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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

TC Regular Meeting

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011
Commissioners Present: Tom Burnham, Shawn Kampmann, Steve Ryan (Chair), Colin Swales, Brent Thompson, and David Young
Absent: Corinne Vièville, Brandon Goldman
Council Liaison: David Chapman
Staff Present: Jim Olson, Steve MacLennan, Mary McClary and Jodi Vizzini
Chair Steve Ryan called the meeting to order at 6:01 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main. He acknowledged Julia Sommer’s resignation from the Transportation Commission and expressed his gratitude for her years of service.
Commissioners Thompson/Swales m/s to approve the October 20, 2011 Transportation Commission minutes. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6–0.
Sherry Smilo/215 Tolman Creek/Stated she was attending the meeting to reiterate the same statement as she has previously presented to the Commission. She stated she does not want a road built in the neighborhood as it will; destroy the neighborhood, interfere with everyday life, cause street vibration, light pollution, force residents to disclose if selling homes, and is distressing to the residents.  She added the idea came from a consultant in Portland and wondered if they realized this road would essentially be in someone’s back yard.
The Commissioners held a general discussion on this item. Several comments were made in regards to Ms. Smilo’s statement and the Commission’s continued effort to review this component of the TSP.
“Operation Lifesaver” Presentation
Jim Armstrong from Central Oregon Pacific Railroad introduced the “Operation Lifesaver” program. He shared statistics of pedestrians killed and/or injured while crossing railroad tracks and how the number of incidents has dropped approximately 40% since the program was introduced. The Commissioner’s viewed a PowerPoint presentation and video. The key areas were public education, the danger involved in crossing tracks, different types of warning devices at crossings, and the law surrounding private property. The key message of the video was “trains can’t swerve to avoid a collision; trains can’t stop quickly, and trains create optical illusions.” The information shared can be found at
Commissioner Comments:
Commissioner’s comments included the following:  the railroad property in Ashland has been unattended for 60 years, yet it is the main ribbon running through the City;  it is clearly a source of pedestrian crossing as illustrated in previously viewed photos of the area showing worn pedestrian tracks; it is a danger to pedestrians as many have become casual about crossing the unused tracks; it is a big problem in our community as this area (Oak Street and Mountain) is a shortcut and pedestrians disregard that it is private property, or are unaware of the trespassing law;  the dilemma is the City needs to apply for permits and spend time and money attempting to get a crossing installed, but the National Safety Board controls it and is not in favor of this decision.
Suggestions from the Commissioners included installation of signaled pedestrian crossings and fencing around the abandoned yard. 
Presenter’s Rebuttal
Mr. Anderson’s replies to the Commissioner’s comments were: the Railroad does not have adequate staff to enforce the law; local law enforcement agencies often do not realize this is private property and therefore do not always enforce the trespassing law; there is a lack of posted trespassing signs due to a lack of resources. Mr. Anderson suggested using Operation LifeSaver as a public education tool. He stated the rail cars will be moved from the yard, but could not give a concrete date of when that will happen.
Rees Jones/N. Wightman St./Stated the safety message that was presented is correct, but it is not the conversation the community is having which includes; the City has a railroad that does not provide service for our community, does not transport citizens locally, does not bring tourists to our theaters, and does not ship or bring products to our community, yet it divides our community. He added from a safety standpoint, the pedestrian crossings are not being addressed and concluded that from the Railroad’s viewpoint, it is still alright to disrupt the community and provide no services.
David Wolske/Airport Commission/Stated there must be people actively involved and in communication with the Railroad.  He added this is not only an issue with the Transportation Commission but with the City in general.
Councilor Chapman shared information about the new ConnectOregon IV Grant which CORP has requested to utilize for tunnel improvements.  He stated that all municipalities in the Valley are strongly supporting that effort.  He added the next step will be to make improvements going through Ashland and continuing south to California.
Transportation Safety Workshop
Mr. Olson shared he was contacted by Dr. Mojie Takallou, Ph.D., P.E. with the University of Portland School of Engineering about presenting another traffic safety workshop  Mr. Olson proposed the Transportation Commission host the workshop in January, 2012.
Commissioner’s Thompson/Burnham m/s to approve hosting the traffic safety workshop in January.
Commissioners Ryan/Swales asked if the City has the resources needed to host the workshop.  Mr. Olson replied there will be little cost to the City.
Voice vote:  all AYES. Motion passed 6–0.
Proposed Parking Prohibition on Highwood Drive
Mr. Olson provided information on the proposed parking prohibition on Highwood Drive.  He described the area to the Commissioners as a private drive outside of the City limits, connected by a public street.  The areas of concern were the curvature and grade of the area, including Timberline Terrace. Both the Fire Department and Public Works recommend that parking be prohibited on that part of the street. He added this area typically does not generate heavy traffic or parking, but there have been instances when parking has been an issue. Mr. Olson stated he and the Fire Department met with five of the residents and all were in support of the proposal. He added he did not receive any objections.
Commissioner’s Kampmann/Thompson m/s to accept staff recommendation to prohibit parking on the proposed section of Highwood Drive, including the additional proposed section of Timberline Terrace.
Jerry Jarvis/1070 Timberline Terrace/Stated this area poses poor visibility and is problematic in icy conditions. He agreed with the decision to prohibit parking in the proposed areas.
Voice vote:  all AYES.  Motion passed 6–0.
Memorial Marker Policy Update
Mr. Olson shared the Memorial Marker Policy was sent for review to the Public Arts Commission before presentation to the Council for approval in January. Commissioner Swales questioned why the Public Arts Commission does not get involved with other signage in the City. He used the “Adopt A Street” signs as an example of free advertising for local businesses in exchange for litter patrol.  He added that if these types of signs are approved by the City, then the concept of memorial markers should have an even playing field.
N. Main/Hersey/Wimer Intersection Re-alignment Update
Mr. Olson gave an update of the N. Main/Hersey/Wimer project. He shared the current parties involved to complete the project are right of way agents, property appraisers, landscape architects, outside planning consultants, City Planning and Public Works staff. He gave details of the actions being taken on Dr. Colwell’s property involving parking and accesses. He explained that it is a busy and complicated project with a completion goal of late spring/early summer.
Commissioner Swales questioned if the Road Diet was still onboard. Mr. Olson verified that it is, but the Council direction was to finish the Hersey/Wimer alignment first, then move immediately into the Road Diet.
Traffic Crash Summary
No discussion was held.
Action Summary
Commissioners Burnham/Thompson commented on the format of the Action Summary table in regards to clarity, progress and history of projects. Commissioner Young asked specific questions about the reconfiguration of stripes and angle changes in the Plaza.  Mr. Olson gave an update of the progress and explained the concrete angle changes were completed in the spring, and added the line removal on N. Main Street will be completed by an outside contractor using an environmentally friendly process. He added this will take place in May.
TC Budget Balance: $5,000.00
Agenda item briefly discussed and set aside. No decisions were made.
Safety Shorts
No discussion was held.
Traffic Safety Connection
No discussion was held.
City of Warrenton: Bike Helmet Communication
No discussion was held.

Meeting adjourned at 8:03 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,
Jodi Vizzini, Office Assistant II

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