ASHLAND DOWNTOWN PARKING MANAGEMENT & CIRCULATION AD HOC ADVISORY COMMITTEE
July 1, 2015
CALL TO ORDER The meeting was called to order at 3:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1175 East Main St.
Regular members present: Pam Hammond, John Williams, Emile Amarotico, Lisa Beam, Dave Young, Cynthia Rider, Marie Donovan, Joe Collonge, Lynn Thompson and Joe Graf
Regular members absent: John Fields, and Michael Dawkins
Ex officio (non-voting) members present: Sandra Slattery, Bill Molnar, Katharine Flanagan, Michael Faught, Pam Marsh, Rich Rosenthal, and Lee Tuneberg
Ex officio (non-voting) members absent: Mike Gardiner
City of Ashland Staff members present: Tami De Mille-Campos
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Minutes of June 3, 2015
Thompson/Rider m/s approve minutes. Minutes approved as corrected.
Hammond stated there was only 5 minutes allocated for public forum which is consistent with the previous agendas but they’ve been taking an average of 25-45 minutes depending on how many speakers there are, which cuts into the other agenda items. She asked if the committee should decide up front that something will be cut from the agenda or how will they be sure to fit it all in? Chair Young responded that it really has never been 5 minutes worth of public forum; it’s usually around 15 minutes. He spoke with the people in the audience before the meeting started and asked them in the interest of time to limit their comments to about 1 minute and he encouraged them to submit anything they would like in writing which would be distributed to the entire committee. He also spoke to the citizens representing the e shuttle advocate group. He informed them that this is an item on the next transportation commission meetings agenda, so as to move it off of this committee’s public forum. This will be an opportunity for an informational presentation and the ability to ask questions.
Roy Sutton, 989 Golden Aspen Place
Read attached letter.
Elizabeth Hallet, 923 Plum Ridge Drive
She urged those working on transportation to find a plan which will reduce carbon emissions.
James Stephens, 1325 Romeo Drive
He is representing an electric vehicle association but they are supporting all forms of electric transportation. He added that an e shuttle would be the perfect use of electric transportation. With no fumes, and no noise it would be the perfect shuttle for Ashland. He said they are also proposing that any parking additions made be non-centralized, (not downtown) so as not to bring in more pollution, and more noise causing more problems.
She spoke regarding climate change and stated that gasoline motors contribute to that problem. She added, she visited Santa Barbara and they have electric shuttles there that are widely used and extraordinarily successful and she feels Ashland could do the same thing.
Showed slide presentation (see attached)
Williams informed the committee they will walk through the guiding principles and possibly add some more to the list. His hope is to come out of this meeting with a revised guiding principles document that everyone is happy with. He said if the committee can come out with a good set of consensus statements then he can come back at the next meeting and suggest what he thinks should be done and move towards action. He reminded the committee of the quote “if we think we have a parking problem then it means the status quo is not working”. He added his job is to take them beyond status quo.
What’s not working?
*Employee parking (mid shifts have it the toughest)
*Congestion (particularly caused by truck loading)
*Confusing bike lanes or lack thereof
*Parking for people with disabilities
*Lack of parking in residential areas which causes congestion, some of which is downtown based
Do you ever have a lull in parking & when is that?
*When OSF isn’t open
*January is probably the weakest month
*Monday’s (when OSF is not in performance)
*November thru February (except for retail business)
Linda Fait pointed out the 4 hour signs go away November 1-March 1, which relieves some of the congestion.
How is the communication system? Do people have a sense of where to go?
*No and that is why there is so much circling & so much congestion
John Williams shared there is a strong interest amongst the citizens to explore greener ideas.
What is working?
*Able to serve visitors which means revenue and taxes increase
*Fair number of visitors/residents able to access downtown without parking because of the fair density of accommodations and neighborhoods
*Good customer service regarding parking issues
Thompson said speaking as a resident, if she needs to come downtown to run a quick errand most of the time she can find a parking place within a block or two. She added most of the time she is happy with the speed of the flow of traffic. One concern she has is going from 3 lanes to 2 lanes & given the trucks whether it is going to gridlock.
A successful parking program for downtown Ashland would be….
*Make our visitors, residents want to come back
*Provide the spaces in front of the businesses for customers & find reasonable places or ways of accessing downtown for employees and OSF patrons to park longer term
*Would have a large focus on demand reduction in the core (not in terms of less customers)
*Easy to recognize, easy to understand, easy to administer
*Not create a frustration
Who is the primary customer for downtown on-street?
*Short-term customers going to businesses
Who is the primary customer for downtown off-street?
*Longer term parkers
Williams said what he needed to understand was who the priorities are and then they could back into what will need to be done. Permits may need to be created in order to capture capacity.
Who is responsible for providing parking?
*The city is responsible for residents, customers/visitors and employees are a mutual responsibility
Should employees be allowed to park on-street in areas zoned residential?
*Right now they don’t have any other option
Should residents be allowed to park on-street in areas zoned commercial or mixed use?
*As long as they follow existing rules
Williams asked if there is capacity in the residential area to park employees, which employees would be parked there first? Who would get priority? He added, many cities issue employee parking permits based on providing proof of where you work.
Donovan asked how that is a better solution than finding pockets in town where parking could be established that doesn’t cause an upheaval with one side or the other. She said there aren’t any rules in residential for parking and when you buy a house you don’t get to have the street. She added, to change all of that seems like a very extreme way to go.
Williams said at some point you hit a capacity point and you don’t initiate new things until capacity has been reached but it is trying to create a set of rules that you would move to. When you get to permits you are at an extreme. As long as you have available space you don’t have an issue.
Young said we need to start looking at the railroad districts as separate sub districts. For example, A Street is a lower density than the Co-Op/Armory. He feels it needs to be refined to where there isn’t one set treatment for the entire railroad district.
BUILDING GUIDING PRINCIPLES
Continued slide presentation
CITY ROLE AND COORDINATION
The key role for the City in public parking is to facilitate customer and visitor access.
*Residents and employees also deserve the attention of the city
*Key role could be interpreted as the main role
*The city has a role but is it a key role?
*Balancing the interests of all of the users and enforce the system of priorities that have been set up the regulatory system
*Change the wording to “the key role for the city is to facilitate access to public parking”
Williams stated the committee could add a guiding principle that says “to work with the private sector to create access into private supply where possible”, which he said is a very active statement. Then you would go and find lots, prove there are stalls and the city would facilitate that process. This statement really is about who the city is managing the supply for.
Graf said he is feeling like the committee isn’t quite ready to prioritize at that level.
Williams added sometimes he puts these out there because we need these types of reactions. If it’s not clear or doesn’t bring clarity to an overall set of action then that’s why it’s there. He is testing. He thinks it is easy to take that guiding principle out. If they agree there should be a centralized entity managing parking 365 days of the year we should be planning for parking and changing things as thresholds are triggered and exceeded. He doesn’t see that right now and as a result it is hard to say the city has a parking management system. Right now the city enforces and that might be it. The committee agreed to remove that guiding principle.
Centralize management of the parking supply
*Includes public parking and private partnerships
*The city would never force the private sector to do anything they didn’t want to do (related to parking) but the city would facilitate those partnerships
*Change the wording to “centralize management of the parking supply available to the public”
Williams stated that would then throw in the shared use. He thinks that is a good statement.
The most convenient on-street parking will be preserved for the priority customer.
*Agreed to change “customer” to “user”
Provide sufficient parking to meet employee demand, specifically in conjunction with other reasonable travel mode options.
Williams said paid transit won’t work if parking is free. The only way parking can facilitate the alternative modes in a free environment is to make the other modes as equally convenient.
Donovan feels we have a unique downtown that runs very differently and includes employees that work unique shifts.
Williams agrees but said every downtown is that way and we need to have that discussion in the future regarding whether or not the status quo needs to change. He added many cities have said they will have less employee parking in the future than they do today.
ACTIVE CAPACITY MANAGEMENT
Manage all public parking using the 85% Occupancy Standard to inform and guide decision-making.
*When would the 85% kick in?
Williams answered however you establish the standard, and then when 85% is exceeded you would need to act. The standard still needs to be defined (day, season, year etc.).
Young asked whose role is it to encourage a particular business that has a gridlock demand for parking and has a really workable solution. It could be that the city oversees or encourages it but it would be up to the business to make it happen.
Amarotico shared what is interesting about that is if he does that unilaterally and frees up all those spaces around them the employees will say that nobody else is participating and the spots they vacated are now being taken up by other employees or businesses so he feels it needs to be done together and not just one business doing it.
Williams informed the committee that most successful shared use programs are facilitated by the city and led by the business community. The city’s role is to gather the information. Then it is a group such as this group or one tied to the chamber that goes out and leads the effort. After that it is business to business.
Provide safe secure and well-lit parking to allow a sense of security at all times on-street and off-street.
Williams pointed out this guiding principle could be coupled with the incentivize shared parking guiding principle.
Graf was confused as to why this guiding principle is under Information Systems.
Williams said the reason he put it under that is because it is an appearance thing & he doesn’t want to communicate that the lot is available unless it is well lit and secure. Some cities have a quality category and this could fall under that. He just didn’t want to overburden them with categories.
Graf would move it to a different category.
Slattery asked if we could add something to that guiding principle about connectivity for people getting from the downtown to the lot that they’ve parked in.
Williams will improve that guiding principle to also include connectivity.
INTEGRATION WITH OTHER MODES
Leverage parking to support and increase the use of alternative modes of transportation
Thompson pointed out one of the pieces that U of O found is that most people access the downtown by car and while there are opportunities for bikes it is seasonal to some extent and there is a certain demographic (elderly) that won’t be riding their bikes or walking. She doesn’t want to see it constrained because we are trying to engineer an outcome for alternative modes that then results in not meeting the needs of important populations.
Williams said if we could take 200 people who are currently parking 5 hours or more downtown and put them somewhere else you would create the capacity for 250-800 new trips per day. He understands there are factors such as weather, seasons, people with disabilities and we want to give those people parking. He added maybe the parking problem isn’t as severe as they think it is but if you could get 200 long term parkers out of the on-street system you would have built a parking garage without paying for one which saves the city 8-10 million dollars. The intent isn’t to socially engineer anything it is about creating turnover that is adequate to a district that keeps it vital. It’s a simple problem but there are a few decisions that need to be made.
Slattery asked Williams to define leverage. She said her problem is with the definition of leverage because to her she looks at that and wonders if that means you will make it so limited and expensive that only wealthy people will be able to afford to park downtown. To her it looks like we are penalizing as opposed to encouraging and that feels very different to her.
Williams said leverage is kind of a wiggle term but we could be very clear about what leverage means.
*A suggestion was made to change it to leveraged alternative modes to free up parking instead of leveraging parking
The committee likes that change because it is more encouraging.
Williams gave an example of leveraging with keeping parking free: he works with a group of business in Lake Grove and they pay their employees to park in the park and ride. They are paying those employees who they want to get out of their parking supply so they don’t have to build additional supply. Seattle Children’s Hospital buys all of their employees a bike if they sign a contract that says they won’t park their cars in the downtown.
The committee decided to revisit this guiding principle at the next meeting due to time constraints.
Meeting adjourned at 5:37 pm
Tami De Mille-Campos, Administrative Assistant