ASHLAND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
MARCH 20, 2014
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: Joe Graf, Shawn Kampmann, Craig Anderson, David Chapman, Corinne Viéville, and David Young.
Commissioners Absent: Alan Bender
Staff Present: Scott Fleury, and Mary McClary
Council Liaison Absent: Carol Voisin
Approval of Minutes – None (February/March minutes to be approved at the April meeting)
Fleury explained the new agenda format to the commission. He stated that he does the new business/old business format with the Airport Commission and it works out well. He asked the commission to share their feedback and if they wanted to go back to action/non-action items that would be ok. Overall the commission likes the new format. He stated the change was being made to lessen any confusion such as citizens attending a meeting to speak on an action item when it was the initial discussion of the topic.
Anderson voiced concern with the fact that Mike Faught makes the final decision regarding recommendations that are made by the commission. He isn’t aware of other committees or commissions acting in that same fashion, according to Ashland’s Municipal Code. Fleury stated that he believes the power was granted by way of resolution, not the Municipal code.
Kampmann likes the idea of being able to hear about an item and if it is something that moves along then it would be feasible for citizens to be present. He stated that there are times that he feels like they are presented with items to discuss & the public is present but the commission hasn’t had a chance to fully research the item.
Graf isn’t sure of how the citizens would understand that “old business” would be items that they could be taking action on. Fleury stated that if the item involved affected properties they would be informed of the meeting in which action was being taken. Graff stated that would be fine for the affected properties but there could be other people that may want to speak on a topic even if they aren’t an affected property. He thinks it is important to have it more clearly labeled on the agenda, such as “consideration of” or some language like that.
Viéville would like to have the issue at a meeting and then if it is a big topic, have it deferred to the next meeting to allow for time to research.
Kampmann agrees with Viéville. He also thinks that there could be items that the general public would want to speak on but need more notice on.
Fleury recommended possibly posting the normal agenda and rather than attaching the entire meeting packet, there could be a summary for each agenda item or he could add a brief description for each item on the agenda.
Chairperson Young thinks that maybe the commission should ponder this for a while to decide how the agenda is working out. Fleury stated he will add a summary to the items starting on the next agenda and the Commission can see how they like it.
Anderson asked that Kim Parducci, Southern Oregon Transportation Engineering, be present at future meetings when there is a traffic engineer’s recommendation.
Kampmann added that the Parks Commission, the Conservation and a few other commissions/committees besides the Council have their meetings printed in the newspaper. Staff stated that it was not required anymore and is no longer free.
Young thinks it is a good idea to send it to the Mail Tribune/Ashland Daily Tidings and maybe they can include it in their “things to do today” section.
Chapman feels that Fleury will have a good idea of the complexity of the issues that come up and can plan accordingly.
Young summarized that the commission would like the meetings noticed in the paper on the Tuesday prior to the meetings.
Transportation System Capital Improvement Prioritization (CIP)
Fleury pointed out that per the discussion at the February meeting staff provided the commission with the current Transportation System Plan (TSP) project list along with the currently adopted CIP list. Currently the CIP projects are ranked as High, Medium and Low. They are broken up into pedestrian, bike and roadway sections Roadway also includes recommended studies to be performed. The idea is for the commission to develop a strategy on how they would like to prioritize these projects.
He also stated that Mike Faught wanted him to inform the commission that a letter of intent for a Transportation Growth Management (TGM) grant for the Siskiyou Blvd. safety study (from Southern Oregon University to the high school) has been sent in. The full application will be due in June. He wanted to be sure that the commission is ok with staff pursuing the grant. The commission would like Mike to know that they would all agree that the area should include Walker around the bend to Siskiyou and Ashland Street up and down to the Siskiyou corridor.
Fleury stated the CIP list was included in the meeting packet and he also showed it on the projector. He went through the spreadsheet and each of the projects on the list and the commission provided input.
Chapman pointed out that he would still like staff to consider the possibility of extending the bike path to Oak Street as part of the Oak Street Railroad crossing project.
Fleury pointed out that all of the bike projects currently on the list are in the unfunded category.
Fleury asked how the commission would like to prioritize the projects on the list. His thought is to have the commission look at one section each meeting and have discussion on prioritizing, funding etc. He would advise looking primarily at the projects that are not developer driven. The commission feels it would be important to know which projects staff can feasibly get grant funding for and which ones cannot. Fleury was thinking that would be part of the discussion for each of these projects.
Anderson stated that he thought the Washington Street Extension project was developer driven. Fleury remarked that it is both. The iamp (interchange access management plan) is going to limit left turn access out of that location. Mike Faught is working to try to create the connection through there. The development will build the project, but we are trying to refine it so that it meets our codes. We are trying to do some ground work now so that we understand the process. Anderson also asked about the System Development Charge column (SDC). Fleury stated some of the projects don’t have anything in the SDC column. He pointed out there is currently a SDC committee working on the SDC’s and once we have that information, the spreadsheet would be updated to reflect that. Anderson asked if there is anyone on the SDC committee that would represent Transportation interests. There is a representative appointed that represents the homebuilders association which would likely advocate for lower SDC’s so he wonders if there is anyone on the opposite side to counteract that? Fleury explained that the SDC committee was established in February (read the list of appointees to the commission) and they have met a few times already. Anderson stated that the SDC’s are a big issue for him. He is concerned that the SDC committee may not have someone appointed to represent the Transportation interests. He also voiced the Transportation Commission wasn’t involved in the process of applying for the recent Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) and Surface Transportation Program (STP) grants that were recently applied for. Chair person Young stated the intent of this agenda item is to address this & move forward and the points made by Anderson have been well taken and understood.
Chapman requested staff bring the information to the commission each time a grant is being pursued so that the commission can contribute to the decision making process. Fleury responded that he is asking the commission for what information the commission would like staff to bring forward to them to help them make recommendations regarding prioritizing the CIP.
Anderson questions his role as part of the Transportation Commission. He said the Transportation Commission is the only commission within the City that he could find that makes recommendations directly to the Public Works Director and not the City Council. Voisin stated according to the Commission webpage “The Transportation Commission advises the City Council on transportation related issues specifically as they relate to safety, planning, funding and advocacy for bicycles, transit, parking, pedestrian and all other modes of transportation.” Anderson replied that if you look at the powers that the commission has under municipal code 2.13.030/040 it lists what they are empowered to do and they are not empowered to make recommendations to council. Voisin stated that if one says advises and the other one doesn’t then maybe it is something that needs to be clarified and/or reviewed. Young feels that by definition the commission advises council. Municipal code 2.13.040 states “The Transportation Commission will review and forward all traffic implementation regulations to the Public Works Director for final approval and implementation of official traffic safety and functional activities.” Fleury pointed out that traffic implementation regulations are different than making recommendations towards capital improvement projects. Traffic regulations are signed by the Public Works Director and forwarded directly to the Streets department, anything else is brought to the Transportation Commission for discussion. Fleury has only been involved in this commission for about a year and a half, he isn’t sure how Jim or anyone else handled the CIP previously but since we are going into the next budget cycle along with a newly adopted Transportation System Plan that outlines the projects Fleury is trying to follow this and build a paradigm to go forward. Kampmann commented he has always been under the impression that the commission is an advisory committee to the City and Public Works. He sees it as the commission making recommendations and ultimately it is up to the City to make the decisions.
Anderson questioned Fleury as to whether or not in hindsight he would have handled the recommendation he made to Council on December 3rd for the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality and Surface Transportation Program (STP) projects, would he have brought it before the Transportation Commission first after having had this discussion. Fleury remarked staff had previously received Councils approval under a different funding mechanism and also to apply for the STP funds which Jim Olson had worked on several years ago, so it has been brought to Council numerous times over the years. He emphasized that as this process unfolds the projects will be brought before the commission. Graf mentioned that he hopes Anderson will stay on the Commission. He also stated it looks like the commission will be making recommendation on the transportation section of CIP and if that hasn’t been done previously before taking it to Council then it shouldn’t have been handled that way. He mentioned that the East Nevada Street bridge project which was previously taken to Council at a substantial lesser amount probably should have been brought before the commission to make the recommendation in favor or against it. Fleury added, by following this process it will solve the issue. Overall, the commission agrees that going forward taking a look at these projects will help solve these issues.
Graf added that he agrees with Anderson’s concern regarding Transportation representation on the System Development Charge (SDC) committee. He doesn’t think there is anyone on the committee specifically interested in transportation issues. He feels there is more representation for the home builders. Chapman expressed there are a few people on that committee that understand the budget process and how everything interrelates and would also be interested in the transportation piece. Kampmann questioned whether it should be a concern of the Transportation Commission. He stated the committee was appointed by the Mayor. A few of the Commissioners think it is a good idea if the commission feels there needs to be more representation that a motion be made and forwarded to the Mayor.
Viéville/Chapman m/s to recommend the Mayor appoints a member of the Transportation Commission to the SDC committee. All in favor. Motion passed.
Anderson/Young m/s to recommend Joseph Graf as the Transportation Commission representative. All in favor. Motion passed.
Fleury stated the commission will prioritize one of each of the network categories (roadway, bicycle, pedestrian) and have everything wrapped up by the end of this calendar year. There will be a set total amount for all 3 networks and the commission will prioritize utilizing the total available funding amount.
Lithia Way and 3rd St.
Fleury emailed and met with Dan Dorrell & Mike Birch (ODOT) at Lithia and 3rd and they talked about relocating the signs. They told him to submit a speed zone study request and then they would look into it. He submitted the speed zone study. The speed zone study for the initial speed zone extends past the Fire Station; that sign disappeared. He speculated that it was probably taken down during the construction of the fire station and the sign was never put back up. The sign can be placed within 100 feet of its original designation. In order to do so staff would just need to write a Memo to the State Traffic Engineer for approval. Fleury recommends the sign be placed within the park row on each side.
Orange Ave Bicycle Boulevard
The Streets department has been out there burning in the sharrows. Signs have also recently been put up.
N. Main Restriping
Kim Parducci conducted an analysis of the lane shift back to Oak Street from Helman (doing a lane merge over the bridge) and she determined that it will work fine if ODOT changes the signal timing at the Helman light to allow more through traffic on Main Street and less cross traffic from Helman. There will be a dedicated left hand turn around the totem. The design, analysis and tech memo are done and we are now waiting on ODOT’s review and then it would be presented to council for approval.
Nevada St. Bridge/Chip Seal Applications
The TAC had their prioritization ranking meeting where the top 5 projects were funded, including the Nevada Street Bridge. The chip seal wasn’t recommended by the TAC. The PAC held a meeting afterwards and followed the TAC recommendations. The next step is the policy review committee’s review and recommendation which should happen in April.
The bollards have been removed at the crossings of East Main, Tolman Creek & Mountain. Per Kim’s recommendation there are full stop bars and signs at those crossings for bicycles.
Downtown Parking Study
Young informed the group that the March meeting included discussion on developing guiding principles & the upcoming April meeting will include distributing the downtown concept street maps.
Oregon Impact February Newsletter
Traffic Crash Summary
COMMISSION OPEN DISCUSSION
FUTURE AGENDA TOPICS
Transportation Safety Public Outreach
SOU Multi-Modal Future
Siskiyou Blvd. Signal Timing
Viéville would like to have a future discussion on the audible pedestrian signals
Anderson would like to have a future discussion regarding the “powers and duties specifically” of the commission (have Legal come to a future meeting).
Meeting adjourned at 8:03 pm
Tami De Mille-Campos, Administrative Assistant
(Minutes completed via audio tape due to being absent at meeting)