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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Joint TC/PC Meeting

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 16, 2012
Chair Pam Marsh called the meeting to order at 6:05 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
Transportation Commissioners Present:  Pam Hammond, Shawn Kampmann, Steve Ryan, Colin Swales, Brent Thompson, Corinne Vičville and David Young
Planning Commissioners Present:  Tony J. Brown, Jr., Michael Dawkins, Eric Heesacker, Richard Kaplan, Pam Marsh and Melanie Mindlin
Staff Present:  Mike Faught and Jodi Vizzini
Ex Officio:  Bill Molnar and Steve MacLennan
Council Liaison:  David Chapman and Michael Morris
Consultant:  Susan Wright, Kittelson & Associates
Transportation Commissioners Absent:  Tom Burnham and Mike Gardiner
Chair Marsh introduced newly appointed planning commissioner, Troy Brown Jr., and recognized Debbie Miller who was attending in the audience and will formally rejoin the Planning Commission following the reassignment at the next City Council meeting. 
Commissioners Young/Hammond m/s to approve the March 15, 2012 minutes. Voice vote:  all AYES.  The minutes were approved as presented.  
(Brown/Swales abstained; Heesacker/Kampmann were not yet present)
Sherry Smilo/215 Tolman Creek Rd./ Thanked Mike Faught and Jodi Vizzini for their recent presentation to the concerned residents of the Tolman Creek Mobile Home Park.  She reiterated the ongoing concern of transients, lack of privacy, noise, litter, dust, etc. the proposed bike/pedestrian path behind the mobile home park will bring. She presented a signed Declaration in Opposition from the residents and neighbors of the Tolman Creek Park.
Dan Linder / 300 Clay St./Spoke in opposition to the proposed bike/pedestrian path between Clay St. and Tolman Creek Rd. His main concern was public safety. 
Railroad Crossings:
(X3) Normal Avenue
Mr. Faught directed attention to the Railroad Crossing Projects map.  He stated information from a previous meeting indicated this particular railroad crossing would convert from a private crossing to a public crossing if Normal Avenue is extended; and it would not be necessary to lose a crossing to gain one as it already exists. 
No one spoke in opposition of this project.  Project was approved by consensus.
(X1) 4th Street At-Grade Railroad Crossing
Mr. Faught opened this project up for discussion as there were prior issues/concerns from previous meetings.  Commissioner Vičville asked for clarification on whether or not the city would lose a crossing if this project were approved.  Susan Wright stated it was not clear if this would be the result and she advised the commissions to place their prioritized desires on the Transportation System Plan (TSP), acknowledging the desired future crossings, recognizing the current Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Rail policy is one-for-one and may change over time resulting in required closures.  Commissioner Marsh asked how this would affect an underground tunnel.  Ms. Wright stated it does not require a one-for-one on grade separation.  She added where there is federal money to help with grade separation; they still want to see closures in trade.
Mr. Faught reiterated the proposed language in the plan should indicate the preferred crossings, emphasizing the desire to not have any closures, and include the list of priorities if closures were necessary.
Commissioner Dawkins added he is not compelled to have a vehicular crossing at this location and questioned how this could be considered a crossing if it went underneath the railroad.  Ms. Wright stated it is important to identify potential closures recognizing the current ODOT Rail Policy is one for one.
Commissioner Young advocated for bike/pedestrian on 4th Street and pursuing the grade separation to avoid closure.  Commissioners Thompson/Brown/ Mindlin/Kaplan and Chair Marsh were in favor of pursuing bike/pedestrian crossing at 4th Street.
No one spoke in opposition of this project.  Project was approved by consensus.
(X2) Washington Street At-Grade Railroad Crossing
Mr. Faught explained the reason for pursuing a new crossing at this location was part of the Croman Mill site development. He added that if approved, a crossing would need to close at either Wightman St. or Glenn St.
Commissioners Young/Dawkins stated they do not support closing either crossing and felt the Croman site should be revisited separately in the future.  
Chair Ryan asked for an update on the median at Ashland St./Washington St. and the status with ODOT.  Mr. Faught reported the current design places a median from the freeway, just short of Washington but ODOT has agreed to let the city explore options as needed, based on growth.
Commissioners Thompson/Young m/s to remove projects (X4) Glenn St. At-Grade Railroad Crossing and (X5) Wightman St. At-Grade Railroad Crossing as potential closures from the TSP; designate project (X1) 4th St. At-Grade Railroad Crossing as a multi-modal bike/pedestrian crossing; and approve projects (X2) Washington St. At-Grade Railroad Crossing and (X3) Normal Ave. Public Railroad Crossing.  By show of hands, motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Kampmann arrived at 6:39 p.m.
Bikeway Networks:
Mr. Faught commended the Bikeway Networks subcommittee for the work they completed at a previous meeting. Ms. Wright and Mr. Faught clarified the bikeway typology, defining shared roads, bike lanes and bicycle boulevards, and explained how the cost is calculated when adding sharrows and other treatments to the roads.
Commissioner Kampmann questioned the recommendation of project (B29) Walker Ave. which included a planned bike lane between Siskiyou Blvd and Peachey Rd.  Commissioners shared varying opinions of how this project should be classified, i.e. planned bike lane or planned bicycle blvd. 
Commissioners Thompson/Ryan m/s to approve the entire package of existing and planned bicycle projects as illustrated on the Bikeway Networks map, amending (B29) Walker Ave. from a planned bike lane to a planned bicycle blvd from Siskiyou Blvd to Peachey Rd.  Voice vote:  Commissioners Hammond, Kampmann, Ryan, Swales, Thompson, Vičville, Young, Brown, Kaplan, Marsh and Mindlin, YES.  Commissioner Dawkins, NO.  Motion passed 11-1.
Roadway Projects (R22/R23) / Proposed Multi-use Bike/Pedestrian Path:
Multi-use Path
Mr. Faught reported he met with staff members of the YMCA and discussed alternative locations of a bike/pedestrian path on their property.  Following that meeting, he met with residents of the Tolman Creek Mobile Home Park and walked the property where the proposed path would be constructed.  Based on each meeting, his recommendation to the commissions was to 1) construct a road from Clay St. to Tolman Creek Rd. (R22) only if redevelopment of the mobile home park occurred; and 2) add a multi-use bike/pedestrian path from Clay St., to Tolman Creek Rd. through the YMCA soccer field, as illustrated in Figure 11B and include a one-way security gate with a coded access for residents of the mobile home park.
Commissioners asked questions regarding potential redevelopment in neighboring properties and how it would affect construction of project R22. Other questions included the priority level of the bike/pedestrian path, the location of the existing connecting gate to the Clay Street development, and options for relocating the proposed path closer to the YMCA building.
Commissioners Kampmann/Thompson m/s to approve the multi-use bike/pedestrian path as proposed on Roadway Projects map/Figure 11B.
Commissioners discussed the need for security along the Tolman Creek Park section of the proposed path and shared various ideas.
Vičville/Dawkins m/s to amend the motion to include a secure one-way coded access gate and tall privacy fencing along the Tolman Creek Park property.
Commissioner Mindlin appreciated the YMCA and residents of the Tolman Creek Park for giving access to their property, but felt there is a huge population in the low-income housing and the Clay St. development that lacks the convenience of direct access and felt this decision abandoned them.  Commissioners Dawkins, Kampmann and Young spoke on the need for designating a formal path giving people access. 
Commissioner Marsh agreed the plan was not perfect, but it does satisfy some of the needs.  She addressed the residents of Tolman Creek Park and reassured them the commissions’ desire was to make efforts to keep their park secure and was hopeful this path would not be the burden they envision, but instead would find it useful.
Commissioner Marsh called for a vote of the amended motion.  Voice vote:  Commissioners Hammond, Kampmann, Ryan, Swales, Thompson, Vičville, Young, Brown, Dawkins, Kaplan and Marsh, YES.  Commissioner Mindlin, NO.  Motion passed 11-1.
Roadway Project (R23)
The revised Roadway Project (R23) was reviewed on a map and commissioners asked clarifying questions on the location and street classification.
Commissioners Kampmann/ Young m/s to approve the revised Roadway Project (R23). Voice vote:  All AYES.  Motion passed.
Roadway Project (R22)
Chair Marsh requested that warrants to measure the overall objective of multi-modal be built-in to the TSP to track the need for improvements. Mr. Faught stated that an impact analysis can be required with development.  Ms. Wright added that approving this connection would ensure the two developments are intended to align over time and will give staff direction how to work with a developer on a layout of the local street system.
Commissioner Heesacker arrived at 7:43.
Commissioners shared varying thoughts on adding this roadway to the TSP.  Mr. Faught suggested adding language that includes a roadway will only be constructed if the Tolman Creek Park property is redeveloped.
Commissioners Mindlin/Brown m/s to approve Roadway Project (R22) and include language in the TSP indicating “only if property is redeveloped.” Voice vote:  Commissioners Hammond, Kampmann, Ryan, Swales, Thompson, Vičville, Young, Brown, Heesacker, Kaplan, Marsh and Mindlin, YES.  Commissioner Dawkins, NO.  Motion passed 12-1.
SOU Pedestrian Crossing:
Ms. Wright referred to the SOU Planning Commission public hearings and the discussion on a pedestrian bridge crossing Siskiyou Blvd.  She shared her concerns with the original design as it related to the SOU application since it would eliminate existing crossings, but has since visited the site and currently supports a bridge following the existing diagonal path along the proposed crossing at Indiana/Wightman.   She added this type of bridge would come with a higher price tag than a more traditional design; probably in the $2 million range.  She feels this project is worth adding to the TSP, but would require additional investigation to warrant the cost estimates.
Commissioners Dawkins and Young shared their approval for pursuing the pedestrian bridge.  Commissioner Swales requested traffic counts warranting 5 lanes (4 lanes with 1 turn lane).  He felt the volume does not currently support that many lanes. Commissioner Kampmann asked for a cost comparison of an undercrossing/tunnel.  Ms. Wright stated tunnels are generally less expensive.
At the conclusion of the discussion Chair Marsh asked for a show of hands of those interested in pursuing the possibility of an overpass or underpass at this location.  Commissioners Hammond, Kampmann, Ryan, Swales, Vičville, Young, Dawkins, Heesacker, Kaplan, Marsh and Mindlin, YES.  Commissioner Brown and Thompson, NO.  Majority vote: YES. 
Chair Marsh requested this item be added to the June 14, 2012 TC/PC meeting agenda; include cost information; and invite SOU to attend and provide input.
Fees in Lieu of Sidewalk:
Did not discuss.
Clay Street Alternative:
Mr. Faught reported that both he and Ms. Wright visited the area today and noted a well worn trail indicating heavy pedestrian usage.  He shared the pros and cons of constructing a path in this area including (pros) an opportunity to connect to the shopping centers, utilizing the Trails along Rails program, and (cons) security issues.
Commissioners discussed the option of an underground pass from Clay Street and if the need is for bike/pedestrian only, or to include vehicles. Mr. Faught recommended approving a line on the map for pedestrian crossing.
Commissioner Swales referred to a previous planning action for the Coming Attractions Theatres and if a discussion took place with the property owners granting access to the path.  He asked if there was a condition of approval for that planning action.   Community Development Director, Bill Molnar, replied there was a discussion in terms of the owner installing a gate but that action had expired.  He hoped to have a broader discussion within the next 30 days with the Coming Attractions owners and other investors of the shopping center.  He added the owners in this area are aware of the interest in trying to get pedestrians into the shopping center but have been experiencing trespassing problems resulting in building the current fence.  He agreed it would be beneficial to have a designated path on the map.
Commissioners Heesacker/Mindlin m/s to approve a line indicating a bike/pedestrian crossing to be constructed underneath the Ashland Street overpass, at the turn of Clay Street , that will connect into the shopping area and proceed to Tolman Crk Rd.  Voice vote:  all AYES.  Motion passed.
Commissioner Kampmann was concerned about the angles of the property and how they will affect the design and private property. Mr. Faught replied the plan is to build the path where the existing worn path is being utilized and will use the Trails along Rails program to assist with the design.
ODOT – Median/Roundabout:
Did not discuss.
Transit :
Route 8
Mr. Faught summarized the efforts of the Transit subcommittee and explained the recommended modified Route 8 included the Ashland Community Hospital, Mountain Meadows and Nevada St.  Commissioners were provided a map to review.
Commissioners discussed alternative options that were not included in the final recommendations of the Transit subcommittee which included the need to provide a southern hill based route when thinking long term (20 year plan).  Ms. Wright explained how the hill based route would require a different vehicle and would entail additional capital and operation costs depending on the frequency and length of the route.  She added costs could double or even triple. 
Rubber Tire Trolley
Mr. Faught shared the Transit subcommittee’s goal when designing this route was to provide a fun and interesting shuttle service for tourists between hotels and the downtown area points of interest, and that the subcommittee discussed the need to provide an enticing option to driving cars into the already congested downtown area.  The intended tourist shuttle would operate in the afternoon/late evening hours and only run seasonally.  A map was provided with three different routes the subcommittee considered; however Mr. Faught recommended the purple line route based on further review and staff report after driving each route.
Commissioners discussed the possibility of needing to include 4th Street if a rail service is put into operation in the future; using small vans instead of trolleys; the potential infrastructure offset of downtown parking; public safety; American Disabilities Act (ADA) and paratransit; including a ski route; limiting the route to end near the SOU campus instead of extending it to Exit 14; and a node stop for a park n’ ride area.
Commissioners Ryan/Vičville m/s to approve the subcommittee’s recommended Route 8, the recommended Rubber Trolley purple line, the elimination of the Near Term Express Route,  and agree to note a long term goal to develop transit in the southern hills area when feasible.  Voice vote:  Commissioners Hammond, Ryan, Swales, Thompson, Vičville, Young, Brown, Dawkins, Heesacker, Kaplan, Marsh and Mindlin, YES.  Commissioner Kampmann, NO.  Motion passed 12-1.
(O1) Create TravelSmart Educational Program:
Did not discuss.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:58 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,
Jodi Vizzini, Office Assistant II

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