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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Joint TC/PC Transit Subcommittee

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23, 2012
Mike Faught called the meeting to order at 5:06 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way.
Transportation Commissioners Present:  Mike Gardiner
Planning Commissioners Present: Michael Dawkins and Pam Marsh
Staff Present:  Mike Faught and Jodi Vizzini
ExOfficio Member:  not present
Near Term Express Option
Discussion was held regarding a location for a Near Term Express Route.  Locations discussed included Hargadine, Railroad Property, and the Plaza. The conclusion from the discussion was to recommend removing the Near Term Express Route as illustrated in Figure 6 - Existing and Planned Transit Service map.
Modified Route 8
Discussion was held regarding route options. Topics of consideration were densities, including Ashland Hospital and the Senior Center in the route, and adding spider routes. The subcommittee established a potential alternate to Kittelsonís Modified Route 8 via Nevada Street as illustrated in Figure 8C.  It extends the route to Walker Avenue, passes the transit hub, removes the Orange/Glenn section, and continues on the Laurel/Hersey/Wimer/Chestnut/Maple/N. Main loop.
It was determined the hospital route is vitally important to the community and that it should be included in the TSP.  Challenges include the use of smaller buses which RVTD does not own, and helping RVTD acquire a grant to purchase such vehicles. This lead to discussions on paratransit and subsidy.
Tourist Shuttle
The subcommittee discussed options for a route that would address the need for tourists visiting the City who do not want the hassle of using their cars.  The tourist shuttle would also help solve the existing parking problem by freeing up parking spaces in the downtown area. The criteria for the tourist shuttle were; needs to be a fun mode of transportation which will attract riders, i.e. motorized trolley; 15 minute route; hotel route beginning at Exit 14, stopping by the transit hub, and ending at the Plaza; and limited afternoon/evening hours. 
A suggestion was made to include a workday shuttle that would run from the transit hub to the Plaza and back. The shuttle would run during the workday, then transition into the Tourist Shuttle in the afternoon/evening. It was concluded that the tourist shuttle would not be limited to tourists but would encourage local residents to use it as an alternative to driving and parking in the downtown area.
It was determined these routes are important to include in the TSP and will need more research on the possibility of contracting services to make it work. Mr. Faught stated he will assign Kittelson & Associates to look into how the timing of additional routes will interact with the existing RVTD Route 10.
Commuter Rail
Mr. Faught stressed the importance of protecting the possibility of a commuter rail for the future. The subcommittee discussed efforts to upgrade the railroad for freight and ODOTs effort to fix tunnels.  Mr. Faught felt it was necessary to include a statement in the TSP that identifies commuter rail as in important transportation link for the future. He added he will include this discussion at the next joint TC/PC meeting and will have Kittelson & Associates prepare a written document for consideration stating the densities do not warrant at this time, but it is a viable option for the future.  The subcommittee felt it was important to keep this on the table for discussion.
Mr. Faught shared the Councilís direction of continuing with the $80,000 RVTD low-income subsidy which will come out of the $200,000 budgeted.  The subcommittee discussed options for the remaining budgeted funds which included an additional route, additional support for Route 10, and increased ridership on Saturdays.
The subcommittee questioned if RVTD tracks riders who are paying $1.00 or $2.00, and requested that staff obtain this information. They proposed a program that allows all riders, Ashland resident or not, to only pay $1.00 if loading a bus in Ashland as an incentive for increased ridership and to support the important social system/human service element within the community. Commissioner Marsh felt that subsidies should be structured in a way that moves toward the longer term plan.  Mr. Faught stated Route 8 would be a logical subsidy recommendation, as well as the tourist shuttle route.
Other Discussions
Mr. Faught explained that SOU is taking the Planning Commissionís requirements for TDMs seriously and meeting with RVTD to do their own bus system.  The subcommittee looked at ways to address the 3,000 students who commute and the traffic impact including parking. Mr. Faught stated he would explore this further.
Final topics of discussion included Park n Ride areas, infrastructure priorities, i.e. parking in downtown, free transit, paratransit to transit, and the possibility of the City running a free shuttle. Mr. Faught asked the subcommittee to think about how to use a potential $20,000 infrastructure grant from Cycle Oregon.  He asked the subcommittee to consider installation of two bike stations where bikes can be rented.  The subcommittee talked about where to strategically place them, which included SOU, the airport, and the downtown area.
Meeting was adjourned at 6:50 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,
Jodi Vizzini, Public Works Assistant

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