Thursday, March 22, 2012
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Steve Ryan called the meeting to order at 6:03 p.m.
Tom Burnham, Mike Gardiner, Shawn Kampmann, Steve Ryan (Chair), Brent Thompson, and Corinne Vièville
Pam Hammond and David Young
Scott Fleury, Jim Olson, and Jodi Vizzini
Ex Officio Member:
Brandon Goldman and Steve MacLennan
WELCOME TO NEW COMMISSIONERS
Chair Ryan welcomed Mike Gardiner and Pam Hammond as newly appointed Transportation Commissioners.
Chair Ryan introduced City Administrator Dave Kanner to the Commission who stated he was briefly in attendance to say hello and acknowledge the volunteers who serve.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of November 17, 2011 and December 15, 2011, Regular Meetings, were approved as presented.
ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Commissioner Burnham requested an opportunity to ask questions in the action part of the agenda about small projects that have yet to be answered. Chair Ryan agreed to this request.
Traffic Concerns on Crispin Street:
Jim Olson described the area as having a narrow profile with a 22 ft. wide street and parking that is provided in angular, short parking bays. Crispin St. alignment is curvy, with a 90 degree curve midway through the subdivision. He reported the findings of a traffic study conducted in 2007 and a recent study to gage traffic flow. The latest study indicated speed was not a concern with a 17 mph average, and 85 percent of vehicles driving through this area traveled at speeds less than the posted 25 mph. However, due to the nature of the close improvements and sidewalks, traveling at 25 mph seems fast. He shared information about speed bumps/humps and the reasoning for not considering either as a solution. He encouraged residents to address their concerns and offer suggestions to staff and the Commission.
Kathryn Casternovia/195 Crispin St./
Stated she has lived on Crispin St. for 16 years and during that time a row of mailboxes, which sets 15 feet from her bedroom window has been driven through on four occasions. Her suggestions included installing speed bumps or humps, lowering the speed limit to 15 mph, and/or implementing a “Not a Through Street” sign.
Glenn Novak/167 Crispin St./
Thought installing speed bumps to physically slow traffic was the best solution. He felt warning signs will be ignored by careless drivers. Additionally, he would like to see parking enforced as street parking causes the road to become even narrower.
Maureen Sever/163 Crispin St./
Described her flag lot which includes a shared driveway causing both her and her neighbor to back out on the blind curve. She was also concerned with the narrowing of the street due to vehicles parked on the street instead of using parking bays. Her feeling is that people are cutting through their neighborhood as a route to their own neighborhoods. She suggested speed bumps to slow traffic and to discourage drivers from taking this route.
Mr. Olson addressed the citizen’s concerns with the following explanations: 1) speed limit rules are set by the State which requires residential speed limits at 25 mph. Crispin St. is a public, residential street, therefore the City cannot change the speed limit. He added the traffic study concluded speed is already less than 25 mph in this area; 2) speed bumps were not an option as they are not legal to install in public rights of way; 3) parking is only enforced in the downtown core. Other areas are enforced if officers see an incident while patrolling, or if a person registers a complaint with the police department; and 4) the traffic study concluded traffic volume is extremely low in this subdivision, even with anticipated non-residents passing through.
Discussion included various signage ideas, reclassifying the street to an alley, installing half dome lane dividers, and painting a center line.
Commissioners Thompson/Kampmann m/s to take no additional traffic calming measures except for a painted center line and “Sharp Curve Ahead” signage. Voice vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6 – 0.
Request for “Sharrow” Markings on Maple Street:
Mr. Olson gave an overview of the request by Ashland Community Hospital (ACH), a bicycle friendly facility, to install sharrows on Maple Street. He explained that Maple Street has been problematic as it is a busy collector street and does not have room for bicycle lanes. Mr. Olson shared past improvements that have been implemented to calm traffic. He added that staff is in support of adding sharrows on Maple St. but would recommend not including signage as it would cause too much congestion in this area.
Toni Drummond/721 Liberty St./
Works at ACH and has been instrumental in the application process and subsequent bicycle friendly business award. She stressed that ACH staff and patients cycling on Maple St. do not feel safe. She explained how cycling commuters often take the Coolidge/Rock route to avoid Maple St. She is hoping to offer more bicycle safety classes this year and expects an increase in the number of employees cycling to work. She is in support of sharrows and gave examples of how they are effective in other Oregon communities.
Commissioners Thompson/Kampmann m/s to approve the staff recommendation to install sharrows, but not signs, between N. Main and Chestnut St. Voice vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6 – 0.
Mr. Olson introduced Scott Fleury as his replacement when he retires in June.
Request for “15 Minute Loading Zone” on Lithia Way:
Mr. Olson explained the request for a 15 Minute Loading Zone came from police department, not the Stop-N-Shop Market. The reasoning behind the request was to make the two spaces near the Lithia Way and Pioneer St. intersection and traffic light available for delivery parking, thus eliminating the need to park on a through street. He added that he has since had a conversation with Senior Planner, Brandon Goldman who reminded him that a parking study for the downtown area is coming up and it may be best to postpone action until the study is complete. Therefore, Mr. Olson recommended postponing this action to a later date.
Mr. Goldman explained the future parking study and both he and Mr. Olson answered questions from the Commission regarding the use and limitations of a loading zone.
Ed Bemis/140 Lithia Way/
Began his comment by thanking Mr. Olson for his years of service. He spoke on the need for more parking spaces in the downtown area and added turning over spaces is not the answer. He stated he worked on the parking issue back in the 1980s and parking has been a long time problem in Ashland. He explained how part of the problem began years ago when a private sector bought a building nearby and eliminated about 15 parking spaces. He is in favor of more parking lots and less burden on the street side.
George Orrego/486 Beach St./
Agrees parking is a premium and losing the two spaces would be problematic. He suggested limiting the time zone for a couple of hours in the morning.
Commissioners Thompson/Gardiner m/s to take no action on the 15 Minute Loading Zone on Lithia Way, but requested to include it in the future parking study as a priority. Voice vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6 – 0.
NON ACTION ITEMS
SOU Student Housing Update:
Mr. Olson gave an update on the SOU project. He stated the Planning Commission approved the planning action which included a number of traffic elements the Transportation Commission recommended. He added staff has met with Kittelson & Associates to iron out the fine details on intersections and that construction will be happening shortly.
N. Main/Hersey/Wimer Intersection Re-alignment Update:
Mr. Olson reported this project is moving forward and described the various issues encountered in the process including negotiations for rights of way access, a parking lot plan at 430 N. Main St., and developing the final plans for undergrounding of the power lines in the intersection. He is hopeful the bidding process will take place in May and constructed in late June. He added an informational open house on this project will be scheduled soon.
ACTS Oregon Mini-Grant:
Mr. Olson reported the City did not receive this grant.
Traffic Crash Summary:
Officer MacLennan gave a report involving an RVTD bus hitting the bucket of a vehicle installing the Christmas lights on the Plaza. He reported proper signage was not in place, no one was injured, and citations were issued.
Commission Attendance Report:
Commissioners reviewed the attendance report from July 1 to December 31, 2011. They asked for clarification of the AMC 2.10.025 as it relates to member attendance expectations and discussed this topic. Chair Ryan stated he would review his records for excused absence requests from the Commissioners and bring this report back to the next meeting.
Mr. Olson answered Commissioner questions on the Action Summary Report that included progress on 15 Minute Parking Zone signage and sharrows on A St.
TC Budget Balance: $2,647.00:
The Commission reviewed the budget and asked for clarification on current expenditures. Mr. Olson addressed their questions and added expenditures from this account must now go through the Public Works Director.
City Source Article “Crosswalk Safety:”
Did not discuss
Traffic Safety Connection (Dec, Jan, and Feb):
Did not discuss
TNTT Article “Distracted Driving:”
Did not discuss
Commissioner Gardiner made a request for the Commission to submit a letter of support for the Ashland Parks & Recreation grant application on the build-out of Ashland Creek Park on Hersey St. He explained the trails in the park represent the Commission’s multi-modal goals for pedestrians and bicycles.
Commissioners Kampmann/Vièville m/s to draft a letter of support to the Parks Department for the grant application on the build-out of Ashland Creek Park. Voice vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Chair Ryan updated the Commission on the progress of the Siskiyou Velo Grant which provided $1,000.00 to purchase helmets for low-income students in Ashland elementary schools. He asked for suggestions on how to purchase, store and distribute the helmets. He stated he is working with the Parks Department on this project.
Mr. Olson updated the Commission on the bike parking portion of this grant. He stated he is working with the Shakespeare Festival on the approval of the location.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:07 p.m.
Jodi Vizzini, Public Works Assistant