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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Agenda
Thursday, April 15, 2010

TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way

 

Minutes

Attendees: Tom Burnham, John Gaffey, Eric Heesacker, Steve Hauck, Julia Sommer, Colin Swales,

                  Brent Thompson, Matt Warshawsky, David Young

Absent:      None

Ex Officio Members:  David Chapman, Larry Blake, Kat Smith

Staff Present:  Mike Faught, Jim Olson, Nancy Slocum

 

I.                CALL TO ORDER: 6:00 PM by Chair Colin Swales.

 

II.              APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Minutes of March 18, 2010 were approved as corrected.

                                                                                            

III.            PUBLIC FORUM:

Chris Rall, Oregon Field Organizer for T4America, informed the Commission on what the group “Transportation for America” does. More information could be found at www.t4america.org.

 

Corrine Vieville, Executive Director of Disabled United in Direct Empowerment (DUDE), offered her services as a quasi-ADA consultant to the Commission.

 

Egon Dubois reminded the Commission that the Bike Swap would be held April 17th from noon to 2:00 pm. He asked for volunteers to help hand out helmets and lights.

 

Mike Faught, Public Works Director, reported that the agreement with Rogue Valley Transit District (RVTD) would be discussed at the May 4th City Council meeting. The multi year agreement was an annual agreement that would expire June 30, 2010 unless it was administratively extended. Transit ridership dropped 13.82% since the new transit subsidy was implemented in September 2009; however, and staff wanted to report to Council before taking action. Staff was recommending extending the program with RVTD as there could be several reasons for the decline in ridership including insufficient data, higher than normal fuel prices in 2008, and the fact that Route 15 travels in the same direction as Route 10 which was not convenient as riders who use the service to shop then have to ride the entire route back to their original destination. A majority of the Commissioners agreed with Staff’s recommendation. Burnham would have preferred this as an agenda item.

 

IV.            ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA:

Faught asked that the I5 Exit 14 and 19 update agenda item be moved to first on the agenda. Commission agreed.

 

VI.       NON ACTION ITEMS

A.     Interstate 5, Exit 14 and 19 Update

Faught reported that Staff was recommending approval of the state’s revised configuration of the Exit 14 stripping that included shared 12’ pedestrian/bike path with bicycle crossing signals at the ramp terminals. This concept avoided the bike lane transition across a right-turn lane by
moving the bicycle lane to the outside of the turn lanes and on to a shared 12-foot pedestrian/bicycle pathway behind the curb with bicycle crossing signals at the ramp terminals. ODOT’s Art Anderson is supportive of the change.

 

V.              ACTION ITEMS:

A.  Election of Chair and Vice Chair  

Thompson nominated Eric Heesacker as Chair keeping Steve Hauck as Vice Chair. Warshawsky seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

 

B.  Commission Procedures on Decision Making

Commissioner Young asked that the decision regarding the addition of bicycle parking in the plaza at North Main Street be reconsidered. Young sent an email with comments to staff and they were not read into the record.

 

Motion:

Hauck moved to reconsider the March 2010 agenda item “Additional Bicycle Parking at North Main Street.” Sommer seconded the motion.

 

Discussion:

Young read his email of March 12, 2010. “I feel that there is good justification for removing the one spot that forces drivers to back into a crosswalk and onto E. Main, however slightly, when exiting. Furthermore, the re-striping of spaces into legally-conforming compact spaces so that there would be no literal reduction of potential parking spaces while adding several bike spots in the vacated lane, will create a net-positive impact on the overall functioning of the area surrounding the land in question. Despite assertions to the contrary by Mr. Barchet, who in his February 18 letter recommends a comprehensive plan for the plaza as opposed to a perceived "band-aid solution", I feel that incremental progress is both necessary and, as often is the case in congested historic or commercial districts, the only realistic approach.

 

What is essentially a "gateway" to the plaza district should be safe, and the added bonus of a visible and convenient haven for bicycles, the addition of planters and more outdoor seating for diners, and no net loss of automobile parking capacity (yes, I realize there will be reduced land area dedicated to autos) will be a welcoming feature to this area. I support Mr. Smeenk's recommendation.” Young said he read letters received from business owners, spoke to them, walked the site and thought City should not allow vehicles to back into a crosswalk.

 

Vote:

Heesacker, Hauck, Sommer, Burnham and Young voted yes. Warshawsky, Thompson, Gaffey, Swales voted no. The motion passed five to four.

 

Motion and Vote:

Gaffey moved to place “Additional Bicycle Parking at North Main Street” on the agenda for May. Hauck seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

 

C.  Request for a Crosswalk on East Main Street

Olson reported that several months ago the Transportation Subcommittee heard a request to install a marked crosswalk across East Main Street at Campus Way in support of the Willow Wind School. East Main is busy arterial street with 6600 to 7500 vehicles per day with  sidewalks and bike lanes on the east side of the street; but few marked crosswalks due to the heavy traffic volumes. Staff conducted a traffic study on the section of East Main Street from Wightman Street to Walker Avenue. Olson recommended a crosswalk along with five conditions including pedestrian-activated beacons. The cost was estimated at $24,000; if City donates time then $12,000. The School District would be contacted to help fund project.

 

Burnham noted that students do not use the crosswalk at Walker.

 

Public Testimony:

Lincoln Zeve, 2710 Siskiyou Bv, had two children at Willow Wind. He parked on Campus Way and walked children across East Main to and from school. Parents discussed near misses at this intersection. If beacons were used, they should also face the school driveway and Campus Way and be positioned to allow bicyclists to access buttons.

 

Kat Smith, RVTD, reported that she and Lea Light collected data on how children walk and bike to Willow Wind and Ashland Middle School. She noted that crosswalks by themselves may make the situation worse. The five “Es” should be used including Enforcement, Education and Encouragement.

 

Eve Woods, SOU Student Liaison, supported the crosswalk and recommended the addition of rumble strips.

 

Motion:

Young moved to adopt Staff’s recommendation to accommodate a marked crosswalk on East Main Street at Campus Way conditioned upon a shortened length of the existing school speed zone from 1,600 feet to 1,000 feet; relocate advance crosswalk signs; install one sidewalk access ramp on the north side of East Main in line with the east sidewalk on Campus Way; mark continental-style crosswalk; and install two dual-head pedestrian-activated beacons, one on each side of East Main Street. Hauck seconded the motion.

 

Discussion:

Young said, as a substitute teacher at the middle school, he witnessed a large number of students cut through ScienceWorks’ property. He recommended crosswalks at both Campus Way and Walker as well as rumble strips. He said most parents encouraged their children to walk or bike to school.

 

Gaffey thought with two schools in the area the issue was larger than just adding a crosswalk. He thought there was not enough information to make informed decision. Need feedback from School District. Olson said adding this crosswalk, with beacons, would become the primary route. Olson noted this section of East Main appeared more rural. ScienceWorks had not been notified of this meeting. Smith noted that Safe Routes to School grants may be available.

 

Swales was concerned that young students would either not activate the beacon or activate it and begin to cross without looking. He thought the school had not done enough to make the area appear as a school zone. He thought all of staff’s recommendation should be adopted or the Commission should not add the crosswalk.

 

Zeve noted that young children are more fearful than college students. He did not want to see this issue tabled. Young agreed.

 

 

Vote:

Motion, as presented, passed unanimously. Heesacker and Swales asked staff to look into adding rumble strips and audible signals respectively to the beacon.

 

D.    Advance Preparation for Goal Setting

There were no questions regarding the upcoming Goal Setting Retreat on April 17th.

 

VI.       NON ACTION ITEMS

B.  Normal Av Neighborhood Refinement Plan

Ashland Senior Planner, Brandon Goldman reported that Community Development recently applied for a Transportation Management Grant. If funded the proposal would help develop a master plan (land use and transportation) for the area outside City limits, but inside the Urban Growth Boundary where earlier 160 apartments had been proposed. Developing this area piecemeal may preclude the most ideal transportation system. Annexation could only occur if there were less than five years of Single Family Residential, the area’s current Comprehensive Plan zoning. Multifamily land was needed, however. If funding was not granted then project would not be completed in the short term. Area is privately owned and contains no public railroad crossing.

 

Hauck noted the importance of developing area master plans. He sighted the North Mountain master plan and resulting area as an example. Swales thanked Goldman for making Commission aware of the application.

 

C.     Planning Commission Update

The SOU Master Plan was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission April 20th.

 

D.    Bike to Work Week

Kat Smith reminded Commissions that “Bike to Work Week” was May 17-21. She invited Commissioners and the City to sponsor Ashland-specific activities next year. Examples included hanging a banner and publicizing the events on the City website.

 

E.     Ordinance No. 3003: Changes to Transportation Commission Ordinance

Staff reminded Commission that the Council made changes to all ordinances relating to commissioners. The revised ordinance was provided in the packet.

                                                                                            

VII.      INFORMATIONAL ITEMS & COMMISSIONER COMMENTS:  None.

Woods reported that she had recruited additional SOU students to help with pedestrian safety tabling. Other safety education events included a parade to the plaza, Take Back the Night and the Pear Blossom Parade.

 

VIII.       ADJOURN:  8:08 PM

 

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Slocum, Accounting Clerk I

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