ASHLAND PLANNING COMMISSION
March 10, 2015
CALL TO ORDER
Chair Richard Kaplan called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.
|Troy J. Brown, Jr.
||Bill Molnar, Community Development Director
Maria Harris, Planning Manager
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor
Community Development Director Bill Molnar announced the accessory travelerís accommodation ordinance is going before the City Council for first reading and noted Commissioner Dawkins will be there representing the commission. He also announced two upcoming vacancies on the cmmission and noted commissioners Kaplan and Peddicord are stepping down.
Approval of Minutes
1. February 10, 2015 Regular Meeting.
Commissioners Miller/Brown m/s to approve the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed unanimously.
No one came forward to seek.
Presentation by Mike Faught, Public Works Director: Draft East Main Multi-Modal Concept Drawings. Public Works Director Mike Faught addressed the commission and provided an overview of the proposed changes to East Main Street. Key elements include:
- Reducing East Main to two lanes through the downtown area.
- Extending bicycle lanes through downtown.
- Extending the Road Diet to Helman St.
- Removing the traffic light signal at Helman St. and installing a rapid flash pedestrian crossing beacon.
- Increased signage installed on Lithia Way alerting drivers to the new traffic configuration.
- Installing traffic light signals at Oak St./Lithia Way and Oak St/East Main St.
Mr. Faught noted a conceptual plan has been developed to provide bicycle access from Oak St. to the plaza, and he also elaborated on the proposed changes to the downtown loading zones. He explained they are working with the local trucking agencies to get their input and work through the delivery issues, and stated the concept drawings include two 80 ft. loading zones on each block available until 4 pm each day. He added this would displace 21 parking spots. Mr. Faught went on to note bump-outs would be installed to shorten the distance for pedestrians to cross and improve visibility, and stated the sidewalks will be widened in some areas as well.
Mr. Faught was asked to comment on the staging and duration of this project. He replied that there are still a lot of details to work out before the construction costs can be put together, and stated while the downtown area will be disturbed during construction there are ways to minimize the disruption.
Mr. Faught was asked to comment on potential impacts of stacked traffic due to cars waiting for pedestrian to cross before they can turn. He replied that the proposed design works better than the current system, and noted that the traffic signals are timed to regulate the flow of vehicles. He stated the current configuration of three lanes creates additional hazards, including delivery trucks blocking traffic, and stated they have ran the model a number of times and are confident this will work better.
Comment was made that the pedestrian crossing in front of the Ashland Spring Hotel can be very busy at times. Mr. Faught commented that they donít see a sufficient number of pedestrian crossings at that location to warrant another traffic light.
Staff was asked whether the loading zones near intersections will make it harder to see pedestrians waiting to cross. Mr. Faught clarified the bump-outs will be installed just for this reason.
Suggestion was made to create different timed loading zones, rather than having all those spaces blocked for most of the day, or to have one of the loading zones on each side of the street go back to normal parking at noon. Mr. Faught stated that going to a 4pm cut off is a big improvement and noted the importance of working with the businesses in order to not impact their economic vitality. He suggested they start with a 4 pm cut off, keep working with the trucking agencies, and make adjustments overtime as necessary. Opinion was given that while it is important to protect the vitality of merchants, it is disappointing to see so much space being taken up for truck loading.
Mr. Faught explained the Downtown Parking & Multi-Modal Circulation Committee is continuing to meet and he hopes that by January or February 2016 they will have a final recommendation from that group. He stated once the plan is approved the City can seek out grant funding and it could be a year or two following approval before this is implemented. Mr. Faught added once the parking component is figured out he will return to the Planning Commission for an update. Suggestion was made for staff to hold a meeting at the armory like they have done for other projects to get the communityís feedback on this before it goes to the City Council.
Meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.
April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor