ASHLAND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
AUGUST 28, 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, Alan Bender, David Chapman and David Young
Commissioners Absent: Corinne Viťville, and Shawn Kampmann
Staff Present: Scott Fleury, and Tami De Mille-Campos
Council Liaison Present: Carol Voisin
Approval of Minutes Ė July 2014
Approved as presented.
Edem Gomez; Transportation Demand Management Planner with RVTD
Edem presented information on the Oregon drive less challenge. It is a statewide campaign that runs from October 6-18 and focuses on reducing single occupancy vehicle trips through incentive programs. He passed around some flyers. He stated the City of Medford is going to be doing an active transportation event and he wanted to see if the City of Ashland would be interested in doing something. He has also contacted Siskiyou Velo about maybe doing an event there, if the City was interested in that.
United Way Grant Presentation
Connie Wilkerson, Mobility Manager with United Way of Jackson County.
Connie informed the Commission of an exciting proposal that they have for the City of Ashland pending they are a recipient of a grant that they have recently applied for. United Way of Jackson County channels its work through four impact areas: education, income, health and transportation. Research has consistently shown that access to transportation is the principle partner on the path to exit poverty, maintain health, and avoid chronic unemployment. One of the principal complaints that local social service workers hear from their clients is access to transportation. 211ís call volume data showed they received 157 calls between August 2013 and August 2014 from Jackson County residents requesting transportation assistance resources, which represents 7% of their total call volume. This shows a distinct need of people in the Valley. After fiscal year 2010 RVTDís ridership increased dramatically and has stayed somewhat consistent over the last two years. Connie added ridership is greatest on the Ashland route (route 10). Of the 1.4 million users in fiscal year 2013/2014, 622,000 of them were on route 10. The route with the next greatest ridership is the White City route and itís only half of the ridership on route 10. Of the 1.4 million riders almost 63,000 of those were riders with bikes. Route 10 originates at the Front Street station in Medford, travels down Hwy 99 and comes into Ashland. There are 43 potential stops between the Front Street station and the Ashland plaza. Once on the Ashland Loop there are an additional 39 stops. One of the proposals that United Way is proposing to alleviate the issue regarding time spent in transit is bike lockers and a skate dock near the Ashland plaza to assist computers traveling to Medford. This will decrease their transit time by eliminating the stops made in Ashland while en route to Medford. The rider can travel to the centralized location in Ashland and lock up their bike/skateboard, board the bus to Medford and do the same on the way back to Ashland from Medford. A large percentage of the 622,000 riders live more than a mile off the bus route so this is an effort to make first mile and last mile connections to public transportation easier. Those are primarily achieved through walking, biking or boarding. The problem is each RVTD bus can only hold 3 bikes and the cyclist have to be able to secure their own bike before embarking on it. If the rack is already full and someone wants to get on with their bike the bus driver has the discretion of whether or not to allow them on the bus and at any point along the route if the bus is too full the driver can ask them to disembark with the bike. This means that storage is key for commuters. The gift to the City of Ashland should they receive the grant would be just over $10,000 for the 5 bike lockers and the skateboard dock. (See meeting packet for proposed bike locker/skateboard dock details. They are not wedded to the proposed model but it was used as a placeholder for the grant proposal.)
Transportation System Plan System Development Charge (SDC) Priority List
Fleury explained that he spoke to Faught and his understanding of this agenda item is that the SDC committee feels there are a lot of projects on the list, more so than what can be accomplished in the next twenty years. The SDC committee asked them to look at pairing the list down. Faught already went through the list which was pulled from the Transportation System Plan (TSP), crossed off some of the projects that he thought should be removed and wanted the commission to have input. These projects wouldnít be removed from the TSP; they would just be removed from the SDC list.
Graf added that the SDC committee has finished with the water and sewer, both of which are predominately regulatory driven and is pretty clear cut on funding and the TSP has all of these projects with no clear funding or time frame, some of which are primarily developer driven. The transportation Commission needs to make sure the projects that are on the list are really going to happen and the projects that arenít on the list really arenít going to happen in that twenty year time frame.
Fleury added the SDCís are collected and in a separate fund. The SDCís are ďbankedĒ until one of the projects on the list moves forward. The percentage allocated for that project is then used toward the projects total cost.
Anderson has concerns about the larger picture and isnít really interested in prioritizing these projects.
Fleury clarified the agenda item wasnít intended to prioritize (rank) the projects on the list but rather to remove any projects that likely wouldnít be completed in the next 20 years.
Anderson is concerned with the project amounts shown on the list and wonders if that limits the City on what they assess the SDC amount off of. Fleury answered the SDC reimbursement amount is based on the actual cost of the project and not the amount on the list. Anderson added that he has been involved in project cost estimation and programming of projects for several years so he does have some knowledge about this. There are several projects on the list that he feels are very underestimated. Some of which are coming up in the near future and are development driven, yet the City isnít collecting enough SDCís to cover the costs. He is concerned with the City being on the hook to pay the balance because after a few large projects the SDC reimbursement fund would be depleted. He added prioritizing the projects and discussing the percentage allocation to growth isnít getting to the point of it. He is also concerned with the fact that they are making recommendations to the SDC committee which consists of homebuilders who have a vested interest.
Chair Young remarked his point is well taken.
The commission briefly discussed a few of the projects on the list and Anderson pointed out the projects came out of the TSP process and he doesnít feel the commission should be re-prioritizing these projects. Chair Young responded by saying that Craig initiated this a few months ago by requesting the Commission go through a process every several months to prioritize what is in the TSP. Anderson added this whole discussion feeds into that, in the sense that the City has very limited funds to spend on the high priority projects, never mind the medium and low projects. Documentation acknowledges that there are very limited funds and makes specific recommendations for how to increase that. At the same time the SDC committee is trying to keep SDCís low, which is not addressing issues in the plan.
Chair Young asked Anderson if he was suggesting the committee take no action on this agenda item. Anderson said yes. Chair Young then recommended Anderson make a motion to that affect. Anderson went on to say this gets to another large issue which has to do with who the Transportation Commission makes recommendations to.
Chair Young asked Anderson if he would like to make a motion on the action item. The motion could include the rationale behind it and the motion would be made public record. He added in the interest of time he just wants to move the meeting along; Kim Parducci is in attendance and is waiting to discuss the next agenda item.
Graf (who has attended the SDC meetings on behalf of the Transportation Commission) stated he feels the reason why the Transportation Commission has this task is to help Faught and staff determine if they have the list right. The data comes directly from the TSP so changing any of the figures would likely mean theyíd have to obtain new engineering estimates and thatís probably not going to happen. He feels staff is running this by them as a courtesy.
Chapman would like more information regarding the SDC reimbursement.
Bender mentioned maybe the Commission should table this until the next meeting when Faught is present.
Anderson brought up the Normal Avenue plan. He doesnít think the people paying the Transportation System Utility fee should have to cover this development. The developer should be on the hook for those expenses. Chair Young explained this isnít pertinent to this agenda item. He added this is a big discussion and he understands where Anderson is going with this but reminded him of the agenda item. Anderson asked when this was going to be discussed and Chair Young replied itís something to discuss with Faught, but this is not the proper time.
Chapman stated he is not willing to prioritize the SDC projects to then be taken back to the SDC committee. He would like to understand the SDC process first.
Chapman/ Bender m/s to table this agenda item for the next meeting when Mike Faught is present.
All Ayes. Motion passed.
North Main Crosswalk Discussion (see attached diagrams)
Kim Parducci, Southern Oregon Transportation Engineering
Parducci stated the City asked her to look at some different locations for crosswalks along North Main Street. She went out to North Main and looked at every location that she thought was feasible between the two existing signals at Maple and Laurel. The process that she took was completing counts at the intersections (pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle), she went out at night so she could see the lighting and then she put all the numbers on diagrams so the commission could see what she saw when looking at the various locations. The possible locations she identified were: Coolidge/Glenn, Nursery, Hersey/Wimer, Van Ness, and Manzanita/Skidmore. Parducci then proceeded to walk the commission through each of the locations, describing the pros/cons of each.
Glenn/Coolidge- She looked at the south crossing there.
Pros: fairly low turning volumes (not a lot of people turning onto Coolidge or Glenn that wouldíve been in conflict with the crossing).
Cons: poor lighting, poor site distance on Glenn and itís really close to Maple (365í south of Maple), the speeds are a little higher at Glenn on North Main street and as you head south the speeds tend to drop off a bit.
Nursery- She liked this intersection and this is probably a location that she would recommend a crosswalk at.
Pros: adequate lighting on both sides of the street, itís straight, sight distance is decent from Nursery, lower speeds, turning movement volumes arenít high, more centrally located and it sets up well for the possibility of 2 crosswalks (intermittent ones).
Cons: there was a crash here in 2014 but she doesnít think it had anything to do with the intersection being dangerous. She said she thought it was on a day of really heavy rain and a vehicle rear-ended another vehicle. The report said the driver couldnít stop fast enough.
Hersey- she looked at a location on the south side and the main reason behind that is Hersey is predominately right turns.
Pros: centrally located, probably where you have most of the traffic feeding into (Hersey/Wimer) and Main has the highest volume and probably the highest pedestrians crossing in both directions (although there werenít any pedestrians that crossed while she was there). She said she has actually watched a lot of people sit and sit and sit and sometimes even step off and they just wonít cross there. She wonders if painting the crosswalk there would give them the courage to step off into the crosswalk. She doesnít feel itís the best location though given all of the conflicts.
Van Ness- she looked at two locations here. It is another ďTĒ intersection but it has a driveway across the street from Van Ness. She liked this location for similar reasons as Nursery.
Pros: itís a ďTĒ intersection, the only location with a transit stop, it has really good lighting all the way around it, good sight distance on the south (the sight distance as you approach, because it is a skewed intersection, isnít the greatest looking to the north but looking to the south you have a clear view of anyone that would be crossing there).
Cons: no sidewalk on Van Ness on the south side and all of the pedestrians are shown crossing on the north side but she still thinks the south side is better because you can see much better on each side as you cross.
Pros: it had the most pedestrians near it (she observed pedestrians crossing mid block, just north of Skidmore).
Parducci stated out of all of the possible intersections she liked Van Ness and Nursery the best.
Anderson stated he likes Hersey/Wimer because it offers a better origin destination. Wimer feeds nicely into the neighborhoods on the west side and Hersey does a good job of feeding the neighborhoods on the east side. However, he does understand how having a crossing there could ďgumĒ up that intersection. He stated for a pedestrians safety if you were going to do a crosswalk there maybe the intersection could be raised. Parducci answered the stop bars arenít something that you typically do on one of your higher order streets. Itís something you would do on a lower order street where your speeds are quite a bit lower. Anderson clarified he wasnít referring to stop bars, he was referring to the whole intersection being raised.
Chair Young stated he thinks the Hersey/Wimer intersection is a critical one for many reasons but it would have to be with some kind of signal. But then that concerns him about what that does to the function of that intersection. At some level he does think someone crossing at Hersey/Wimer would then provide some cover for the left turn movements (introducing gaps). So in some ways it can improve the functioning of that intersection for hillside residents. However he does think it would need an actuated crossing.
Chair Young asked what Parducci is looking for based on this discussion. She stated she would like a general idea of how everyone feels.
Bender- if there is going to be two crosswalks then he agrees with the Nursery and Van Ness locations but if there is only going to be one then he would say Hersey/Wimer. He does think two crosswalks are better than one.
Chapman- he doesnít know where the talk about one crosswalk ever came from, theyíve always talked about two. He agrees with the Nursery and Van Ness (south side) locations.
Anderson- he isnít opposed to the crossings at Van Ness and Nursery but he would like to see the speed table at Hersey/Wimer.
Graf- he thinks two crosswalks would be better than one. He thinks the Nursery and Van Ness locations are about as good as any place but he is still concerned about safety (mid block crossings).
Chair Young- he does agree with Graf and believes people will cross wherever they choose to cross. He stated we canít control peopleís actions but we can provide them with a safe place to cross. He pointed out he would have strongly leaned toward Wimer/Hersey but he is bending toward the Nursery and Van Ness locations, primarily due to consensus. He doesnít think it would be bad there but he does think there needs to have flashers.
Parducci informed the commission she will take the three potential locations to ODOT for their input and then she will bring the information back to the commission for further discussion.
Bender pointed out he missed the March meeting because the date of that meeting had been changed and he wasnít available on that date. He doesnít want to be punished for not having been available for that date, when he was available for the normal date. Chair Young reminded the commission that you are only dinged if you have two or more unexcused absences in a 6 month period.
Chapman asked why the 20mph sign hasnít been put back up near the fire station. Fleury said he would follow up on that. Chapman also pointed out the multi use path off of Siskiyou has been fixed and it is great!
Anderson brought up the municipal code section regarding the Transportation commission powers and wants to make sure this is going to be a future agenda item. Fleury said it will be.
FOLLOW UP ITEMS
Audible Pedestrian Signal
Skipped agenda item
Downtown Parking Study
Chair Young reported gave an update on what happened at the last Downtown Committee meeting. He said the committee prioritized at the last meeting and decided to go with the low hanging fruit first. There are two proposed phases which would be measured for success along the way.
Traffic Crash Summary
Graf stated after talking about the traffic crash summary at last monthís Transportation Commission meeting, he found this traffic crash summary to almost be comical. Chair Young asked the commission if they would like to draft a letter to send to the Police Chief regarding this. The commission agreed they would like to have this as a future agenda item.
Oregon Impact July Newsletter
COMMISSION OPEN DISCUSSION
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