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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Joint TC/PC 2/9/12 Minutes

Thursday, February 09, 2012

February 09, 2012
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street


Planning Commission Attendees: Michael Dawkins, Eric Heesacker, Richard Kaplan, Pam Marsh (Chair), and Melanie Mindlin.
Transportation Commission Attendees: Tom Burnham, Michael Gardiner, Shawn Kampmann, Steve Ryan, Brent Thompson, Corinne Vieville, and David Young
Absent:  Colin Swales, Deborah Miller
Council Liaison: David Chapman
Staff Present: Mike Faught, Mary McClary, Jodi Vizzini
Ex Officio Members:  Brandon Golden
Phone: Susan Wright, Consultant
The meeting was called to order at 6:35 p.m. by Chairperson Marsh.
She welcomed the newest member to the Transportation Commission, Michael Gardiner.  In addition she pointed out Pam Hamlin a candidate for the Transportation Commission, soon to be appointed.
Chairperson Marsh asked for comments or correction to the minutes of January 12, 2012.
Commissioner Young made a motion to approve the minutes, seconded by Commissioner Dawkins
Voice Vote: All Ayes.  The motion passed with a unanimous vote.
Chairperson Marsh announced next meeting date, February 23, 2012 beginning at 6pm.
Next she explained that evening the Commissions would discuss some specific projects for the TSP, and hopefully deciding how to move forward.
Mike Faught, Public Works Director, congratulated the Commissions on their last meeting and interactions with the citizens who would be impacted specifically by their actions on certain issues.  He felt it was one of their best meetings. (Time stamp 2:48)
The Commissions next step was to review of Draft Technical Memo 9.  The draft preferred and financially constrained plan is available for download at
In addition they would review:
A.  Review Results of Table 4 (S4 – S9) and (L25) from Nov. 9, 2011 meeting. Group Input on Policies, Programs, Studies and Roadway Projects 
B.  Roadway Projects – R17, R18, R19, R20, R24, R26, R27, R28, R29, R30, R31, R32, R33, R34 
The Commissions started their review with (S-4).
Siskiyou Boulevard (OR 99) from East Main Street to Walker Avenue
Conduct access management spacing study and provide near and long term recommendations for improvement.
Cost: $75,000.00
Initial result from small groups:
3 agreed,1 non-consensus
In addition:
(S-5) is from Siskiyou Boulevard from Walker Avenue to Tolman Creek Road.
Conduct access management spacing study and provide near and long term recommendations for improvement.
Cost: $75,000.00
Initial result from small groups:
3 agreed,1 non-consensus.
Mike felt both S-4 and S-5 could be discussed together.  Mike responded to the comments to only use “in-house consultants” that his staffing does not allow for in-house consultants.  He did offer a different aspect of using the $150,000 to hire additional staff, but that cost would not remain a fixed cost.
Commissioner Thompson asked for clarification of the route, and Commissioner Burnham asked for clarification of the dollars to be spent. Mike explained the cost would be spread out over a 5 -15 year period (constrained plan).  The Commissioners discussed the necessity for these review.  Mike explained an access management study reviews conflict points, determining whether or not there needs to be some sort of access mitigation. Commissioner Mindlin pointed out a study on Siskiyou Blvd was already done up to Walker.
Susan (consultant on the phone) explained the reason for the study was drive way safety compared to current standards and the increase over time.  She felt with the 5-15 year window it would be good to have a plan.  Mike asked what the specific issues would be with the driveway conflicts (S-4 specifically).
She asked for time to review and readdress the issue later.  Commissioner Mindlin also asked for clarification on the issue: roads or driveways.  Commissioner Young described the ad hoc committee was not about long range fixes, but bare minimum due to budget restraints.
The Commissions discussed (S45 and 7) at the same time. 
Most of the discussion included eliminating S4, and continue with S5.  Pam asked if S5 could be amended from Ashland Street to Tolman Creek Rd.  Commissioner Kaplan felt there was no immediate need now and there was already a development plan.  Commissioner Burnham reminded the Commissions this plan would go out 5-15 years. 
Chairperson Marsh restated the proposal for the access studies to be consolidated from 3 to 2 (eliminating S4), and changing S5 for Siskiyou Blvd to consist of Ashland Street instead of Walker to Tolman Creek Blvd. The commissions discussed different aspects of these studies including prioritize, need, earmarking funds, self direction, prior discussions and the purpose of their discussions.
Chairperson Marsh asked for a vote on the proposal that was on the floor: To eliminate S4, amend S5 to be Ashland Street to Tolman Creek and include S7.
Amended the proposal to not include S7.
All in favor to with the exception of Commissioner Burnham and Dawkins.
Chairperson Marsh stated the Commissions have consensus with this proposal.
S7--East Main Street from Siskiyou Blvd to Wightman St.
Conduct access management spacing study and provide near and long term recommendation for improvement.
5-15 years
Comments: In-house only no consultants
3 Agree, 1 Non consensus (removal)
Chairperson called for any dialogue on this study.  Commissioner Dawkins believes this would be a low priority.  Commissioner Ryan asked about pedestrian traffic, and Mike believed that would be two different studies.  Commissioner Thompson believed this study should be eliminated.  Mike explained access management with existing roads would be to make advance planning/changes to help with congestion and/or accidents that would result from growth within the next 20 years.  The consultant’s suggest this might be an area of concern, or to look at for future management.  The 5 -15 year look-ahead areas already are categorized lower priority. 
Chairperson Marsh summarized they had one suggestion S7 be deleted and one suggestion it remain, but as a low priority.
Commissioner Young moved to keep it and designate it as a low priority, seconded by Commissioner Ryan.
All in favor to with the exception of Commissioner Thompson.
Chairperson Marsh stated the Commissions have consensus with this proposal.
S8 Downtown Couplet Transition Study
Evaluate the feasibility and costs associated with removing the downtown couplet system and returning two-way traffic to Main Street and Lithia Way. As part of the study, the feasibility of roundabouts a the Helman St. /Main St./ Lithia Way and the Siskiyou Blvd/ East Main St./ Lithia Way intersections would be explored.
High priority 0-5 years
Comments:  Other street would be so busy, would rather have option C for E.  Main, two traffic lanes, bicycle wide land, truck off load, too much money
1 Against, 3 Non-consensuses
Mike talked about the concept to take two (2) one way roads to two (2) two-way roads.  He doesn’t believe this would be possible but offered an alternative.  (Time stamp 49:23) Commissioner Dawkins suggested keeping the one way on East Main but allowing the two-way on Lithia.  If they made Lithia a one way coming into North Main that would allow a left turning lane and leave two lanes of traffic going downtown.  In addition, Commissioner Dawkins added, diagonal parking could be included. The other end could do a roundabout, or more discussion would be needed.
Chairperson Marsh reiterated the Couplet Study (S8) was suggested to be amended that Lithia way to become two way and East main to remain one way through the heart of downtown. She then asked if the group was in favor of the two-way change with possible diagonal parking.
The Commissioners discussed commuters, alternate routes, supporting the amended study, and allowing the study to be conducted.  Mike suggested the Commissions invited the Chamber back to discuss the changes.
Commissioner Mindlin felt the design would put a lot of pressure on the railroad district for traffic.  Chairperson Marsh felt this study was really worth pursuing to create better traffic patterns, slow down traffic and generate interest in commerce.  Commissioner Young worried about the roadways being too congested with too much mobile types of transportation.  Commissioner Ryan reminded the ommissions we are making decisions for
visionary plans.
Chairperson Marsh asked for a vote to leave on the study on the table for downtown one-way/two-way study that would address making Lithia Way two-way and leaves Main Street one way.
With a show of hands, all Commissioners raised their hands in favor and there were no opposed.
Chairperson Marsh stated the Commissions have consensus with this proposal.
S9 Ashland Street (OR66)/Tolman Creek Road Safety Study
Conduct a transportation safety assessment in five years to identify crash trends and/or patterns (if they exist) as well as mitigations to reduce crashes.
Medium 5-15 years
Comments:  Do we need a study?  Put money into re-doing intersection.
3 Agree ,1 Non-consensus
Commissioner Heesacker commented the Commissioners allocate money into conducting what needs to be done for safety reasons.  Commissioner Mindlin questioned Clay Street as a major area of concern.  Chairperson believed the area of concern was from the freeway overpass to the freeway access and how that would develop over the next few years. The members discussed some different ideas.
Commissioner Young made a motion to keep S9 study included in the study, and Commissioner Thompson seconded the motion, and also amended the motion to include Washington St. to Clay Street.
With a show of hands, all Commissioners raised their hands in favor and there were no opposed. Chairperson Marsh stated the Commissions have consensus with this proposal.
L25 Truck Freight Movement Plan
The City of Ashland has identified Hersey Street as an alternative truck freight route allowing truck movements to avoid passing through downtown Ashland (unless the truck is destined to downtown Ashland).
Comments:  What happened when trucks reached Mtn Ave/ Not a good street for them, should be under preview of Transportation Commission, need a truck route, but is Hersey the right route.
3 Agree, 1 Non-consensus
The Commissioners discussed this as alternative truck routes and alternative automobile routes.  Commissioner Dawkins believed this street was pretty wide and set up for the traffic proposed.  He believed there was a lot of commercial development in the Railroad District and he hopes that would continue.  In addition, he pointed out Clear Creek at some point would become a through street, which would help as an alternative route for automobiles. 
Commissioner Mindlin is opposed to the Truck traffic on Mountain stating she believed it was dangerous. The commissioners discussed how the flow of traffic, and truck routes would affect the city and if there was a need for an alternative. 
Commissioner Gardiner explained there were designated truck routes and alternative truck routes all ready in place, and he believed the trucks would come into the city using the most appropriate entrance that would be closest to their destination.  He doesn’t believe any large trucks would use this route as an alternative.
The Commissioners discussed alternative routes, their necessity, restrictions, driver’s discretion, closest route to freeway exits, and alternative automobile routes.  Chairperson Marsh stated the discussion had turned to making improvements to the Hersey/Mountain loop to encourage automobiles to by-pass downtown.  Commissioner Young believes people already use Hersey as pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.
Commissioner Young made a motion to strike L25 from the TSP programs and the motion was seconded by Commissioner Kampmann. 
Commissioner Dawkins also believed in addition, the Transportation Commission look at using Clear Creek as an alternative route for automobiles.
Chairperson called for a vote on the motion.
All in favor raise their hand.  All in favor no opposed.  The motion passed with a
unanimous vote.
Shery Smilo/215 Tolman Creek Rd asked if the consultant had walked through the area she is concerned about. (R22).  In addition she asked before any further voting by any of the Commissioners if they would walk through the proposed area.
She wondered if there was any consideration of extending Clay St under Ashland St. and it might solve a problem of people living under the bridge that now creates an uneasy environment. She also asked what the number of people was who asked for the connectivity, and mentioned about disclosure in terms of sale of property.
She ended with expressing her appreciation for these two Commissions working on these projects.
Dan Lindner/300 Clay Street spoke to the Commission regarding the amount of money that is spent on studies, how they identify problems or areas to study and the amount of public input that is taken into consideration.  He felt the process was backwards in terms of the process.
Mike Faught felt there was not enough time left to discuss anymore projects.  He checked in with the Commissioners on the meeting load for this group and their individual commission meetings.
Chairperson Marsh requested they meet for 3 hours instead of 2 for the next meeting.  The commissioners discussed meeting for longer period of time at the next meeting. 
Respectfully submitted by:
Mary McClary, Administrative Assistant to the Electric Dept.

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