Siskiyou Boulevard that may include a road diet, roundabout, etc. Gaffey agreed on the need for a long range plan for the intersection. Blake reported that SOU was taking the master plan back to the Planning Commission in June or July. SOU’s website had an opportunity for the public to comment on the master plan.


Heesacker thought the master plan should be reviewed within the context of current data and standards. Swales recommended a joint study session with the Planning Commission to study implications of the master plan.


B.      Election of Chair and Vice Chair

Burnham nominated Swales for Commission Chair for a term to end April 30, 2010. Heesacker seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.


Young nominated Sommers for Vice Chair. Warshawsky seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. The Vice Chair would become the Chair in May, 2010.


C.      Bicyclists’ Bill of Rights / “Taking the Lane”

Severson reported that in 2008 the now disbanded Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission recommended that AMC Section 11.52.030.E (Traffic Regulations) be amended to be in accordance with with Oregon’s “Taking the Lane” codes. The revised ordinance would remove the requirement that bicycles ride ont the right-hand side of the street within five feet of the curb. Oregon law provides that bicyclists have a right to take the entire traffic lane while maintaining the normal speed of traffic; if they go slower the bicyclist must proceed as close as practical to the right side of a two-way road.


Burnham moved to support the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission’s recommendation and direct staff to forward recommendation to Council for approval. Young seconded the motion and it passed 7 to 1.


Warshawsky amended the motion striking the first paragraph referring to the “Bicyclist Bill of Rights.” within the draft ordinance (“Bicyclists Taking the Lane: AMC 11.52.030.E”). Thompson seconded the amended motion and it passed unanimously.


D.    “Safe Routes to School” Program



E.     Transit and RVTD Update

Faught informed the Commission that the RVTD subsidy contract was up for renewal and going before Council on May 5th. The City currently pays $1.50 of the standard $2.00 fare (riders pay $0.50), and $3.00 of the standard $4.00 fee for Valley Lift para-transit services (the rider pays $1.00).  The current contract also stipulates that the City will pay net operating costs ($18.31) of the Valley Lift services for ridership above 9,800 rides. RVTD’s new proposal would  reduce the amount the City pays to $1.00 of the standard $2.00 fare (riders pay $1.00), and $2.00 of the standard $4.00 fee for Valley Lift para-transit services (the rider pays $2.00) and the City will pay net operating costs ($18.31) of the Valley Lift services for ridership above 9,800 rides. Staff is recommending that the new two year contract reinstate Route 5 (as Route 15) 10 hours per day, reduce the subsidy within Ashland to 50%, and allocate $260,000 to transportation services in the FY2010 budget. Faught would like to get comments from the Commission.


Sommers agreed with staff that this option was the best of those offered, but she would like to see the bus run for 13 hours per day. Burnham agreed. Woods said SOU students make up a third of the ridership. She would like to see evening service as well.


Faught would take these comments to Council and invited Commissioners to leave additional comments on the website.


F.     2010 Street Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)




·        Young reminded the Commission of the upcoming Bike Swap on May 9th at the Grove. Heesacker and Burnham volunteered to help with the swap.


VI.            ADJOURN:  9:00 PM





Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Slocum, Accounting Clerk I


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