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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Thursday, October 15, 2009

City Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street



Attendees: Tom Burnham, John Gaffey, Eric Heesacker, Steve Hauck, Colin Swales (Chair), Brent Thompson,

Absent:      Julia Sommer, Matt Warshawsky, David Young

Ex Officio Members:  Larry Blake, Nathan Broom, Scott Hollingsworth, David Chapman

Staff Present:  Mike Faught, Nancy Slocum


I.                CALL TO ORDER: 6:05 PM



Commission welcomed Steve Hauck as the newest Transportation Commissioner. Minutes of August 20, 2009 and September 17, 2009 were approved as submitted.


III.            PUBLIC FORUM:

No one spoke.



             Non Action Item D was cancelled as Commissioner Warshawsky was absent from the meeting.


V.              ACTION ITEMS:

A.  Oak Street Traffic Islands

Faught introduced Jim Hanks from JRH Engineering. Hanks is the City’s new consulting traffic engineer. Hanks reviewed the site and the traffic patterns at the intersection of Oak and Hersey Streets. He noted staff received complaints from drivers, especially truck drivers regarding the configuration of the cement islands. The current design does not meet the standard for traffic control device installation. In addition, the islands are planter boxes approximately 6” below the elevation of the curb and allows automobiles and trucks to get trapped making a minor crash into a more substantial collision.


The City is scheduled to remove one island to replace the storm drain. Hanks recommended removing all three islands; move existing stop signs to the right hand curb; and, if there is a delay in removing the islands; fill them with gravel to at least one inch from the top. Faught added that the pavement markings would need to be reconfigured and a long term solution added to the Capital Improvement Project list.


Burnham asked about accident date at the intersection. Hanks said no serious accidents were reported. Burnham recently observed the intersection and witnessed a large truck turning without a problem.


Public Comment

Egon DuBois wondered about the benefit of removing the islands if there was not a problem. He knew of only one business in the vicinity that used large trunks. He would like to have seen supporting data.


Faught said data was empirical evidenced by the tire marks on the islands. Chapman said that traffic counts tend to be older and perhaps not applicable to current conditions. He wondered about the cueing at the intersection. He would like to reduce pedestrian conflicts using two crosswalks constructing islands in more traditional locations.


Gaffey lived near intersection. He recalled a large number of vehicle accidents at that intersection, but not pedestrian accidents when the intersection was redesigned in 1999. He remembered that the intersection configuration was done as an experiment by a City Councilor who lived in the area.



Gaffey moved to accept staff’s recommendation to remove the existing islands at the intersection of Oak and Hersey Streets. Thompson seconded the motion. Heesacker asked that the motion be amended to included a future study of multimodal improvements to the intersection. Gaffey accepted amendment. Motion passed unanimously.


B.  Consultant Selection for TSP

Swales noted that staff would like a member of the Commission to serve on the Transportation System Plan (TSP) proposal review team in November or December. Faught noted that 4 to 5 proposals are expected, each 10 to 12 pages long and technical in nature. The top two candidates would be interviewed.


Thompson asked that the transportation map in the current TSP showing future road connections and where pedestrian and bicycle amenities were planned should take precedence over updating the entire 1998 TSP.


Faught noted that the transportation map was a routine part of the TSP. Neighbors, by law, must have the opportunity to speak to potential easements through the public lands use process. This would be accomplished during the TSP update.



Burnham moved to appoint Eric Heesacker to the TSP update proposal review team. Hauck seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.


C.  Bike Swap Sponsorship

Egon DuBois reiterated his September request that the Commission sponsor the annual Bike Swap. The Bike Swap event was a tool to promote bicycling and raise money for Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) bike safety classes at Ashland’s elementary and middle school. This would be an endorsement only, there are three to four existing volunteers used for the event. Parks Department and Finance handled money in the past. Permits would be needed as well.


Burnham asked if Parks Department might be a better sponsor. DuBois thought the Transportation Commission would be a better bicycle advocate.


Hauck said normally non city money would pass through the commission budget as a line item. Faught asked for time to research this process with the Finance Department. Chapman agreed.



Thompson moved to have staff research the implications of sponsoring an event and bring results to the November meeting. Swales seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.


DuBois noted that normally the bicycle safety classes cost $800 each with 20 classes per year for a total of $16,000. In the past BTA was willing to subsidize the difference. In 2009 the Bike Swap made $1,500. BTA was not willing to subsidize the balance until Faught added another $1,000 from the Traffic Safety and Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission budgets.



D.    Transportation Budget

Faught noted that the Commission’s budget on July 1, 2009 was $4,000. It was now $1,723. Faught recommended earmarking $1,723 for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.


Hauck moved to earmark $1,723 for BTA for use after the Bike Swap. Motion died for lack of second. No action was taken on this agenda item.


E.  Joint November and December Meetings

Commission decided to meet at their regular date and time in November (November 19) and review agenda items for December. If there were no agenda items then the December meeting would be cancelled.



A.  RVTD Briefing

Kat Smith reported that RVTD received an ODOT Safe Routes to School Grant for approximately $22,000. The grant would pay for student and parent surveys and pedestrian safety curriculum for teachers. Nick Hiam and Egon DuBois were hired as co-coordinators and will bring regular reports to the Commission. She was also working with Lea Light, Ashland GIS Specialist, on Helman’s Safe Route to School map.


Nathan Broom provided the Commission with a memo regarding Ashland’s RVTD Ridership Trend (dated October 15, 2009). The memo indicated that the first month of the new Ashland ridership showed ridership down 2.9%. Considering the cost of ridership just doubled sto $2.00, he thought this statistic was encouraging. Broom expected that with time word would get out regarding the increase in service and ridership would slowly increase.


Swales asked Broom to keep the Commission informed.


B.  Planning Commission Update

Gaffey had nothing to report.


C.  Oak Street Shared Road

Faught reported that the project is moving forward, but he hadn’t received a schedule from the Street Department. He offered to reimburse the Commission’s budget $1,000 since the project cost less than expected.


Burnham moved to reduce the amount allocated to the Oak Street share the road project from $2,000 to $1,000. Heesacker seconded the motion and it passed 4 votes to 2.


E.     SOU Master Plan Update

Larry Blake, Associate Vice President for Facilities Management, reported that SOU held a public open house on October 5th regarding the draft master plan Attendees were asked to respond to questions about key aspects of the plan. Particularly, there was opposition to two to three story facility housing on Henry Street. In general the use of the “Personal Response System” (clickers) showed generally less opposition to draft master plan than anticipated. He noted that the survey would be posted on the web. Blake said that a Traffic Impact Analysis would be completed only before development proceeds.


Thompson wondered if there would still be a route through campus for bikes, skateboards, rollerblading. Gaffey would like to see a “build out” map that would show future transportation plans.


E.  Croman Master Plan Update

This item was tabled.


F.     Car Free Day

Swales thought the event was a success, but would like the opportunity to have restaurant tables during future events. Burnham thought there was less attendance than last year. Kat Smith would like to see the Commission and more businesses involved. RVTD and the City co-sponsor the event with the City picking up the liability insurance. Smith would like to see the Commission endorse/sponsor the event in the future. Swales volunteered to be the liaison for this event next year and asked that sponsorship of the event be placed on a future agenda.


G.    Bicycle Friendly Community Designation

John Colwell, Instructor for the League of American Bicyclists, noted that Ashland was a member of the “Bicycle Friendly Community” program (a program of five categories that provide a picture of how bicycle friendly a town was). He would like the Commission to help him reapply to upgrade Ashland’s status to from “Bronze” to “Gold.” Burnham volunteered to help and would need statistical help from staff. He also noted that staff received two sign designating Ashland as a Bicycle Friendly Community and would like them to be installed at either end of town as quickly as possible.



No comments from the Commission.


VIII.       ADJOURN:  8:03 PM


Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Slocum, Accounting Clerk I


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