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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Transportation Commission

Agenda
Thursday, May 23, 2013

ASHLAND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
MINUTES
MAY 23, 2013

CALL TO ORDER:  Chair David Young called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.

Commissioners Present:  Craig Anderson, Shawn Kampmann, Corinne Viéville and David Young 
Absent Members:  Pam Hammond
Ex Officio Present:  Steve MacLennan
Staff Present:  Mike Faught, Scott Fleury and Jodi Vizzini

ANNOUNCEMENTS
No announcements were presented.

CONSENT AGENDA
A.  Approval of Minutes
     1.  April 25, 2013

The minutes of April 25, 2013 were approved as presented. 

PUBLIC FORUM
No one came forward to speak.

ACTION ITEMS
A.  Plaza Parking
Staff Report

Commissioners were given additional handouts at the meeting which included an aerial photo of the Plaza (prior to redesign); a second Plaza striping plan drawing; and a memo from former Transportation Commissioner, Mike Gardiner.

Scott Fleury gave a brief overview of the Plaza parking, both prior and post Plaza redesign.  He reminded the Commission the previous Plaza configuration included a yellow painted curb that was used as a temporary loading zone for truck deliveries.  He noted vehicles are currently parking along the curb adjacent to the Plaza as it is no longer painted yellow.

Mr. Fleury pointed out the Plaza redesign committee was in favor of painting the loading zone on the pavement as illustrated in the Ashland Plaza Striping Plan #1 (provided in the Transportation Commission packet). He stated several business owners were in favor of adding extra parking spaces along the Plaza as illustrated in the Ashland Plaza Striping Plan #2 (handout provided at the meeting). He encouraged Commissioners to discuss options keeping in mind the future Downtown Multi-Modal Parking and Circulation Study.

Commission Discussion
A question was asked regarding the lawfulness of the prior yellow painted curb configuration along the Plaza island indicating a no parking zone, yet being used as a temporary loading zone.  Officer MacLennan replied that Diamond Parking and Ashland Police allow the temporary truck parking. It was noted the way the Plaza parking functioned in the past (i.e. truck deliveries in the morning, temporary parking throughout the day for rafters, mountain bike clients, Plaza events, Ashland Police enforcement in the evenings) seemed to work well.

Staff informed the Commission that streets surrounding the Plaza will be chip sealed and restriped in the fall, creating two additional parking spaces.

Commissioners discussed posting signage which led to a discussion on the amount of signs throughout the city adding to the existing sign clutter.

Comments

·         A comment was made that the Plaza is also a public space used as a community gathering for music, artistic events, etc. causing this area to be a critical loading zone (not just used for business deliveries).

·         It was implied that both visitors and residents recognize yellow painted curbs as a no parking zone and Commissioners felt it would make sense to keep it standardized.

·         It was noted that allowing parking along the curb detracts from the Plaza improvements by closing off the open space.

·         It was expressed that the decision seemed to be a trade-off between convenient parking and safety.

Concerns
Areas of concern surrounding the current configuration (without yellow painted curb) and use of the Plaza included:

  • traffic backing up while drivers parallel park,
  • vehicles double parked while waiting for another vehicle to leave,
  • poor visibility of pedestrians crossing due to cars parked too closely to the crosswalks,
  • potential for drivers/passengers leaving their vehicles and crossing in an unpredictable manner (e.g. passenger side exit into traffic; not using the crosswalks), and
  • lack of emergency access for Police and Fire if vehicles are allowed to park along the curb.

Suggestions
A suggestion was made to enforce a no parking zone on N. Main St. prior to turning into the Plaza. Staff noted that 52 foot trucks rarely park in the Plaza because of the turn radius making this zone preferable for longer trucks.

Officer MacLennan concluded from a safety standpoint that he would recommend making this area a no parking zone.  He felt the next best thing would be to post signs. He added that temporary loading zone curb colors (white or green) do not prevent cars from parking in those areas.

Commissioners Viéville /Anderson m/s to recommend painting the curb yellow around the entire Plaza, with no signage, and with the understanding that enforcement occur as it has historically.  Voice vote:  all AYES. Motion passed.

Mr. Fleury summarized the Commission concerns were safety related, specifically police and fire emergency access; the potential for double parking; passengers opening doors into traffic; vehicle backing conflicts; pedestrians walking in between cars; and drivers attempting to parallel park creating a narrow passing lane. In addition to safety, the Commission recommendations were also based on circulation concerns.

A discussion took place on the alignment of curb cuts and crosswalks since the Plaza redesign.  It was decided that Commissioner Viéville would meet with staff the following week and physically walk the Plaza crosswalks and analyze the current layout.

NON ACTION ITEMS
A.  Bike Friendly Community Status
Staff Report

Mike Faught shared that Ashland’s Bicycle Friendly Community status has been upgraded from a Bronze to Gold level by the League of American Bicyclists after review of the recently submitted application. He summarized the application highlights which included multi-modal transportation, bike events, safety classes, certified instructors and bicycle friendly businesses.  He added Ashland is one of only eight (8) cities in the nation to receive the Gold level award.

B.  Audible Pedestrian Signals Update
Staff Report

Mr. Fleury gave a brief overview on the status of the audible signal installation.  He reported an Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) representative picked up the audible signals for installation along with the Polara Engineering, Inc. vendor who was in town to assist programming the audible devices.  He added an additional order of signal buttons will be placed with the remaining grant money. Commission and staff discussed the status of the existing signals and whether they have the capability of providing the audible homing tick feature. Staff reported they have been in contact with each of the vendors and Southern Oregon University (SOU) and felt positive that all signals could be programmed to include this feature.

C.  Bike and Pedestrian Path Intersections Signage
Staff Report

Mr. Fleury directed attention to the evaluations and recommendations of several bike/pedestrian intersections of concern throughout the city by Southern Oregon Transportation Engineering, LLC. The recommendations included adding stop signs, stop bars and removing fencing and/or vegetation to improve sight distance.  Mr. Faught explained the evaluation was prompted by a citizen who was involved in a near collision with a bicycle at one of the intersections being reviewed.  Mr. Fleury also provided information on the hazards of bike bollards.

Commission Discussion
Commissioner Young provided a historical background of an agenda item that was brought to the former Bicycle & Pedestrian Commission following a cyclist collision with a bike bollard on the central bike path. Various scenarios on the inherent danger of bollards were shared including riding at night without a light; riding in a group (visibility blocked by front rider); novice rider conflict with oncoming bike(s) and/or pedestrians; and bike trailers hitting the bollard base. Commissioner Young acknowledged the purpose of bollards is to obstruct vehicles from entering the bike path but felt other options could be explored.

Mr. Fleury shared his concern with vehicles entering the bike path as the area is not large enough to turn around once it has entered.  He offered several options to standard bollards for Commissioners to consider which included striping patterns on the path, offset fencing and lighting the area. Commissioners shared thoughts on different options. Commissioner Young asked staff to consider making this topic an action item on a future agenda after doing further research on dimensions and insurance liability.

D.  Miscellaneous Concrete Project
Mr. Fleury announced that Vitus Construction, Inc. was the low bidder for the 2013 Miscellaneous Concrete Project. He outlined the next steps involved with the contract which will result in work beginning in June. He acknowledged several city streets that will receive installation of handicap ramps and sidewalk improvements along with numerous projects resulting from the approved Transportation System Plan (TSP).

COMMISSION OPEN DISCUSSION
A question was asked about the status of sidewalk improvements on Hersey St. Staff replied the process has begun and is contingent on Council approval. Staff added the same process is in place for Walker Avenue which is designed to begin spring 2014.

A request was made for City staff to talk to the owners of a local hostel about large groups of guests walking in the bike lane creating conflict with cyclists. Officer MacLennan agreed to talk to the owners.

Commissioners commented on several areas of concern involving cyclist/runner/pedestrian conflicts as well as vehicles driving on sidewalks. Officer MacLennan addressed their concerns.

Mr. Faught updated the Commission on the progress of filling current vacancies.

Mr. Fleury reported that Oregon Shakespeare moved the bike rack further up the sidewalk. He added staff will monitor the area to see how cars interact with the relocated bike rack.

Mr. Faught handed out Fork/Hargadine/Pioneer reconfiguration diagrams.  He clarified that staff was moving forward with the recommended reconfiguration as illustrated in Figure 4 which includes adding bulb-outs and moving the stop bars. He added a crosswalk was not recommended at this intersection.  

A comment was made on the urgency of committing to the Downtown Study aspect of the TSP. Mr. Faught provided an update on funding strategies for the study.

A discussion took place on the importance of working with SOU in an effort to promote cycling and other forms of non-motorized transportation.

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS
A.  Traffic Safety Connection May Newsletter

Did not review.  Informational item only.

B.  Action Summary
Did not review.  Informational item only.

C.  Traffic Crash Summary
Officer MacLennan gave an update on traffic related issues on N. Main Street.

D.  Multi-Modal CIP Projects
Mr. Fleury called attention to the TSP projects added to the Capital Improvements Plan spreadsheet included in the informational packet.

ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

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