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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street




Attendees: Tom Burnham, Eric Heesacker (Chair), Steve Ryan, Julia Sommer,

                  Colin Swales, Matt Warshawsky, David Young

Absent:      Brent Thompson

Ex Officio Members:  Larry Blake, David Chapman, Brandon Goldman, David Wolske

Staff Present:  Mike Faught, Jim Olson, Nancy Slocum


I.                CALL TO ORDER: 6:03 PM by Chair Eric Heesacker.



Minutes of August 19, 2010 approved as submitted.


III.            PUBLIC FORUM:

Sommer asked for an update on the downtown bicycle rack design as discussed in an earlier meeting. Swales noted that the City currently provided bike racks adjacent to downtown businesses. He suggested that businesses could be approach to pay all or part of more art-inspired bike racks. Olson said the process could begin, but would ultimately end with City Council approval of the design.


Young asked the status of the Commission-approved crosswalk on East Main near Campus Way that would serve students at Willow Wind School. Olson said staff was in the process of applying for grant money.


Heesacker introduced Regina Ayars, Chair of the Housing Commission, who was observing the meeting.



Chair Heesacker asked that Action Items B and C be reversed to accommodate Fire Chief Karns.


V.              ACTION ITEMS:

  1. Election of Vice Chair

Swales nominated Ryan for Vice Chair to replace Steve Hauck. Young seconded the motion and it passed 4 to 0 with 3 abstentions.


  1. Fire Apparatus – Street Parking Policy Impacts

Olson sited the Commission’s previous action on Bridge Street as an example of a narrower width street with at-capacity parking that potentially impacted the Fire Department’s operations. He noted that the Handbook for Planning and Designing Streets was adopted by the City Council in February of 1999 and was amended in July of 2008. The Handbook set standards for on-street parking requirements for all classes of streets in Ashland.


Brandon Goldman noted that the street design standards were developed as part of a three year process with three goals in mind: public safety (reducing speeds), decreasing development costs and the conserve runoff. The Planning Department was in full support of the Fire Department’s recommendation to have the standards enforced in regards to parking restriction signage. Planning would like to review final signage plans for conformance with land use approvals.


Fire Chief John Karns said the recent Oak Knoll Fire gave the Fire Department the opportunity to review several ordinances including the street standards. He noted some development areas within Ashland have streets narrower than may hinder access to these neighborhoods in a timely manner. The department came up with an initial list of 26 streets. These streets could be made passable for fire apparatus with the institution of parking restrictions. 


Chief Karns reviewed the actual space needed for fire apparatus:

·        Ambulance needed 9 feet for the vehicle and 13 feet with the doors open for staging;

·        Fire Engine needed 10 feet for the vehicle and 16 feet with the doors open for staging.


Commission adjourned temporarily to the parking lot to view a fire engine staged as for a fire.


The Commission asked Chief Karns what he needed from the Commission. Ashland Fire and Rescue (AFR) forwarded a preliminary list of 26 narrow streets to Jim Olson for review and additional parking restrictions and signage as appropriate. He asked the Commission for its support.


Faught added that the streets on the list were not currently signed and could be a potential source of disagreement for the affected neighborhoods. These neighbors would need to be noticed to an upcoming Transportation Commission meeting for public hearing and ultimate decision by the Commission.


Motion and Vote:

Burnham/Young m/s to direct Staff to work with the Fire Department in signing streets that need additional parking restrictions. Motion passed unanimously.


  1. A Street Sharrow Designation

Burnham explained his request to install sharrows on A Street from Eighth Street to Oak Street before the Transportation System Plan (TSP) was complete. He sited three reasons: 1) Like Oak Street, this section of ‘A’ is posted less than 25 mph and has no room for bike lanes; 2) Although there are plans to extend the bike path adjacent to the railroad track, there are many obstacles; in the meantime vehicles needed to be made aware of bicyclists; and 3) Another sharrow road would bring Ashland closer to a higher “Bike Friendly Community” designation. Heesacker noted that installing sharrows on Helman Street had also been tabled.


Faught said that Staff consistently recommended waiting for the TSP update to look at bicycle routes as a whole and recommended proceeding cautiously.


Warshawsky wondered about cost and whether the City really wanted to encourage bicyclists to use A Street as a regular bike route. Olson said the cost for installation would be less than $1,000. Burnham thought that realistically bicyclists would be unlikely to change a well used route. Swales agreed that bikes should not use A Street, but the solution would be to extend the bike path. Sommer said A Street was already a naturally shared road and unlike Oak Street, A Street had many distractions for both drivers and bicyclists. Currently A Street was a good exercise in sharing streets without sharrows.


Young said the sharrows on Oak Street gave him a sense of security and felt that cars were more accepting of him as a bicyclist. He thought there would be no negative impacts to immediately installing sharrows. He also suggested placing sharrows on North Main Street as it is also dangerous for bicycles.


Ryan noted that some neighbors on B Street were concerned about speed therefore B Street might not be the best option for a marked bicycle route.


Sommer suggested installing chevrons without the corresponding signage. Faught questioned the legality of that suggestion. He noted logic in A Street as a bike route, but noted there was currently no criteria for sharrows. He appreciated the work of traffic engineers and would ask their opinion before November’s Commission meeting.


Heesacker suggested as an alternative the installation of yellow signs that say “Bicycles on Roadway.” Young remembered the extension of the bike path as an issue for the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission. Then they were told it was unlikely to happen. He would like to move ahead with the sharrows. Burnham agreed that the use of sharrows should not be overdone.



Burnham moved to pursue the installation of sharrows and accompanying signs on A Street from Eighth Street to Oak Street and to forward this recommendation to the TSP consultants for approval. An update would be provided at the November Commission meeting. Ryan seconded the motion.


Warshawsky wondered if installing sharrows on A Street would cause more bicyclists to use A Street instead of Helman Street, the official Safe Routes to School street.



Motion passed unanimously.



  1. Action Summary

The summary was requested of Staff at a previous meeting. Slocum presented the summary and asked for any comments or changes to the format. The Commission reviewed the contents then asked for the summary to be placed on the City website.  They would also like staff to provide more information in the Status column and add the date each action was complete. Sommer asked that “Bike Rack Design” and “Central Business District Bicycle Parking” be added to the summary list.


  1. IAMP Review

The TSP consultants, Kittelson & Associates, Inc., reviewed the draft Interchange Area Management Plan (IAMP) for Interchange 14. The Plan required the City to adopt the plan, its policies and ordinances into the TSP including the access plan for Ashland Street between Tolman Creek Road and East Main Street. Faught asked Kittelson to review the potential of installing a signal at Washington Street as desired by Public Works. Although they could not recommend a signal, they did recommend a left in/right in/right out at Washington as opposed to a solid median as proposed in the IAMP.


Kittleson also recommended seeking language in the IAMP that provided greater flexibility in modifying Ashland Street access points, even the possibility of using roundabouts. Lastly, they recommended reducing the long-term infrastructure needs at the Ashland/Tolman Creek intersection.


Faught noted that Staff and Kittleson would meet with ODOT soon to discuss these recommendations and he asked for a Commissioner to also attend. As there was no date set, the Commission asked Staff to email all Commissioners; the first Commissioner to confirm attendance would attend the meeting.


  1. TSP Update

Olson announced that the next joint Planning Commission / Transportation Commission meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, October 26th from 7 to 9 pm. The Technical Advisory Committee would meet the morning of October 26th from 10:30 am – 12: 30 pm. In addition a public workshop on Pedestrian Places would take place Wednesday, October 27th from 7 -9 pm at the Ashland Middle School.



  1. Metropolitan Policy Organization (MPO) Update

Chapman reviewed the upcoming MPO meeting and would post a link to the agenda and packet for the commission to see. Faught recently attended a RVACT workshop on roundabouts. He viewed a good video and would obtain a copy for the Commission. He was encouraged to see ODOT embracing the use of roundabouts.


  1. Planning Commission

Swales attended the last Planning Commission meeting where they discussed the upcoming public workshop on Pedestrian Places (formally called Pedestrian Nodes). He explained that Pedestrian Places were three chosen areas of transit-oriented development with increased density to make it more affordable for transit options.


F.  Car Free Day

Ryan reported that Car Free Day was very successful. There were 4,728 Commuter Challenge miles calculated thus far and the Oak Street Mass Ride included many children. He thanked Staff, Kat Smith of RVTD and the Pacific Green Party. The Commission thanked Ryan for his hard work.


  1. Audible Signal Project Update

Olson asked Corinne Vieville to update the Commission. Vieville reported that she was working with members of the blind community to prioritize signal installation and identify the most useful paths of travel. The signal at Siskiyou Boulevard and Highway 66 was the highest priority.




VIII.       ADJOURN:  8:06 PM


Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Slocum, Accounting Clerk I


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