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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Joint TC/PC Meeting

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 16, 2012
Chair David Young 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, Colin Swales, Corinne Vièville, and David Young
Planning Commissioners Present: Troy J. Brown, Jr., Eric Heesacker, Richard Kaplan, Pam Marsh, Debbie Miller and Melanie Mindlin (arrived at 6:07 p.m.)
Staff Present: Mike Faught and Jodi Vizzini
Council Liaison Present: David Chapman
Transportation Commissioners Absent: All present
Planning Commissioners Absent:  Michael Dawkins
Commissioners Swales/Burnham m/s to approve the July 12, 2012 minutes.  Voice vote:  all AYES. Motion passed 11 – 0.  [Commissioner Kaplan abstained; Commission Mindlin not yet present.]
No one came forward to speak.
(TR1) Planned Bike Path/Greenway
Staff Report
Mike Faught stated the bikeway network map was previously approved by the Commissions, but an additional path (TR1) was added to the approved map. He explained the location of the multi-use path (TR1) and added staff was recommending approval of the additional path.
Commissioners Questions/Comments
  • An explanation for adding the path was requested as it seemed redundant.  Response: Having access on both sides of the railroad tracks will reduce the access challenge and the need to cross the tracks.
  • How much right-of-way is currently in place? Answer: A right-of-way does not currently exist. 
  • Will the current bike path remain in place? Answer:  Yes.
  • Does adding this route to the Transportation System Plan (TSP) mean it is predestined or simply tagging it for the possibility?  Answer:  It may not be built for some time, but the multi-use path will be identified as an important link in the TSP.
  • If the freight rail returns, will it impede the bike path? Answer: There is an established safe distance for trails along rails that will be followed.
  • Is this an area where contaminated soil will need to be removed? Answer:  Staff is not aware of the issue in this location. 
  • What is happening behind Ashland Co-op? Answer:  The City will attempt to acquire the right-of-way on both sides of the track.
Commissioners Heesacker/Swales m/s to include (TR1) in the bikeway network of the financially constrained plan of the TSP.  DISCUSSION:  Commissioner Burnham stated he is in favor of bikeways but this one seems redundant.  Commissioner Kampmann questioned if there had been any consideration in completing the existing path on the south side of the railroad tracks before adding a path on the north side. Commissioner Brown expressed the importance of connectivity without the need to cross the tracks several times to get to a destination. Commissioner Young concluded the discussion by adding the path would make it easier for other modes of transportation to be chosen and will be a positive visionary piece to have in the TSP. Commissioner Young asked for a show of hands in favor of the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.
(R25) Washington St./Tolman Creek Rd. Street Connection Project  
Staff Report
Mr. Faught gave an overview of the importance of the Washington St. /Tolman Crk. Rd. connection in the TSP.  He presented a master site plan provided by the property owner, Zach Brombacher, for review and clarified important details of the plan and the updated letter of intent.
Zach Brombacher/1370 Tolman Creek Rd./Recognized the diligent work Mr. Faught has put into working with him and acknowledged the Commissions for listening to his requests. He stated he has owned the property for 45 years and outlined his long-term vision for the property site. He noted he is not in favor of having the roadway run through his property, but has made efforts in good faith to work with the City. He added the process has been unique and refreshing for his family to see.
Several Commissioners thanked Mr. Brombacher for his effort in working with the City, acknowledging the road is not what he would ideally choose for his property, recognized his spirit of compromise and cooperation, and hoped he felt the plan will benefit him in some ways. 
Mr. Faught clarified the action staff was recommending was to add project (R25) to the TSP with the contingency the City will buy the right-of-way, construct the road, and work on the items listed in the letter of intent.
Commissioners Questions/Comments
  • A request was made to clarify the language in Item #8 of the letter of intent where it states the planning costs will be paid by the City; it suggests the City becomes a collaborator for the master plan. Response: The letter of intent refers to City staff time; not planning costs. The intention is to assist Mr. Brombacher from point A to point B of the master plan. (It was determined the last sentence of #8 will be deleted.)
  • Several Commissioners commented the City typically assists the applicant during the planning process and did not see this as anything different than the normal procedure.
  • Comment was made expressing concern as to whether this would set a precedent for future applicants asking the City to pay for the right-of-way and construction of a new road through property.  Response:  There are circumstances where the connection is important causing the City to pursue this process. Staff will look for economic development funds to pay for the project.
Commissioner Brown expressed during the normal planning process the City works with the applicant and therefore felt Item #8 was not germane to this particular application. He suggested a motion removing Item #8 from the letter of intent.  Mr. Faught voiced concern if the language is dropped, it will appear to Mr. Brombacher that staff is abandoning him at the application process. He stressed the importance of leaving the verbiage in the letter. Commissioner Gardiner agreed the letter of intent could be in the motion, but needed rewording. 
The Commissions discussed the process further and asked Mr. Brombacher to clarify his vision of the process.
Commissioners Heesacker/Vièville m/s to include project (R25) in the TSP, with the contingency the City will buy the right-of-way, construct the road, and move forward with the items listed on the letter of intent which will be reworded to meet Council’s satisfaction. Commissioner Young asked for a show of hands in favor of the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.
(B1) Downtown Sharrows
Staff Report
Mr. Faught reaffirmed the concept of three lanes to two lanes on N. Main St. had been moved into the downtown transportation plan study, leaving a void for bikes.  He noted that Kittelson & Associates suggested adding sharrows for the short term and provided an illustration of a conceptual map for the Commissions to review. 
Commissioners Questions/Comments
  • Will signage be included?  Answer: Yes.
  • Will sharrows be added to the road until better bike protection is provided?  Answer: Currently the bike lane stops at N. Main St. and bikes do not have a designated space to ride. Adding sharrows on N. Main St. will designate a bike route through downtown, connecting to the bike lane on Siskiyou Blvd.
  • Where will the sharrows start and stop? Answer:  The sharrows will begin just past Helman St. and end on Siskiyou Blvd. where the bike path picks up again.
  • Comment was made stating sharrows should be included on Lithia Way from Oak St. to Helman St.
The Commissions discussed the effectiveness of adding sharrows to roads.  Concern was voiced as to whether sharrows create an illusion of safety for bicycles without the added protection of a bike lane. Several Commissioners commented sharrows serve the purpose of alerting motorists of potential cyclists on the road.
Commissioners Heesacker/Swales m/s to approve the exhibit illustrating sharrows on N. Main St. with the addition of sharrows on north bound Lithia Way between Oak St. and Helman St. Commissioners Brown, Burnham, Gardiner, Hammond, Heesacker, Kaplan, Marsh, Miller, Mindlin, Swales, Vièville, and Young, YES. Motion passed 12 – 0.  [Commissioner Kampmann abstained.]
(R10) Oak St./Van Ness Ave. Intersection Project
Staff Report
Mr. Faught provided information on the (R10) intersection project and voiced his opposition to the project as the proposed road would go through two homes in the historic district.  He recommended removing this project from the TSP. 
Commissioners Kampmann /Swales m/s to remove (R10) Oak St./Van Ness Ave. Intersection Project from the TSP.  Commissioner Young asked for a show of hands in favor of the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.
(B35) Shared Roads – Pinecrest Terrace
Staff Report
Mr. Faught reminded the Commissions they voted in approval of adding the section of Pinecrest Terrace from Walker Ave. to Starlight Pl. to the shared roads list at the previous meeting.  He added that following the meeting he drove the road and asked the traffic engineers to evaluate it. Based on both actions, he determined this section as an unsafe location for a shared road.  He recommended the Commissions remove this section of Pinecrest Terrace from the shared roads list.
Commissioners Burnham/Marsh m/s to remove the section of Pinecrest Terrace from Walker Ave. to Starlight Pl. from the shared roads list of the TSP.  Commissioner Young asked for a show of hands in favor of the motion.  Commissioners Brown, Burnham, Gardiner, Hammond, Heesacker, Kaplan, Marsh, Miller, Mindlin, Vièville, and Young, YES.  Commissioners Kampmann and Swales, NO.  Motion passed 11 – 2.
Eagle Mill Rd./Oak St./E. Nevada St./N. Mountain Ave. Alternate Route
Staff Report
Mr. Faught provided information on a potential designated alternate bypass of the downtown area using Eagle Mill Rd./Oak St./E. Nevada St./N. Mountain Ave.  He noted the Nevada St. connection is not in place, but was approved in the TSP and will provide the link to the alternate route.  He shared information received from Jackson County regarding future plans for Eagle Mill Rd, which is maintained by the County. Currently the road is in the unfunded part of the County’s TSP, but could be moved to the funded area if it is identified as a bypass. The improvements would include widening the multi-use path on Eagle Mill Rd.  He added this area is outside of the Urban Growth Boundary.
Commissioners Questions/Comments
  • Comment was made expressing concern regarding the alternative route ending at a pedestrian plaza.
  • Will this proposal include making changes with the roadway width? Answer:  No.
  • Commissioners voiced concern regarding the increased traffic including delivery trucks this route will pose to N. Mountain Ave.  It was noted that traffic impact to neighborhoods should be studied.
  • Comment was made that other roads already provide alternate routes to downtown; designating this route does not make sense.
  • It was noted that delivery trucks already use Eagle Mill Rd.; the point is to put this road on the County radar.
  • Will there be signage indicating a truck route or alternate route directing to Eagle Mill Rd.? Answer: Not necessarily; it will not be a designated truck route.
Councilor David Chapman stressed the importance of Eagle Mill Rd. appearing on the Ashland TSP as it is a clear alternative for Hwy. 99. He added when looking at the overall TSP, Eagle Mill Rd. is used frequently yet it does not appear on the plan; if it does not appear on the plan, the County will not do anything about it.  He noted the Nevada St. Bridge does not currently exist and is an unfunded project but when it is constructed motorists will use Eagle Mill Rd. to get to destinations such as Southern Oregon University rather than driving through downtown.
Commissioners Heesacker/Kampmann m/s to designate Eagle Mill Rd. and Oak St., where Oak St. hits the Urban Growth Boundary, as an alternate route.  Commissioners Brown, Burnham, Hammond, Heesacker, Kampmann, Kaplan, Marsh, Miller, Mindlin, Swales, Vièville, and Young, YES.  Commissioner Gardiner, NO.  Motion passed 12 – 1.
Final TSP Timeline
Mr. Faught clarified the final TSP timeline. He stressed the need for Commissioners to be present at the town hall presentation on October 24, 2012. 
Volunteers Needed to Conduct Bike/Pedestrian Counts for Road Diet
Mr. Faught requested volunteers to conduct bike/pedestrian counts once the road diet is in place. Commissioners Swales, Young and Burnham volunteered. Mr. Faught noted the training will take place on September 6, 2012.
Council TSP Update       
Mr. Faught requested the chairs of each Commission be present at the City Council meeting September 18, 2012. He added Kittelson & Associates will prepare a PowerPoint presentation.
The next meeting date of September 6, 2012 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. was confirmed.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:50 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,
Jodi Vizzini, Public Works Assistant

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