ASHLAND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
JUNE 24, 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 Viťville, Alan Bender, Shawn Kampmann (arrived at 6:10), David Chapman and David Young
Commissioners Absent: None
Staff Present: Scott Fleury, Mike Faught and Tami De Mille-Campos
Council Liaison Present: Carol Voisin
Chair Young apologized to the Commission for an email he had previously sent to them regarding the June agenda.
Approval of Minutes Ė June 2014
Approved as presented.
Commission operating policies and procedures discussion
Dave Lohman, City Attorney, informed the commission he would be discussing the new draft revisions to the uniform policies and operating procedures for advisory commissions and boards. He also will clear up any questions regarding who the Transportation Commission advises and give a few ethics and public meeting law reminders.
On the question of who does the commission advise, Lohman stated Council has ultimate authority to make decisions about transportation matters, except for State and Federal requirements. He read AMC 2.10.90 which states ĒWith the exception of certain delegated quasi-judicial actions, most advisory commissions and boards do not make final decisions subject to appeal but rather make recommendations to, or act in an advisory capacity to the council. The City Council is the final decision-maker on all city policies and the use of city resources. Proposals by boards and commissions for endorsement or sponsorship of events, activities or programs must receive approval by City Council as provided by ResolutionĒ. He then went on to read AMC 2.13.040 which states ďThe 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 activitiesĒ. He discussed AMC 2.13.010 which are final, appealable decisions on other transportation related issues that must be made by Council. On those the commission is to advise the Council. There could be instances where the commission and Staff are not in agreement and both would advise Council and Council would make a final decision.
Chair Young would like to see a future agenda item for changes made to the Ashland Municipal Code to make the commissionís duties and role clearer. Lohman agrees that there is certainly room for interpretation and cleaning that up would be a sensible thing to do.
Chapman asked Lohman if the new draft includes a definition regarding their relationship with the Planning Commission. Lohman answered ďnoĒ. Chapman stated he remembers back when the commission was first formed there were certain things that the Planning Commission didnít do or didnít want to do and the intent was the Transportation Commission would review traffic related items for big projects (such as the Normal Avenue plan). The only thing included in the code now is the Transportation Commission will have input at the pre-app stage on type 3 planning applications; which he stated isnít very useful because you havenít seen the design yet. He pointed out the reason they have come into some issues is because they arenít included until it is too late to make any changes or suggestions. Lohman said that is a good point and the relationship between Planning and Transportation is almost inseparable.
Anderson remarked it was him who brought this issue up. There was an agenda item for a parking issue which included a recommendation from an Engineer to remove two parking spaces. The commission was considering the recommendation and he thought the commissionís recommendation would then be forwarded to the Council but they were told (before voting on it) the recommendation was actually going to the Public Works Director, not Council. He stated it was a very confusing situation they were in, which led him to begin to research the code. He isnít sure what their role in policy making is if they are only to advise staff and staff makes recommendations directly to Council. He looked at the code and went through all of the other commissions and committees for the City and there are no other commissions and committees that don't have specific recommendation powers to the City Council. He said the Transportation Commission was the only one that had Powers and Duties broken down into the two categories of generally and specifically. In the initial statement the purpose of the mission is to advise Council but itís not carried forward into specific powers and duties. He feels if his time is going to be spent in a worthwhile manne rhe wants to make recommendations to Council, not just to staff,similar to all of the other commissions and committees.
Lohman stated heís not familiar enough with the details to be real helpful on this but it seems to him there are certain things that Council canít change and therefore the Transportation Commission making recommendations to them to change is superfluous and some of those things are things that an Engineer in the Public Works department has the responsibility for.
Chapman pointed out part of the specifics had to do with the fact that there are quite a number of things that the Council doesnít deal with things like removing a parking place.
Lohman briefly highlighted the changes in the draft Ordinance, amending Chapter 2 which is being presented to Council soon. During this conversation there was concern regarding the following change ďThe chair or staff liaison will be responsible for timely preparation and posting in advance the agendas of all meetings of advisory commissions and boards on the City's website. A member or staff liaison will be responsible for taking minutes and getting them be posted on the Cityís website, generally within a few days after the meetings.Ē The concern raised was in regards to whether posting minutes within a few days after the meeting is achievable. Lohman and Voisin (Council Liaison) will share this concern with Council when the ordinance is presented to them.
Lohman then gave a few public meeting reminders & ethicís issue reminders:
*A quorum is Ĺ of the total of authorized members (for the Transportation Commission it would be half of 7)
*If there isnít a quorum, it is not a public meeting.
* Commissionerís may broadcast things via email but there is not to be any crosstalk.
*Gifts are not just presents. A gift is ok if it is something that is available to any citizens. If there is no legislative or administrative interest in the decisions of the Commission then it is not a gift as defined under state law.
*If you are acting on behalf of the City in an official capacity at a ceremonial event you can accept the gift; such as a hotel room at a conference or a meal at a presentation etc.
*Conflicts come up in the decisions. The question is; is there any financial benefit or detriment to you, relatives or associated businesses. If there is, you have to ask yourself if there is a definite benefit or a potential benefit. If there is a definite benefit, you have to announce what that conflict is and not participate in the decision at all (maybe even leave the room entirely). If there is just a potential benefit, you have to announce what that conflict is and you can participate. If you think there is any possible conflict, you ought to announce it and explain why you think there might be a conflict.
Anderson presumed there is a difference between the purpose and mission of a committee/commission and what it is specifically empowered to do under 2.13.040 and 2.13.010. He stated their role is to advise the Council on funding but he doesnít see that they are empowered to do that. He doesnít see that they are empowered to advise the Council on anything. He remarked this is the main thing that raised the issue. He stated they have a plan they are overseeing; the Transportation System Plan and in that plan there are millions of dollars worth of projects but not enough revenue to cover those projects so it seems to him that one of the main goals of the Commission should be to balance that portion of the budget (assigning priority to what projects they want to implement). With that said, there isnít anything within the code that empowers them to do that.
Lohman responded that item 3 under section 2.13.030 talks about funding and says that the Commission is to make recommendations to the City on Cities Transportation section of the Capital Improvements Program. The recommendation is being made to both staff and the budget committee/council.
Anderson replied, he has been involved in Transportation Commissionís for over twenty years and he has never seen a situation where there is a commission that doesnít make recommendations to a policy body. Heís never seen a commission make recommendations to staff who then makes a final recommendation. He added, as someone who is going to potentially continue to participate on this commission he needs to see that changed. He needs to see that he is spending his time making recommendations to a policy body, not to staff. He will continue to participate in this if that happens but if it doesnít this isnít a good expenditure of his time.
Chapman is concerned about the change to the Liaison language. He pointed out Carol comes to the meetings most of the time unless she has a conflict so she can liaise. If you may come or seldom come, he feels it is a worthless position. Voisin agreed with that statement. He stated when he was a Commissioner he and Greg Lemhouse had a deal with each other that if they couldnít attend they would call each other for backup and that worked great. He isnít sure how you can tell Council what is going on with your Commission/Committee in which you are a liaison to.
Lohman responded that was a decent point. He said the concern is it wasnít physically possible with the proliferation of ad hoc meetings. He thinks it is a point worth bringing up when they take it to Council. Voisin pointed out that was her concern too.
Faught commented this can certainly be brought back as a future agenda item. The Commission would also like to have Lohman come back as a future agenda item to discuss what is happening on the State Transportation Commission level, which he is a member of.
Traffic Crash Summary
Young mentioned what struck him is that out of the 13 crashes listed 7 of them seemed pretty clear that the law was broken and no citation was issued. MacLennan said there are very few accidents he goes out on where he doesnít issue a citation. He believes their job is enforcement and correction of driving habits. He stated he has spoken to the Chief about this and he has said many times that he isnít going to force officers to cite people because it is officer discretion and once you start taking away officer discretion it creates issues. He agrees with the concern but isnít really sure what he can do about it.
Geneva Park parking space elimination request
Fleury stated back in January Commissioner Chapman received the initial email from a resident of Geneva park which is located on B Street and then forwarded that to staff to begin looking into it. Chapman pointed out he wasnít sure if that was him but maybe he doesnít remember. Fleury said he contacted the resident that had raised the concern and he and Brad Barber from the Public Works Engineering Department, went out to take a look at the issue. Their issue is egress from their driveway location to the residential complex. He mentioned this particular resident was involved in an angle crash, making a left hand turn movement out of the driveway and was struck by a driver heading east towards Mountain. He crept out of the driveway and when he finally went there was a car there. They talked about the sight distance, specifically looking west. He discussed the memo/pictures that are included in the Transportation Commission packet. The sight triangle included in the picture basically goes through the vegetation and there are two trees which basically block the view through the park row area and when there are cars parked on both sides you canít see anyone in that area. Staff has driven through there multiple times and they have observed the traffic through there. He pointed out the street section through there is only 27 feet wide, which per the adopted street standards that only allows for street parking on one side of the street. This street is based on the street standards prior to the current street standards being adopted. He included the accident data for that area in the packet. The accident data shows 15 accidents between this section and Emerick and the majority of those were accidents involving striking parked vehicles. He told the HOA that he would bring this forward. This is the initial discussion and if there is a desire to move forward on this agenda item staff would need to notify residents.
Audible pedestrian signal buttons
Fleury shared that about $20,000 has been spent so far on the project and there is about $6,000 in grant money left. Vieville provided some possible locations for installation. He has requested a quote from Advanced Traffic Products to purchase more. Some of the possible locations include: Laurel/North Main, Lithia/East Main, Main/Maple, Main/3rd, although Vieville shared will Fleury that Walker/Siskiyou would be better served rather than Main/3rd. Fleury said he is hoping to have those ordered and here within the next month and a half and then weíll have ODOTís Electric crew start working on installing them. He added ODOT has made a few repairs and changed the attenuation on a few of them (Walker and Siskiyou). Vieville mentioned she is going to send an updated list of possible locations to Fleury. Faught thanked Vieville for all her hard work on this! Fleury added the news contacted him about doing a blurb on this within the next week or so. The Commission resolved that Vieville will speak to the news on behalf of the Commission.
FOLLOW UP ITEMS
Bicycle Education Class
Fleury stated staff researched this and this was not discussed at any of the Transportation Commission meetings last year, it was the year before. Rachel Dialsí, Recreation Superintendant, understanding was that it would be continually funded without them having to request it each year. However, after reviewing the minutes from the meeting in 2012 that wasnít what was motioned so they will come back each year and provide an update along with making a request for additional funding.
Signal Timing Discussion
Fleury emailed Dan Dorrell after the May meeting and shared with him that the Commission would like to have him come back and discuss signal timing and also to come back on an ongoing basis to provide the Commission with updates and answer questions regarding local/regional ODOT projects.
N. Main restriping
Faught shared ODOT came through and put permanent striping down on all of the sections that they had asked to have changed but they didnít do the Maple change which is awaiting approval from Salem. Kim Parducci is still working on the pedestrian crossings. She has been working with Dan Dorrell on this.
Downtown parking study
Anderson gave an update on the June meeting. They shared that at the last meeting they did an electronic straw poll to get a better understanding of how the committee feels about certain policy decisions. At the June meeting the consultants provided the committee with an interim report and a matrix which shows various policy options.
Oregon Impact June Newsletter
COMMISSION OPEN DISCUSSION
Anderson stated he feels a little bit of ownership on the first agenda item (Commission operating policies and procedures discussion). When he originally raised his concerns Voisin indicated that it was a good time to discuss changes to the municipal code since Council was going to be drafting changes but now it is four months later and Council has already had first reading and that concerns him. Faught explained that Legal isnít amending the actual code that relates to the Transportation Commission. Lohman is recommending the Transportation Commission spend some time on this before recommending the changes. He added they will add this as a future agenda item so they can do that. Anderson would also like to know if Council has any direction for them. He pointed out a while back Voisin had sent an email out regarding the Normal Avenue Plan. He found it a little ironic that Council had concerns about the same issues as they did and ultimately has formed a subcommittee to address those concerns the Transportation Commission previously discussed at length. His understanding is that Council was only informed of the action the Transportation Commission took but not their concerns. Faught added the Council does receive the minutes for every commission/committee meeting. Planning took the Transportation Commissionís action forward to the Council. Chapman pointed out he had talked to the Mayor about why the Transportation Commission wasnít represented on the subcommittee & the Mayor indicated they hadnít thought about it but were welcome to attend the meetings and the subcommittee might listen to them. He did add some of the Transportation Commissionís concerns did make it into the findings by way of Planning Commissioner, Michael Dawkins.
Graf gave an update on the System Development Charge review committee. They havenít finished up water and sewer but once those are wrapped up they will move onto Transportation.
FUTURE AGENDA TOPICS
Transportation Safety Public Outreach
SOU Multi-Modal Future
Stop sign at Sherman/Iowa
Sign Education (Regulatory/Informational)
Meeting adjourned at 8:29 pm
Tami De Mille-Campos, Administrative Assistant