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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Agenda
Thursday, November 19, 2009

TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION

Thursday, November 19, 2009

City Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

 

Minutes

Attendees: John Gaffey, Eric Heesacker, Steve Hauck, Julia Sommer,

                  Colin Swales (Chair), Brent Thompson, David Young

Absent:      Tom Burnham, Matt Warshawsky

Ex Officio Members:  Larry Blake, Kat Smith, Steve MacLennan

Staff Present:  Mike Faught, Jim Olson, Nancy Slocum

 

I.                CALL TO ORDER: 6:05 PM

 

II.              APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Minutes of October 15, 2009 were approved as submitted.

                                                                                            

III.            PUBLIC FORUM:

Egon Dubois thanked everyone involved in the approval and installation of the “sharrows” on Oak Street. He wondered if the shape of the pavement graphic should be elongated for the benefit of vehicles and the placement should be centered within the lane. Young had the same questions.

 

Olson noted that since there was no fog line, prevailing standards recommended spacing 11’ from curb so it bears a resemblance to a bike lane. Parking strips might be possible at a later date. Kat Smith, RVTD, thought confusion caused from the off-center graphic might act as an unintended traffic calming device. Swales noted that in other cities the graphic was bigger and centered. Faught hoped money could be budgeted for more shared streets next year.

 

IV.            ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA:

Swales asked that the city goals that were distributed at the meeting be placed on the December agenda.

 

V.              ACTION ITEMS:

A.  Downtown Parking Study – Lee Tuneberg

Tuneberg was asked by the Council to present the Downtown Parking Study RFP ($30,000 to $70,000 range) to the Transportation Commission to see if there was support for the study at this time. The Council rejected the request to fund the study on October 20, 2009. Tuneberg thought the study was necessary as there was outdated and/or lack of data to answer questions regarding parking-related issues such as:

·        Sufficiency of parking supply including need for more and impact of reductions

·        Impact of enforcement in the core, Hargadine and surrounding areas

·        Need for new or increased enforcement by Diamond Parking outside the parking district

·        Impact of reduced enforcement as decisions are made on elements of the parking code

·        Financing and debt payment options on improvements or studies

 

Parking enforcement was contracted to Diamond Parking in 2001. The fees from the Hargadine parking structure pays for the Diamond contract, maintenance of the structure and the loan to pay for the $900,000 construction costs (annual debt service shared by OSFA). In addition, $4 per car is set aside for parking studies such as the one requested ($150,000 is already accrued). Hargadine is at capacity in the summer and at about 15% capacity in the winter.

 

Sommer wondered why the rates in the Hargadine structure have not been raised and other parking lots been made paid parking as well. Tuneberg was waiting for more quantitative data. Young thought there are man people who would never pay for parking and so parking would be forced into adjacent neighborhoods. He also thought staff could answer some of the scope of questions within the RFP. He also suggested using seasonable rates.

 

Tuneberg had looked at many options including researching other jurisdictions. Even so, he is still missing essential statistics. Swales wondered if the information gained from the study would be too outdated to be incorporated into the TSP update. He thought parking issues were more of a land use issue. If additional downtown parking was needed than the TSP could protect space for a future parking structure. He also recommended an incentive for employees to use the Hargadine structures – perhaps an employee survey.

 

Sommer would rather spend more money for pedestrian amenities. Does the study only analyze vehicles? She would not support funding the downtown parking study. Thompson agreed. He would rather pay off the structure’s debt early. Hauck thought Tuneberg needed the requested data garnered from the study to make intelligent decisions.

 

Motion

Thompson moved that the Commission not support the Downtown Parking Study RFP at this time and recommended directing staff to investigate parking rates in other cities, report findings to the City Council and that staff investigate other parking revenue sources in the downtown core. Sommer seconded the motion.

 

Discussion

Young was not comfortable feeling pressured for time and not giving Tuneberg a direct answer. He wondered if it was in the Commission’s purview to define a new scope for the study or just make a recommendation to support the study or not. Tuneberg wondered if the commission supported the current scope at this time. Heesacker noted that the 2001 study without a scope or required updates never was completed. He said the new TSP would take 2+ years to complete and therefore there was no time pressure.

 

Vote

Motion passed 5-2 with Commissioners Gaffey and Hauck voting no.

 

B.  I-5 Exit 14 Interchange Aesthetics Presentation by ODOT

Tim Fletcher, ODOT Project Manager, and John Galbrath, Landscape Architect, presented the plans for the architecture and landscaping for the Exit 14 and 19 reconstructions. People on the aesthetics committee included representatives from the Planning Commission, Arts Commission, Chamber of Commerce, Transportation Commission (David Young) and more. The look was “art deco.” The colors would blend with the natural terrain. The south interchange will have more lighting as it is more “urban.” There are plans to eventually increase I-5 from two to three lanes. Construction could be complete by summer 2012. Fletcher noted that more information and updates could be found at the ODOT website.

 

C.  Sponsorship of Workshop on Safety Features of Local Streets

Olson reported that Mojie Takallou Ph.D, P.E. of the University of Portland Civil Engineering Department, would like to come to Ashland to present a free one day workshop entitled “Improving Safety Features of Local Roads and Streets.” Dr. Takallou is a nationally renowned expert on transportation safety authoring fourteen books and teaching workshops for 22 years. His past workshops had always been well received. Olson asked the Commission to sponsor the event which would entail providing snacks, a venue and publicity.

 

Commission, through unanimous consensus, agreed to sponsor the event.

 

D.    Oak Street Shared Road Publicity

Olson noted that there will be an educational “learning curve” to educate motorists on the sharrows. Staff has been interviewed, through the result of a press release, by the Daily Tidings, Mail Tribune, Channel 10 and 12. Burnham volunteered to organize a mass bike ride down Oak to celebrate the event.

 

E.  Letter of Support for Siskiyou Regional Railroad Authority

Slocum explained the SRRA’s grant request. Young moved to direct Swales to sign the letter of support. Heesacker seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

 

E.     Decision on Meeting in December

Commission agreed that there were enough agenda items to warrant meeting in December.

 

VI.       NON ACTION ITEMS

A.  RVTD Briefing

Kat Smith reported for Nathan Broom this month. RVTD coordinated with Jackson County Sheriff to conduct a pedestrian enforcement operation approximately ½ mile from Walker school. The “sting” would be aimed at vehicle drivers only. The event was paid for as part of the Safe Routes to School grant.

 

Hauck commented that Ashland Street especially at Normal is too congested and many children cross the street there as well. 

 

Smith also reported the there are three Priuses currently used for car sharing (ashlandcarshare.com). She hoped this program would be included in the TSP update.

 

B.  Congratulations to Jim Olson and Kate Smith on ACTS Awards

A round of applause went to both Jim Olson for his community traffic safety award and Kat Smith for her child safety award from the Oregon Alliance for Community Traffic Safety.

 

C.  Planning Commission Update

Gaffey reported that the draft Croman plan was finished being reviewed by the advisory committee. The City Council will receive an update on November 30th, the Planning Commission will review the plan in December, and then the plan will go back to the Council for adoption in January. Swales noted that the Commission wanted to be involved in the review from a transportation standpoint.

 

F.     Shared Road versus Sharrows (Education Video from Portland

Swales asked staff to email Commissioners the links to these videos as there was not time at the meetings to view the videos.

 

E.  Discussion on Motorcycle Endorsement

Gaffey thought there was a lot of misinformation in the public regarding when a motorcycle license was required. It depended on the number of cc’s on the moped/motorcycle and the speed. Officer MacLennan does enforce the new law, but Medford enforces it more aggressively and confiscates the bike. No action was taken.

 

VII.      INFORMATIONAL ITEMS & COMMISSIONER COMMENTS:

Young was concerned about unhitched trailers being parked on the street for long periods of time. MacLennan said the police were working on an ordinance.

 

VIII.       ADJOURN:  8:03 PM

 

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Slocum, Accounting Clerk I

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