ASHLAND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
MAY 22, 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, Craig Anderson, Corinne Viéville, Alan Bender, Shawn Kampmann, David Chapman and David Young
Commissioners Absent: None
Staff Present: Scott Fleury, Mike Faught and Tami De Mille-Campos
Council Liaison Present: Carol Voisin
Approval of Minutes – March/April 2014
Approved as corrected.
March 2014/page 3: Anderson does not recall saying “the City of Ashland’s SDC’s are quite a bit lower than any other community”. Faught stated that staff would review the audio file and correct the minutes as per the recording. The audio file (50:41-50:43) states “our SDC’s are low relative to other communities”.
March 2014/page 5: Anderson said he didn’t request for Legal to come to a future meeting. Staff reviewed the audio file and the audio file (2:09) states “Anderson would like to have a future discussion regarding the “powers and duties specifically” of the commission (Voisin commented that Legal could come).
Lauren Morris; 724 Iowa St. They moved to Iowa Street in August and since then they have noticed there are a lot of speeding issues. She spoke to Officer MacLennan. He was at the corner of Iowa/Morton last week and within about a 45 minute period and he was able to cite quite a few people. She wonders if a stop sign could be put at Sherman/Iowa to slow people down. MacLennan stated that he was out there and wrote several citations. He’s received 3 complaints just this week regarding the speeding problem in that area. He does think a stop sign may help with this issue so he recommends the Commission take a look at doing a study to look into it further.
Chair Young requested that they move the Traffic Crash Summary to the beginning of the meeting in case Officer MacLennan needs to leave. The Commission noted that all of the traffic crashes went un-cited even though some of them maybe warranted a citation. Officer MacLennan stated that generally speaking he does issue a citation, although it is up to the discretion of the Officer. However, typically if the accident was reported after the fact then a citation may not be issued.
Anderson asked about the accident that occurred on April 10, 2014 resulting in a fatality. MacLennan stated they are still wrapping up the investigation and it should be done next week. Once the investigation is completed he can discuss it.
Voisin received an email regarding large trucks (semi’s) going down North Main onto Siskiyou and then they get back on the freeway. Dan Dorrell (ODOT) mentioned the Mountain Street Bridge on I5 is a low bridge so it may be due to that; in order to get the truck around the bridge.
Bicycle Safety Training Class
Egon thanked the commission for their ongoing support of the program. The program is managed by the Ashland Parks and Recreation Department and prior to that it was managed by a nonprofit out of Portland called the BTA. He has been an instructor in this program since 2004. It is a traffic education program dedicated to elementary & middle schools in town. He constantly receives feedback from parents, teachers, neighbors and he has even witnessed for himself better behavior and the children navigate the street better. This program is vital for child’s awareness and sense of traffic. There are approximately 2,000 students enrolled within Ashland each year of those 1,600 are exposed to this program (2 schools do not participate). Approximately 300 students (280-360 students) complete the program each year with students ranging between 4th and 6th grade. Most of the children go through the program two times, once in 3rd or 4th grade and then again in 5th or 6th grade. He sees a huge change between the first and second time they go through the program. This program has existed in Ashland since 1998. The program is only taught in Ashland, Portland, Bend and Eugene. It used to be instructed in Albany, Corvallis, and Salem but due to lack of funding via the BTA they seize to exist in those cities now. Egon thanked the City for their continued support of the program.
Chapman pointed out that another way to support the program is via volunteering. Egon echoed that volunteers are always welcomed.
The commission had discussion regarding this being a recurring budget item. Some of the commissioners thought they remembered this being motioned as an ongoing budget item. Faught stated that staff has gone through the minutes and the last request was made in July, 2012 but staff will look into it again to be sure. The commission and staff discussed the budget line item and what would be a feasible amount
Vieville/Kampmann m/s to direct the PW Director to increase the Transportation Commission budget for fiscal year 13/14 to $4,000 and increase the total budget to $5,000 for future budgets years.
All ayes. Motion passes.
Chapman/Vieville m/s to approve $3,000 to fund the bicycle safety program for fiscal year 13/14 and revisit it for future years.
All ayes. Motion passes.
Signal Timing Discussion
Dan Dorrell, Traffic Engineer with Oregon Department of Transportation
Dan spoke regarding some of the things that he has been involved in. During the Road Diet there were very few Traffic Engineers or management that supported the road diet due to the traffic volumes being high. They were afraid that it would fail right away. He supported it and pushed for it to be done. He attained another $30,000 to modify the bike signal at exit 14. ODOT is going to be meeting next week to discuss $250,000 that they have available to make some changes to the complete streets plan on the 99 corridor. He is trying to get 99 restriped from the trestle down to Valley View Road. He talked about the complete streets plan they are planning through Talent. They just approved a plan to do a complete streets plan through Cave Junction. Anderson pointed out that some people who feel that the complete streets plan is just for cyclists is missing the other benefits of the plan. Dan agreed that there are huge safety benefits not just for cyclists. Dan stated he is also trying to attain funding for a pedestrian activated flasher between Maple and Laurel. He is working with Kim Parducci on where to put this. He was originally thinking of putting it at Hersey/Wimer but Kim thinks due to interference with certain things and thinks it might be better near the minute market. He said he would probably make that one an audible pedestrian crossing. He has put the Laurel Street signal on top of the list for replacement. When they do that he would like to put APS buttons there for the blind community. Faught asked if once that is done all of the signals could be tied together. Dan stated he could try but that can be very expensive. Chapman asked what triggers the signal at Laurel. Dan stated it is actuated by side street loops. Chapman said that is the one that backs up traffic downtown. Dan said it actually doesn’t even meet the warrant criteria. He went out there during first Friday last year (busy time) and it still didn’t meet warrants. He said they are going to leave it there so people have a way to get off of the side streets. Bender said it was probably originally put in there due to the elementary school. He has also attained funds and has been working with Fleury on fixing the access point to Puck’s donuts and the liquor store. Dan has been working with the property owner. He just wants to make sure that the delivery truck has access to the liquor store. Dan has already modeled it and knows that it will work. To make it work they would change the 2 hour timed spots to 30 minute. Chapman asked if he looked at Third Street while looking at Oak (driveway through the crosswalk on Third). Dan stated that he has looked at it but that one is a little harder to solve. He offered to meet Chapman out there and he can show him why but they will try to do something about that one too.
Dan moved on to talk about a proposed new merge design by the City which would provide one dedicated through lane going northbound and a dedicated lane going to the left at the Helman signal. The Commission had not seen the plan yet. Dan handed it out to the commission. Dan actually likes this idea and he was trying to convince his manager and signal timer to help him make it work but they brought up some key issues which is why they have declined to do it at this time. The roadway is at maximum capacity. Dan pointed out that he met with Kim Parducci on this. Lithia Way through traffic going north is 900 vehicles per hour and the left to come back around the couplet or go up Church Street is 250 vehicles per hour (during the peak hour). The total cycle length right now at Helman is 75 seconds. Helman is the master controller for all of the signals in the couplet. It is on a timed sequence, which is a very simple signal, gauged at 20 mph trying to get cars in platoons through the city. Dan stated that going southbound the platoons are broken up anyways because of all of the pedestrians crossing so he was thinking that it could be detached from the downtown and coordinate it with Laurel and Maple and have the downtown signals run on their own, but that costs money. When a pedestrian wants to cross the street, the crosswalks are on an automatic pedestrian recall. Right now the maximum time you would have to wait at a crosswalk is 41 seconds. If they went with this proposal the total cycle length would go from 75 seconds to 120 seconds which would cause the wait time to increase to a maximum of 85 seconds which is just not common for a downtown area. They are afraid that pedestrians won’t wait for the signal and would dart into traffic causing a safety hazard. He stated there are some benefits of this plan and he is thinking about doing some things that could help. Right now when people are going north on Lithia Way people dart to the left as the right lane ends (as they see the arrow) and then they dart back to the right, so they could stripe that better. He pointed out that there is also a lane imbalance there. They could pull the “right lane ends” sign to see if that helps. Having the 2 lanes going through the signal at the same time allows a higher capacity through that intersection. He pointed out the queuing length right now on a bad day with two thorough lanes can back up 975 feet (Pioneer). If they were to go to this single lane proposal and do not change the timing the commuter model predicts it could back up as much as 2,000 feet. If they do change the timing to the 120 cycle length (which is what Kim said needs to be done for it to work) then the backup is about 975 feet, which is the same as now, but then they are impacting the pedestrians. He said he could talk to William Fitzgerald (signal timer) about maybe running a test for a while during the pm peak period. There was a brief discussion regarding jurisdictions taking over ODOT right of way. The commission pointed out that they would like to have Dan on the agenda more frequently.
Allison St. and Union St. request for a traffic control device
Request for a stop or yield sign at intersection
Fleury has begun the research on this intersection based on a request to investigate the intersection with the possible intent to install a traffic control device at this intersection. He pulled the traffic crash data on this intersection at Allison/Union. There has only been 2 accidents, both have been angle crashes from someone making a left hand turn from Allison onto Union. The traffic count was done in 2004 which shows 500+ average daily trips multi-direction. He pointed out they can look at counting peaks, refreshing the traffic count. It does meet warrants for a yield sign at Allison.
Fleury stated the ORS vehicle code requires 20 feet of striping back from a crosswalk and only one of those corners actually has any no parking striping. He has talked to the Street department about getting these intersections striped back from the handicap ramps in order to help make the pedestrians more visible and also to allow for more sight distance for drivers.
Anderson would be interested to know which intersections do not meet the statute. Fleury stated there are a lot that do not meet the requirements.
Kampmann stated he is very familiar with that neighborhood. Because of the configuration it is pretty much all local traffic. He has been out there during days when there is very low traffic. He doesn’t think they need to do a traffic study now unless they receive more complaints about this intersection and if they did he thinks a yield sign would be sufficient.
Chapman said there are some people that believe that every intersection in the City should be controlled; he is not in that group. He pointed out he thinks as an uncontrolled intersection it is pretty ideal; low volume, low speed, most of the intersection has good visibility. He thinks it is a pretty safe intersection and thinks it should be left alone. However, he does think a yield sign may be helpful to warn drivers.
Chair Young thinks any unmarked intersection is asking for trouble. He thinks a yield sign is a soft sense of warning drivers without forcing a stop.
Graf said most of his experience in that area is on Fairview and he’s almost never had to stop for traffic coming up Union.
Gresham St. and Siskiyou Blvd. Pedestrian Safety Concern
Fleury wanted to bring this up as the City is reviewing the downtown corridor. He received a letter from the friends of the library regarding this. They had issues with pedestrian safety. There have been 11 accidents in that location. Kim Parducci is going to be involved with this one. Most of the accidents included a vehicle hitting another vehicle while stopping for pedestrians in the crosswalk. He is going to pull the crash reports so Kim has that data to review in making her recommendation.
Downtown System Plan Concept Maps Discussion
Faught presented and discussed the concept maps (see attached) with the commission. He pointed out they were previously given to the Downtown Parking Management and Circulation Ad Hoc Advisory Committee. He pointed out the downtown committee is working on these. Anderson stated that during the first downtown meeting he had asked whether they would have any potential to discuss the idea of having a couplet and potentially eliminating the couplet. He said he can understand the concerns with going down that path but he thinks it is a discussion that is worthy of having. Faught said they did look at that as part of the TSP and he had a traffic engineer look at the impact and intersections start failing when that is done. He offered to bring that report back to the committee. The commission shared concerns regarding the angled parking options. Faught recommended the commission give themselves some more time to think about these plans and if they want to make a recommendation to the downtown parking committee at future meeting they could.
Voisin left at 8:10
Viéville left at 8:13
FOLLOW UP ITEMS
N. Main restriping
Faught state he spoke to Jerry Marmon (District Manager) today and they would like to put thermoplastic down and begin restriping within the next 2-3 weeks. They are on the approving the changes at Maple and Glenn/Coolidge; they are not approving the Bush Street change.
Fleury spoke to making the left turn from Main onto North Main where there is no refuge. Staff is getting a topographical survey done out there, in order to properly design this turn movement refuge area.
Oregon Impact May Newsletter
COMMISSION OPEN DISCUSSION
FUTURE AGENDA TOPICS
Transportation Safety Public Outreach
SOU Multi-Modal Future
Commission Duties and Responsibility discussion
Meeting adjourned at 8:29 pm
Tami De Mille-Campos, Administrative Assistant