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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Joint TC/PC Downtown Plan Subcommittee

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

APRIL 25, 2012


Mike Faught called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m. in the Lithia Room, 51 Winburn Way.
Transportation Commissioners Present:  Pam Hammond, Shawn Kampmann, Colin Swales and Corinne Vièville
Planning Commissioners Present: Michael Dawkins, Richard Kaplan and Pam Marsh
Staff Present:  Mike Faught and Jodi Vizzini
ExOfficio Member: Maria Harris, Planning Manager
Commissioner Kaplan pointed out the Final TSP timeline conflicts with the Land Use Code Public Hearings in November and December.  Mr. Faught stated a joint TC/PC meeting could be added in August if needed.
Commissioners Hammond/Kaplan m/s to approve the April 11, 2012 Downtown Plan Subcommittee minutes.  Minutes were approved as presented.
Lithia Way
The subcommittee reviewed information from Susan Wright, Kittelson & Associates, regarding the potential modification of Lithia Way from one-way to a two-way street.
Commissioner Swales stated that ODOT figures show reduced traffic counts over the last 10 years and asked for clarification of expected growth under the future 2034 conditions.  Mr. Faught stated forecasted growth is based on current traffic.  Mr. Faught added he will bring the data to the entire joint TC/PC for review.  He felt that multi-modal will cause traffic to decline in the future.  
Commissioner Dawkins was not in agreement with Kittelson’s evaluation suggesting Lithia Way would fail as a two-way street.  He has been pushing for a paradigm shift and stated he would vote against taking it off the table and would like to look at alternatives.  Commissioners Vièville and Hammond disagreed with his reasoning.  Mr. Faught stated he does not think another study is feasible based on Kittelson’s evaluation.
Commissioner Marsh shared she is in favor of Lithia Way being a two-way street, but felt the direction should focus on creating a better environment for pedestrians and businesses.  Commissioner Swales suggested if the downtown plan is on the Council goals for 2013, then a placeholder should be in the TSP to be discussed in the future.  Commissioner Marsh felt the commission’s goal was to come up with a TSP recommendation for a downtown plan, recognizing it may come up in the future.  She recommended setting this option aside acknowledging that another group may bring it back again the future.
E. Main/Three Lanes to Two Lanes
Commissioners discussed the strategy of converting E. Main from three lanes to a two lane street.  Commissioners shared varying views on buffered bike lanes, street patios, general parking and delivery truck parking.  Arguments in favor included slower vehicle speed, safer bike lanes, and pedestrian travel.  Arguments in opposition included moving cars through more efficiently.
(R3/R4) E. Main Street/Oak Street Intersection Improvements
Commissioners discussed several options for the Oak St./E. Main intersection.  Ideas included restricting traffic from crossing E. Main to Oak Street coming out of the Plaza making this a right turn only, removing the second pedestrian crossing south of the intersection, and installing traffic signals.  It was determined more data is needed on restricting cars to a right turn only traveling ouf of the Plaza and the impact it will cause on vehicles needing to make an immediate left turn on S. Pioneer St.  Mr. Faught stated he will request data from Kittelson & Associates and bring it to the full TC/PC for review.
(R5) Siskiyou Blvd/Lithia Way/E. Main Street Intersection Improvements
Commissioners shared differing views on the need to improve this intersection.  Topics of discussion were poor visibility, frequent accidents, difficulty of pedestrian crossing, and limited signage announcing the entry to downtown.  Commissioner Marsh shared she was not satisfied with this option as a solution and felt there were opportunities for improving the gateway into downtown.  Commissioner Kampmann stated improvements were previously made with the Siskiyou Blvd. project which included the current island, buffered pedestrian crossing and signage. Commissioner Hammond agreed that funds have already been spent in this area on improvements.  Commissioner Swales felt that signage could be improved.
(X1) 4th Street At-Grade Railroad Crossing
Commissioners shared varying ideas on this crossing.  Maria Harris offered explanation of the adopted street dedication map for this area which included a crossing.  It was determined that further review needs to take place before a decision can be made. 
Policies discussed individually from table:
# Description Subcommittee Recommendations
Incorporate Wider Sidewalks
As feasible, incorporate wider sidewalks into downtown projects to provide more space for pedestrians Approve: 
Goes on list from three-lane to two-lane study
Street Patios
Allow for downtown restaurant owners to apply for temporary seasonal street patios Delete
Incorporate Preferred Pedestrian Treatments
Incorporate preferred pedestrian treatments into downtown projects, as feasible Approve: 
Policy across the board, not just downtown, overreaching policy, add additional verbiage to include rewarding people for pedestrian treatments
Encourage Alley Enhancements
Encourages property owners along alleys to enhance the environment through improved landscaping, businesses oriented towards the alley and other similar characteristics Approve
Incorporate Bicycle Parking
As feasible, incorporate bicycle parking into downtown projects Approve
Develop Incentives for Truck Loading/Unloading
Work with Chamber of Commerce and downtown business owners to reduce delivery and pick-up of goods in peak hours Approve: 
Will stand alone if not doing three to two
lanes on N. Main
(Reference (R15))
(L9)  Update
Downtown Parking
Work with Chamber of Commerce and downtown business to update parking management strategies Approve
(R3/R4) E. Main
Street (OR 99
Street Intersection
Install a traffic signal and convert the eastbound right turn lane from a free flow movement to a signalized movement. Subject to R15 approval; if not approved, need alternate redesign of this intersection, including evaluation of crosswalk on E. Main/south of Oak St. (near Wells Fargo Bank).
(R5) Siskiyou Blvd (OR 99)-Lithia Way (OR 99 NB)-E. Main Street (OR 99 SB)/East Main St. Intersection Improvements Improve visibility of signal heads. Identify and install treatments to slow vehicles on northbound approach Approve
(R11) Lithia Way (OR 99 NB)/Oak Street Intersection Improvements Install a traffic signal Install when warrants are met
(R15) E. Main St. (OR 99 SB)
Cross-Section Modifications
Modify the cross-section of E. Main St. from Oak St. to southern couplet terminus to two vehicle travel lanes with a buffered bicycle lane Approve:
Add further review of truck parking; not compromising existing parking  (Reference (L8))
(R16) Lithia Way (OR 99 NB)
Cross-Section Modifications
Modify the cross-section of Lithia Way to provide buffered space between the bicycle lane and vehicles Approve 
(R37) main Street Cross-Section Modification with Wider Sidewalks Update the Main St. roadway cross-section from R15 to include wider sidewalks. Requires converting buffered bicycle lane to a traditional bicycle lane No conclusion
(S2) Downtown Parking Management Study Study to evaluate the effectiveness of updated downtown parking management strategies and initiatives as well as their transferability to other parts of Ashland such as the Railroad District and Crowman Mill site Approve
(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 Delete
(X1) 4th Street At-Grade Railroad Crossing Close Glenn St. at-grade railroad crossing if the City is unable to secure a rail order for a new at-grade crossing as they pursue the 4th Street, Normal Ave. and/or Washington Street at-grade railroad crossings. Tabled for joint TC/PC further discussion 
Meeting was adjourned at 7:35 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,
Jodi Vizzini, Public Works Assistant

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