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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Community Development Building, 51 Winburn Way



Attendees: Tom Burnham, John Gaffey, Julia Sommer,

                  Colin Swales (Chair), Brent Thompson, Matt Warshawsky, David Young

Absent:      Eric Heesacker

Ex Officio Members:  Brandon Goldman, Larry Blake, Nathan Broom, Eve Woods, Steve MacLennan.

                  Scott Hollingsworth, David Chapman

Staff Present:  Jim Olson, Nancy Slocum


I.                CALL TO ORDER: 6:02 PM



Commission noted that Page 2 of 3 of the August minutes was missing from the packet. Two name changes were corrected. Commission will approve both Augusts’ and September’s minutes in October. Nathan Broom noted that the expansion of Paige Townsend’s presentation to the Commission in July, 2009 was not noted in August corrections. Slocum did not take minutes at that meeting, but would put something together on this for October’s packet.


III.            PUBLIC FORUM:

Egon Dubois asked the Commission to consider sponsoring the annual bike swap in the coming years as the now defunct Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission can no longer do it. He noted that there was not too much work involved: volunteers were in place; the Finance Department handled the money and checks collected; the Parks Department offered the use of a sound system, and the Police Department provided barricades. All funds collected go to the Bicycle Transportation Alliance for bike safety classes at Ashland’s elementary and middle school. Although Commission volunteers would be welcomed, they would not be required for the running of the bike swap.


Burnham noted that last year the Bike Swap had to hire staff from the Parks Department to handle money and they would like to eliminate that expense next year. Dubois said that although a paid coordinator was not ideal, Tracy Harding was too “burnt out” to do it for free. The bike swap traditionally happens in May, but August was being considered. Debois asked that it be placed on the October agenda. Commission agreed.



             No changes were suggested.


V.              ACTION ITEMS:

A.  Oak Street “Share the Road” Request

This issue was discussed at the February, 2008 meeting of the former Traffic Safety Commission. The TSC ultimately determined that the establishment of bike lanes was not practical because of inadequate street width on Oak Street and that alternate methods of bike safety should be researched. At last month’s Commission meeting Tom Burnham presented an option to designate Oak Street as a shared roadway and asked staff to recommend the best options.


A shared roadway is an approved MUTCD bike route designation open to motor vehicle travel and carrying no bicycle lane designation. According to research shared roads function best when the travel lanes are wider than the minimum standards and when vehicle speeds are 25 mph or lower. Shared roadways seem to function well on local streets, minor collectors and on low volume rural roads and highways. Mile per mile, shared roadways are the most common bikeway type. Because of all the traffic calming construction that took place on Oak Street in 1999, the current average speeds are close to the posted speed of 25 mph and the street meets the minimum criteria for a shared roadway.


There are two levels to which the shared facility can be designated: signage only (the standard) or signage plus pavement marking. The signs are MUTCD approved and are readily available. Standard pavement markings have been initiated, but are not yet standardized. Their markings include a 4 inch white stripe approximately 11’ from curb along the parking lane and a thermoplastic appliqué of a bicycle with two chevrons called a “Sharrow.” Due to the location of the Sharrow within the traffic lane, it is important that thermoplastic be used as paint would only last a few months. The estimated costs for the designation of a shared roadway along with staff’s recommendations follows:

1.      Signs:                                                    10 each @ $200 each = $2,000

2.      Lane Striping (not recommended):           2600 SF @ $0.75 / SF = $1,450

3.      Sharrows (not recommended):    12 each @ $150 each = $1,800 (Portland-set standard spacing)


Staff also questions which sections of Oak Street to designate as shared roadways


If cost was a concern, Burnham would prefer paint rather than nothing. Green paint was ruled out as too costly.


Public Testimony

Rick Berlet, 197 Timberlake, was formally from Chicago where Sharrows are common and effective in alerting cars to cyclists. He noted Ashland’s desire to be bike friendly yet it is currently lacking in the number of miles of bike lanes. Signs can make a difference and recommends their installation as soon as possible.


Mike Smith, 566 Hodson, Gold Hill, liked the yellow painted bike lanes on Siskiyou and agreed with Mr. Berlet.


Mary Pritchard, P O Box 3475, Ashland, favored making roads safer and preferred pavement markings.


Don Parker, 1538 Lilac, was an avid cyclist and also preferred pavement markings over signage.



Young moved to install signs, lane stripping and thermoplastic pavement markings on Oak Street between Lithia Way and Nevada Street. Burnham seconded the motion.



Young thought it very important to test the effectiveness of shared roadways. He thought this was a small investment in time and money and answered an important missing connection in Ashland.


Gaffey lived on Oak Street and was not in favor of more signs blocking visibility; he preferred Sharrows.

Olson noted that legally signs must be posted. He was concerned about cost, but noted that the Transportation Commission had a $4,000 budget that could be used toward the motion.


Amended Motion

Young amended his motion to earmark $2,000 of the Commission’s budget to be used toward this $5,250 project. He also volunteered to organize a fundraiser to help with expenses. Thompson seconded the motion.



Sommers recommended decreasing the number of signs. She would like to see the Sharrows used exclusively for a test case. Woods thought it appropriate to use $2,000, but not $4,000 as other important expenses may arise. She has seen the effectiveness of Sharrows in Washington. Broom thought Ashland could be a leader for the valley. Chapman suggested building a stencil to save money.


Warshawsky often bikes Oak Street. He noted that from the railroad tracks to Lithia Way was narrow; however, he thought the section from the railroad tracks to Nevada Street seemed unnecessary as it was wide. In order to save money, other areas in the city (e.g. A Street) could make better use of Sharrows.


Burnham thought it embarrassing that the money for this project could not come from a City account. Sommers agreed. Olson said no extra money was available and support from the Commission would be helpful.


Young thought this project would affect more people for each dollar spent.


Vote on the Amendment

Motion passed 4 to 3.


Vote on Original Motion

Motion passed 6 to 1.


B.  Will Dodge Way Update

Staff’s memo in the packet was for information only. After staff and alley users agreeed to prohibit vehicle stopping for approximately 100 feet from each end of the alley, further study resulted in a new staff recommendation that the easterly no stopping area (from First Street) be broken into two segments to accommodate existing loading and access points. From First Street the first 50 feet to be signed as no stopping followed by 50 feet of permitted loading zone followed by another 60 feet of no stopping area in front of the garages. After the Fire Department reviewed the proposed changes, it was determined fire code prohibited this configuration. The alley will stay as originally proposed.


Thompson attempted find other options, but was unsuccessful.


C.  Adoption of the Transportation System Plan Update Chapters 4, 6 and 9

Olson reported that a partial update of the City’s 1998 TSP was completed in 2008 by HDR Engineers, but was never formally adopted by the City Council. The update was only for Chapter 4 (Existing Conditions and Constraints), Chapter 6 (Identification of System Problems) and Chapter 9 (Needed Transportation Improvements) and an update to the transportation system development charges (SDC).


Under the direction of the City Council, the Public Works Department is currently soliciting proposals from a transportation engineering firm to facilitate presentations to this Commission, the Planning Commission and finally to the City Council (following Measure 56 requirements). A copy of the request for proposal (RFP) document was enclosed in the packet which further outlines the actions to be taken. Staff will keep the Commission updated.


A majority of the Commission thought a partial update was a waste of time and resources. Olson noted that although there were few new CIP projects added, the costs for all the projects needed to be updated.

Gaffey and Swales thought the City Council should reconsider adopting two TSPs. Chapman said it was up to Mike Faught to ask the Council to reconsider their original decision.


D.    Upcoming Amendment Chapter 2.04 Commissions, Committees and Boards

Councilor Chapman requested the City Council create a template that would unify the Council rules relating to commissions and liaisons. He asked the Commissioners to read the information provided in the packet and forward any comments to Diana Shiplet, the City Council and City Attorney, Richard Appicello. (Examples include: Should the Chair vote? Should a commissioner be removed without cause? Should Council Liaisons be a voting member?)


The Commission had questions specific to the Transportation Commission ordinance:

2.13.050 (B.) Membership - the Commission prefers that "Public Works Director shall determine what matters warrant SubCommittee involvement and meetings shall be convened on an as needed basis." be changed to that "Public Works and/or Transportation Commission shall determine what matters warrant..."


2.13.050 (C) Duties (1) at the end of the first (and last) paragraph the words "and safety concerns" be added to the end of the sentence.


Commission asked Slocum to forward suggestions for changes to the Transportation Commission to Diana Shiplet and Richard Appicello.


E.  Discussion of Transportation Commission Meeting Length

Sommers requested the Commission consider starting the meeting time at 5:30 pm ending at 7:30 pm. She also suggested a break during the meeting. She thought it would be easier on staff to begin earlier and that if the agenda did run over, the meeting would still end earlier. Warshawsky, Gaffey and Burnham agreed with Sommers. Woods thought 5:30 pm was too early to allow her to attend.


Swales suggested keeping the time the same and revisit the issue if the need arose.


F.  Volunteer Request for SOU New Student Events

Eve Woods, SOU Student Liaison, announced upcoming events that were in need of volunteers or were just events the Commission was invited to:

·     New Student Orientation – over 5500 students expected

·     Siskiyou Boulevard Crosswalks Sept 25th 1:30 pm -3:30 pm for Scavenger Hunt and escort students across the street

·     Salmon Bake BBQ, Sept 25th 5:15 pm-7 pm, cost is free

·     Football Game, Home Game, Sept 26th 4:45 pm tailgate party begins



A.      Swales noted that Larry Blake is the Planning Commission Liaison to the Commission. He asked for a volunteer commissioner to be a liaison to the Planning Commission. John Gaffey volunteered.

B.     I-5 Exits 14 and 19 Reconstruction – Tim Fletcher will give a presentation on the reconstruction of these two Ashland exits perhaps in October. David Young was on the aesthetic committee.

C.     David Chapman announced that Mike Faught, Art Anderson for ODOT road bikes during a recent rush hour to test current conditions and look at might be needed for the reconstruction planning.

D.    Nathan Broom, RVTD, announced all the events for “Try Transit Week” September 18-25, 2009. He also noted that the new service route and fees were now in effect.

E.     Woods asked the Transportation Commission to host a table at “Car Free Day” on Tuesday, September 22nd. Chapman and Burnham volunteered. Slocum would help collect maps, ODOT materials, etc.

F.     Commission would like to discuss whether to combine November and December meetings as the meetings occur close to the holidays.

G.    Gaffey asked staff to devise a way to track the effectiveness of the Commission’s decisions.

H.    Chapman reported that he taught a two hour bike handling class to Standing Stone employees.


VI.            ADJOURN:  7:55 PM


Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Slocum, Accounting Clerk I

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