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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Transportation Commission

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ashland Transportation Commission
February 27, 2014
Chair David Young called the meeting to order at 6:00pm, at the Civic Center Council Chambers located at 11175 E Main St. in Ashland, OR.
COMMISSIONERS PRESENT: Craig Anderson, Alan Bender, David Chapman, Joseph Graf, Shawn Kampmann, and David Young.
ABSENT MEMBERS:        Corinne Vieville
EX OFFICIO PRESENT:   Officer Steve MacLennan
STAFF PRESENT:           Mike Faught, Scott Fleury, Mary McClary
None stated.
Approval of Minutes for January 23, 2014.
No one present.
Item B. Project Financing moved to Non Action Item by Chairperson Young.
Item A. Lithia and 3rd Intersection Analysis
Staff member Scott Fleury outlined his memo to the Commission regarding the sight distance issues at the Intersection of Lithia and 3rd Street.  He contacted ODOT and engineer Kimberly Parducci, to review the intersection.  They conducted an analysis and determined the sight distance was restricted at 3rd St. due to on-street parking on Lithia Way.  There was not adequate distance for someone making a left hand turn onto Third Street.  She outlined several recommendations included in her memorandum to Scott dated 02/18/14, which was included in the Commission packet.  Scott reviewed with the Commission pictures, locations, and details of the different angles and areas of concern including the different business entrances involved.  He asked the Commission if they wanted to move forward with a deeper analysis concerning the area as a safety concern.
Chairperson Young reminded the Commission that the Downtown Committee would also be looking at this area and might be discussing different options as well.  He outlined two separate issues:  the crash data analysis and looking at incremental changes to the parking. Commissioner Graf clarified staff recommended to conduct a crash study and go forward with the removal of one parking space and restricting height on a second parking space.
Commissioner Chapman brought up the speed limit traveling south out of town changes from 20 to 25 mph past the library around the fire station, and changes to 25mph coming from the other direction on the side of 3rd Street.  He suggested making the speed limit for both 20mph slowing traffic down to help with the intersection. Mike remarked ODOT would need to be contacted to approve a speed changes on all roads.
The Commission discussed different options regarding crash data, restricted parking, enforcement, and elimination of parking, restriction of the height of parking spaces, sight distance, trees, removal, and design changes.  Scott remarked Kim would need to review the accident data and do a sight specific analysis before making more recommendations for improvement to the intersection in general.
Commissioner Chapman made a motion to disregarding throwing away the parking spaces, look at moving the speed signs and study the traffic flow of that area of the intersection. 
The motion was modified to look into moving the speed signs and study the traffic flow of that area of the intersection.  The motion died for lack of a second.
Commissioner Kampmann made a motion to table the issue due to a lack of priorities and Chairperson Young clarified a motion was not needed to table an issue.
s recommendation with the exception of substituting height restrictions for parking removal so the spaces that would be height restricted would actually be removed.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bender.
Commissioner Anderson pointed out that safety was an issue, it had been identified and they had a recommendation from their consulting engineer. He felt a height restricted parking space was unusual and the city currently did not have a way to enforce the restriction. 
Commissioner Graf wondered if that meant 3 parking spaces would be removed and pointed out the verbiage was to remove one space and reduce the height of two spaces.  Staff re-read the recommendation:
“After reviewing the sight distance restrictions from 3rd Street, the recommendation for the south approach is to remove one parking space (the nearest stall) along the west side of Lithia Way immediately southwest of 3rd Street and restrict the vehicle height (below 5’) on the second parking space with signage and enforcement.  For the north approach, the recommendation is to restrict the vehicle height of the first parking space on the east side of Lithia Way also with signage and enforcement.”
Chairperson stated he had reservations of recommending removing spaces in the downtown area without the Downtown Committee’s review and also and without notifying businesses.  Mike Faught clarified notification would be given to anyone impacted and they would be invited to attend the meeting where the Commission would be making that decision.
Commissioner Chapman brought up addressing downtown circulation and  the addition of parking spaces, not the removal of parking spaces.

The members clarified the motion would be directed at the Public Works Director, Mike Faught as a recommendation. Commissioner Anderson asked for clarification on this action item that would require notification to the impacted parties. Mike explained if the Commission wanted to move forward with this item, then he would give proper notice so the public would be able to come and participate if they wanted.  Commissioner Anderson then asked if this wasn’t really a discussion item.  Chairperson explained it was a motion, not just a discussion. 
Commissioner Anderson withdrew his motion and Commissioner Bender withdrew his second.
Mike restated that they would inform the downtown committee and ask Kim to re-evaluate the intersection. 
Commissioner Kampmann made a motion that the City reduce the speed limit within the one block of discussion from 25mph to 20mph. Commissioner Kampmann withdrew his motion.
Commissioner Chapman moved that we ask Scott Fleury to ask ODOT for permission to move the 20mph speed limit sign one block.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Graf.
Voice Vote: All Ayes.  The motion passed with a unanimous vote.
Item A. Nevada St. Bridge Extension
Scott updated the Commission regarding the submitted application and met with the Technical Advisory Committee who does the initial analysis and ranking of the projects. In addition, this week they met with the policy committee who makes the decision as to what projects get funded. There are a few more meetings and presentations before a decision would be made as to who would be funded for the next three years. 
Mike asked for some discussion about Commissioner Anderson’s letter, that the Commission members also received through email, to the Metropolitan Planning Organization Committee (MPO) and his opposition to the project.  He wanted to discuss the Commission’s roles and responsibilities for future conversations involving projects.  He felt the letter made the Department’s presentation more difficult; reiterating the competition for the money was extremely tight.  In addition, he supported everyone’s right to represent their personal opinions in any situation.
Chairperson Young re-stated the Commission was not debating the merits of the grant application just discussing the process.
Commissioner Anderson stated this was a discussion item and he was prepared to discuss the merits of the project and the letter he sent.  He had asked Mike (Public Works Department) for information and he felt he had not received all the answers.  He felt it was presumed on Nevada Street, east of where the bridge terminated, would become an Avenue standard. He was told there was no funding to bring the street to that standard, but it would become a standard when the north side was developed.
Chairperson Young asked Commission Anderson to focus on the process rather than the points of the project. 
Commissioner Anderson stated he was clear he was not representing the Commission.  He asked if the project was eligible for STP funds. He wondered why the project went to a high priority status and an increase of three million dollars in additional funding.
The members held a discussion about Commissioner Anderson’s letter and its representation.  They felt it was important to have the ability to speak to issues as an individual and to make it very clear who you represent.
Commissioner Anderson felt the discussion item was the Nevada St. Bridge Extension Project, not the process of communication.  He asked for the process of communication to be put on a future agenda.
Chairperson asked to move the process of communication to under Commission Open Discussion.
Commissioner Chapman moved that the Commission place this item (protocol) at the end of the agenda. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bender.
Voice Vote: All Ayes.  The motion passed with a unanimous vote.
Commissioner Anderson believed the project may not be approved by the policy committee and/or denied by the Federal Highway Association because Nevada Street was not a federally aided highway.  He felt the city could have funded other projects with the funds and stated the Commission was not consulted on any of those decisions. 
Mike explained they received an email about a  Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) review on the project and he recalled it was eligible. They submitted their grant for the CMAQ grant.  This two year process was designed as a by-pass for locals to travel from North Main from the south end of town up through Eagle Mill.  Funding he said was diversified through System Development Charges (SDC), Local Improvement District (LID), and Surface Transportation Program (STP). The process for larger projects includes these options to be able to fund the projects.  The money is pooled for SDC and then utilized as needed, not specific to the area it derived from. They were asking for an approx. two million dollar grant, and the city would fund the rest with SDC money, gas tax monies, and street user fees (debt service). We had to do an analysis for the area showing that it would be CMAQ eligible for 2 million dollars of the grant, the greenway portion, sidewalks, and bike lanes were all eligible. This project was listed in the master plan and we felt the project would cost around four million.  Although, working with Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) we submitted estimates based on our work together. Working with the Planning Commission and the Transportation Commission on the Transportation System Plan (TSP) project for two years, this project rose to a high priority project. He explained how roads were developed driven, and the larger projects are done in segments.
Commissioner Anderson talked about the development potential of the Nevada Street land and the cost to develop it to Avenue standards.  He believed there was not a by-pass option on the TSP and the unlikelihood of development of the road, when the costs for developing the road would not be recovered.
The discussion continued further about the options for the project and future projects that might fall under the same set of circumstances including estimation of project costs and how the city works with developers.  Commissioner Anderson felt the Transportation Commission should be involved in recommendations for prioritizing projects. At the next meeting they asked staff to bring about an action item for the issue of funding, prioritizing projects and application for funding before the Commission for discussion and recommendations.   
Commissioner Chapman stated clearly there are no agreements between City Councilors and developers for reduced costs to the developers.  Commissioner Kampmann stated he was surprised at the rising priority of the project and would support discussion regarding upcoming projects and believed the city is fair or stricter with development costs and conditions. 
Chairperson Young asked for the topic of prioritizing TSP projects as an agenda item for the next meeting.
Item B. Chip Seal CMAQ Grant Application
Scott explained it was following along the same process as the other projects and was under review.  All surrounding areas (cities and counties) were interested in the outcome due to their own limited funding sources. This project includes 20 road sections, 5 total miles.
Commissioner Kampmann spoke of several key points regarding chip sealing: decomposed granite, air quality, little traffic flow, consulting with the citizens that were affected, opposition, increased speeds, and pedestrian friendly.  He wondered why all unpaved roads were scheduled for chip sealing.  Commissioner Bender remarked the air quality argument has become the majority vote now for sealing.  Mike explained air quality has been a main issue with all areas.  After the initial chip seal, there was not much maintenance if there was a good structure. (Approx.20 year life)  Commissioner Anderson spoke to the aesthetics and noise elements of chip seal changing the character of the street.  Mike talked about explaining the Open City Hall process at the next meeting.
Item C. Downtown Parking Circulation Multimodal Study
The meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month from 3:30-5:30.  During the next meeting they will look at some TSP results, discuss a guiding framework to create a foundation, review the first year survey, review time line and look at trending and guiding principles.  There was discussion about how the survey was conducted.  Counselor Voisin remarked she asked that the survey be sent to several organizations, different samples and Commissions/Committees and it was not.  Chairperson Young remarked there would be a second survey.  Honore Depew asked the representatives from this Commission on the Downtown Committee to impress upon the Committee to make it as safe as possible for vulnerable users of roadways. 
Item D. Project Financing
Scott asked to set this item aside to the next meeting.
Item A.  Walker/Tolman Bike Path Jurisdiction
Scott reported our Public Works Department will identify areas in need of repair and start some spot repairs.  They will look at what we can do to minimize the impact and still maintain the area.
Set aside.
Chairperson Young stated formal communication from members to other people and/or organizations and any other form of communication, should clearly state when they are expressing opinions from themselves. He was asked by Staff whether he thought the City Recorder and City Attorney should refresh the Commission with the rules and regulations.
The Commissioners discussed this point of clarity.  Mike Faught requested in the future, the Commission inform staff when they are in disagreement with any project as soon as possible, so they can respond to their concerns. 
Commissioner Kampmann asked for advance notice about projects coming up so he can research.  Mike suggested they will bring at the next meeting, they will create an agenda item to address projects.
The Commissioners discussed Infrastructure and Urban Growth Boundaries. 
Commissioner Chapman reported according to the Oregon Impact’s national highway survey, 91% believed everyone should obey the speed limit and half of the drivers believed something should be done to reduce speeding in the US, but 1 out of 5 drivers admit they try to reach their destination as fast as they can. He also mention leaf blowers created a cloud of smoke going across Lithia way that inhibited people’s ability to see. Mike Faught would follow up on that. 
The Commission decided to meet on March 20, 2014, the 3rd week in the month.
Commissioner Graf would like to see a follow-up to the Road Diet on the next agenda.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:22pm.
Respectfully submitted by:
Mary McClary
Administrative Assistant for Electric, IT and
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