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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Joint TC PC Meeting

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June 14, 2012
Chair Pam Marsh called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
Transportation Commissioners Present: Tom Burnham, Mike Gardiner, Pam Hammond, Shawn Kampmann, and Colin Swales
Planning Commissioners Present:  Tony J. Brown, Michael Dawkins, Eric Heesacker, Richard Kaplan, Pam Marsh, and Debbie Miller
Staff Present:  Mike Faught, Karl Johnson and Jodi Vizzini
Ex Officio:  Bill Molnar and Brandon Goldman
Council Liaison:  David Chapman
Transportation Commissioners Absent:  Corinne Vièville and David Young
Planning Commissioners Absent:  Melanie Mindlin
Commissioner Marsh began the meeting by adjusting the agenda to cover non-voting items until a quorum was present.
Review Final TSP Timeline
Mike Faught reviewed the Transportation System Plan (TSP) Timeline and explained an additional meeting will be necessary in mid July to discuss the Washington St. /Tolman Cr. connection.  He added the consultants will need four weeks to put together the final constrained plan, so a meeting in mid August will need to be scheduled as well. Commissioner Marsh suggested a Doodle poll to confirm availability for the next meetings.
Commissioner Miller arrived at 6:15 p.m.
No one came forward to speak.
SOU Pedestrian Crossing
Staff Report
Mr. Faught acknowledged the genuine interest of the joint Commissions was to add and require a pedestrian crossing on Siskiyou Blvd. at Wightman St.  Susie Wright, Kittelson & Associates, recapped the concept as a grade separated pedestrian crossing at the same location as the striped diagonal crosswalk, designated as part of the Southern Oregon University (SOU) Housing Development.  She explained the key to success of the project would be a bridge with long ramps that extend into the quadrants of the campus giving a direct route for pedestrians from the dorms to campus without sacrificing existing crosswalks in the area. She gave a ballpark estimate of this development at $2 million, using the Barnett Exchange pedestrian bridge as an example.
Mr. Faught shared SOU’s concern is the potential $2 million development requirement and suggested the project be added to the TSP as a standalone project and not driven by SOU’s development.  He added that grant funding and/or school funding can be pursued to finance the project in the future.
SOU Staff Presentation
Jonathan Eldridge, Vice President for Student Affairs and Drew Gilliland, Director of Facilities Management and Planning thanked the Commissions for the opportunity to speak on behalf of SOU. Mr. Eldridge stated from a university standpoint they support the study of the pedestrian overpass; however having requirements associated with it without studies to back the project is questionable. He shared current data on student population, student traffic and connectivity between dorms and campus buildings.  Mr. Gilliland explained how student routes will change with the new development and encouraged the Commissions to wait for more data before making a decision.  He added it was encouraging to hear this project will be a partnership with the City as the intersection serves both the community and students. Mr. Eldridge summarized SOU’s request to not be so specific with the plan when future studies may indicate a different location and/or design necessary.
Questions for Applicant
Would SOU consider a tunnel option? 
It poses a security/safety issue; infrastructure issues
Commissioner Hammond arrived 6:22 p.m.
Deliberations and Decisions
Commissioner Marsh summarized SOU’s suggestion to include an ongoing study of an overpass and/or alternatives, recognizing transport through this area is a high priority for the City and SOU as a partner.
Commissioner Miller supported giving time for studies and data compilation.  Ms. Wright explained a project of this magnitude would not go forward without a preliminary engineering and feasibility phase.
Mr. Faught recommended keeping the pedestrian crossing in the unfunded part of the TSP, and the study in the funded section.  Ms. Wright added indicating the exact location would be appropriate.
Commissioner Brown recommended eliminating the concept of the overpass and look at crossings that affect SOU from one intersection to another and the patterns across the university; not limiting the study to just an overpass at a specific location.  Commissioner Kampmann agreed.  Commissioner Burnham disagreed and stated this intersection should be the focus.  He added it has been studied and doing another study would be redundant.
Ms. Wright stated if the goal is to ultimately enhance the crossing to capture the most students it would be appropriate to look north and south and evaluate the travel patterns. She added the engineering and feasibility study should go hand in hand. Commissioner Kaplan agreed with this approach and added the importance of looking at all types of crossings, signal treatments, and the intersections that might impact the critical intersection.
Commissioner Kampmann questioned the current study findings on capacity at this intersection.  Mr. Wright explained the pedestrian capacity findings and concerns about the Bridge St. crossing and how the demand of that intersection will impact a signal progression at Indiana/Wightman.
Commissioners Kampmann/Miller m/s to approve a study of pedestrian crossings on Siskiyou Blvd. in the SOU vicinity and look at all alternate crossings; monitor the diagonal crossing; and include an engineer studyDiscussion: Commissioner Swales suggested adding the crossing at Ashland St/Walker Ave. Commissioner Kampmann agreed and added the study should include Garfield St. Commissioner Kampmann amended the motion to include a study from Walker Ave./Siskiyou/Garfield.  Commissioner Miller asked for clarification of the time frame of the study and if the study will take place after the development of the new dormitory.
Mr. Faught recommended the Commissions request a project sheet for the TSP and bring it back to the next meeting instead of making a motion.
Commissioner Kampmann withdrew the motion.  Commissioner Marsh confirmed the Commissions would like staff to create a project sheet with cost estimates and details and present it at the next meeting.
Commissioners Swales/Kaplan m/s to approve the May 16, 2012, Joint TC/PC minutes.  Voice vote:  all AYES. Minutes approved.
Commissioners Burnham/Heesacker m/s to approve the May 8, 2012, Bikeway Networks Subcommittee minutes.  Voice vote:  all AYES.  Minutes approved.
[Brown, Dawkins, Gardiner, Hammond, Kampmann, Kaplan, Marsh, Miller and Swales abstained]
Commissioners Swales/Kampmann m/s to approve the April 25, 2012 Downtown Plan Subcommittee minutes. Voice vote:  all AYES. Minutes were approved as corrected. 
[Brown, Burnham, Gardiner, Heesacker and Miller abstained]
Commissioners Dawkins/Gardiner m/s to approve the April 23, 2012, Transit Subcommittee minutes. Voice vote:  all AYES. Minutes approved.
[Brown, Burnham, Hammond, Heesacker, Kampmann, Kaplan, Miller and Swales abstained]
Staff Recommended Safe Routes to School
Karl Johnson, Associate Engineer, explained staff recommended revisions to previously approved Safe Routes to School.  The recommendations were:
Lincoln St.
Reduce priority to medium.
Quincy St.
Reduce priority to medium.
Water St.
Completion of both sides from Central Ave. to Van Ness Ave. Reduce priority to medium.
Diane St.
Completion of south side from Jaquelyn St. to Tolman Crk Rd.
High St. (Manzanita to Wimer)
Recommend removing from list.
High St. (Manzanita to Laurel)
Recommend removing from list.
Manzanita St.
Recommend removing from list.
Patterson St.
Recommend completion of north-side from Carol St. to Crispin St.
Orchard St.
Recommend completion of south-side from Sunnyview St. to Westwood St. Reduce priority to low.
Spring Creek Dr.
Recommend removing from list.
(Mr. Johnson changed his recommendation to remove; leave as approve.)
Commissioners Gardiner/Brown m/s to approve the Safe Routes to School staff recommended revisions as listed, with the exception of Lincoln St. (leave as high priority).  Voice vote: all AYES.  Motion passed 11 – 0.
Commissioner Swales suggested the City have safe routes to school maps readily available for residents.  He was also concerned with the crossing of E. Main St. at Hersey/Wimer and how that is being addressed with the road diet.  He added the need to include Hersey St. as a safe route to school.
Mr. Faught explained there is an existing sidewalk project plan included in the Hersey/Wimer realignment that he will send to Commissioner Swales.
Staff Recommended Shared Roads
Mr. Faught explained the concept of shared roads and used Grandview St. as an example of a low volume street with slow speeds, no sidewalks, shares the road with all modes of transportation, and has constraints that do not allow street standards.  Based on those criteria, staff provided a list of recommended shared roads for the Commissions to review.
The Commissions discussed several of the roads on the list and made suggestions.  Mr. Faught stated that staff will create an amended list and coordinated map to present at the next meeting.  Commissioner Marsh added the Commissions will forego a motion and noted a consensus to move forward with a fundamental list and the additions Mr. Faught will investigate.
Fee in Lieu of Sidewalk
Ms. Wright explained fee in lieu option development code as an ordinance that many cities have, which allows a development applicant to request to pay a fee in lieu instead of constructing a sidewalk in front of the development.  She shared several reasons an applicant or City would request a fee in lieu instead of sidewalk construction. Ms. Wright recommended the TSP support a policy of fee in lieu.  She referred to an ordinance from the City of St. Helens as an example.  Commissioners asked clarifying questions.
Commissioner Marsh summarized the discussion by stating the ordinance is potentially a very important tool that will allow a more credible and usable sidewalk system.

The Commissions acknowledged their agreement with the concept.
Downtown Plan
Mr. Faught explained he used the incorrect project number during the last Downtown Plan Subcommittee meeting and clarified he meant to refer to Project (R37) as the preferred project; not Project (R15). He referred to an updated Downtown Projects spreadsheet which clarified the revised recommendations: delete Project (R15); delete Project (R16); and approve Project (R37).
Ms. Wright introduced the Draft Concept Drawings of E. Main St. which were based on the consensus of interest in reducing E. Main St. to two travel lanes.  The drawings included a near term Project (R15) E. Main St. Buffered Bike Lane Concept and a long term Project (R37) E. Main St. Sidewalk Widening Concept.  She added the illustrations were draft concepts, not final preliminary engineering designs and were intended to give the Commissions an idea of what the concepts would look like.  
Project (R37)
Ms. Wright explained the main interest of the Downtown Plan Subcommittee was the long term Project (R37) which includes two travel lanes, wider sidewalks, curb extensions at intersections, and a bike lane without compromising on-street parking. She recommended adding Oak St. as a signalized intersection, removing the free flowing movement out of the Plaza. She added that three travel lanes will resume prior to the Second St. intersection.
Project (R15)
Ms. Wright explained the Project (R15) concept as using the third lane for a buffered bike lane without widening sidewalks.  She added the positive attributes as a near term alternative include experiencing two lanes without major reconstruction; and has potential positives as it relates to truck parking.  She explained that currently E. Main St. operates with two lanes due to truck delivery using both sides of the street.  The buffered bike lane could be used for truck parking as designated space for loading and unloading on one side without impacting the flow of traffic.
Commissioner questions/comments included:
  • A recommendation was made to get rid of the three legged crosswalk at Oak St.; allowing only an upstream crosswalk.
  • Answer:  Ms. Wright explained that signalizing this intersection would remedy the problem.
  • A comment was made about the recent traffic congestion due to the cell tower repair on E. Main St. forcing traffic into a one lane crawl for hours.
  • Downtown Ashland works civilly during power outages; not in favor of more signalized intersections.
  • How will the truck parking work going from three travel lanes to two travel lanes?
  • Answer:  Mr. Faught explained this will need to be worked out before any change can be made (as discussed in previous meetings).
  • Is it illegal to park in a bike lane?
  • Answer:  Ms. Wright answered that parking in a bike lane is illegal, but trucks can make deliveries legally utilizing a bike lane.
  • Designating a truck parking lane will create jaywalking delivery persons with hand trucks crossing two lanes of traffic.
  • A designated truck delivery lane will not guarantee that drivers will use that lane; drivers will park on the side of the street that is most convenient.
  • A comment was made about the history of travel lanes through Ashland and noted the third lane was specifically added for truck deliveries
Commissioner Marsh summarized the discussion by stating the Downtown Plan Subcommittee supported the concept of a two lane road with potentially wider sidewalks, bike lanes, and a delivery truck parking study. She suggested going forward with this language acknowledging the specific design will vary depending on the study results.
Commissioners Kampmann/Kaplan m/s to approve the Downtown Plan Subcommittee recommendations and the recommendations highlighted in yellow on the spreadsheet; and include the caveat Project (R3/R4) E. Main St./Oak St. to be signalized when warrants are met.
Commissioners Burnham/Swales m/s to amend the motion to include changing the recommendation of (L4) Street Patios from delete to approve. Discussion: Commissioner Kampmann stated Project (R37) includes wider sidewalks and bump outs; street patios could be an option in the future if it is developed.   Mr. Faught added the Chamber of Commerce was in opposition of (L4).  Commissioner Swales stated that (L4) is a creative idea the consultants came up with and he would be disappointed if the option was nixed early in the process.  He added there are other ways to incorporate it. Commissioner Marsh agreed in terms of the creative idea but felt it was a red herring in the discussion and is not essential to the plan, causing consternation with partners in the community.
Commissioner Marsh asked for a show of hands in favor of the amended motion:  Commissioners Burnham, Dawkins, Heesacker, Miller and Swales in favor; Commissioners Brown, Gardiner, Hammond, Kampmann, Kaplan and Marsh opposed.  Motion failed 5 – 6.
Commissioner Marsh asked for comments before returning to the main motion.  Commissioner Swales stated the (S8) Downtown Couplet Transition Study is important to the overall downtown planning and should have a placeholder in the TSP.
Commissioners Swales/Dawkins m/s to amend the main motion to include approval of (S8) Downtown Couplet Transition Study. Discussion: Commissioner Swales clarified he is in favor of a study to remove the downtown couplet system and returning two-way traffic to both E. Main St. and Lithia Way.  Ms. Wright explained the concerns of the preliminary findings and how the treatments would impact multiple buildings, bike lanes, and turn movements at traffic signals.
Commissioner Marsh asked for a show of hands in favor of the amended motion:  Commissioners Dawkins and Swales in favor; Commissioners Brown, Burnham, Gardiner, Hammond, Heesacker, Kampmann, Kaplan, Marsh and Miller opposed.  Motion failed 2 – 9.
Commissioners voted on the main motion to approve the Downtown Plan Subcommittee recommendations and the recommendations highlighted in yellow on the spreadsheet; and include the caveat Project (R3/R4) E. Main St./Oak St. to be signalized when warrants are met.  Commissioners Brown, Gardiner, Heesacker, Kampmann, Kaplan, Marsh, and Miller in favor. Commissioners Burnham, Dawkins, Hammond and Swales opposed.  Motion passed 7 – 4.
Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) - Median/Roundabout
Mr. Faught asked the Commissions to review the proposed realignment Project (R8) and roundabout Project (R9) at Ashland St. (OR 66)/Oak Knoll/ E. Main St. for reference.  He explained the memo from John McDonald indicated ODOT will follow the City’s lead and will amend the Interchange Area Management Plan (IAMP) to be consistent with the City’s TSP. Based on that information, Mr. Faught recommended adding Project (R8) to the constrained plan, and Project (R9) as a preferred plan (non-constrained).
The Commissions discussed the intersection at hand and future solutions if triggered by development.
Commissioners Heesacker /Brown m/s to add Project (R8) to the constrained plan of the TSP and Project (R9) to the preferred plan (non-constrained).  Voice vote:  Commissioners Brown, Burnham, Dawkins, Hammond, Heesacker, Gardiner, Kampmann, Kaplan, Marsh, Miller, YES.  Commissioner Swales, NO.  Motion passed 10 – 1.
(O1) Create TravelSmart Educational Program
Ms. Wright explained the concept of theTravelSmart Educational Program as a programmatic approach to increase the amount of people who are walking, biking, and taking transit.  She added the approach is an individualized marketing program that actively educates and promotes City-wide and/ or targets interests neighborhood by neighborhood.  She shared the program has the added benefit of being one of the items on the checklist to become a platinum rated bicycle community.  She recommended adding this program to the TSP with a budget of $45,000 or $15,000 for three years. This cost was based on data from other cities with an outreach goal of 1,000 homes.
Questions/Comments from Commissioners:
  • Educational flyers do not seem cutting edge; marketing strategies need to be updated, i.e. Smartphone apps.
  • Answer:  The program can be created to reach the community in a variety of ways to educate the public.
  • Can this program be targeted for tourists?
  • Answer:  The program can be modeled to include tourists.
  • Is this a fixed nation-wide program?
  • Answer:  No, it is a localized trend; not a fixed program.

Commissioners Brown/Heesacker m/s to include the TravelSmart Educational Program in the TSP, incorporating a budget of $45,000 to be used in various ways to educate the public.  Voice vote: Commissioners Brown, Burnham, Dawkins, Hammond, Heesacker, Gardiner, Kaplan, Marsh, Miller, Swales,  YES.  Kampmann, NO.  Motion passed 10 – 1.
Meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Jodi Vizzini, Public Works Assistant


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