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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Transportation commission

Thursday, August 27, 2015

August 27, 2015
Commissioners Present: Dominic Barth, David Young, Danielle Amarotico, Alan Bender, Chair: Joseph Graf, and Corinne Vieville.
Commissioners Absent: Mike Morris,
Staff Present: Scott Fleury, and Mary McClary
Chair Joseph Graf called the meeting to order at 6:02pm in the Civic Center Council Chambers, located at 1175 E Main Street.
Chair Graf asked if there was anyone in the audience that wished to speak to anything that was not an agenda item.
No one came forward to speak.
Approval of Minutes June 25, 2015
Danielle Amarotico corrected page 3, second sentence, under Grandview Shared Road:
The sentence should read “A shared road is essentially a shared space between vehicles, bikes and pedestrians.”
David Young wanted to clarify page 4, under section: N. Main Loading Zone:
David Young met with Mike Faught to specifically discuss the draft design for the continuous bike lane for downtown. Currently large trucks double park to load and unload, and two (2) of the businesses park their smaller vehicles in the yellow zone to unload and have been cited.  It was determined to temporarily create a loading zone in the last space to allow loading/unloading. The final solution/decision would be based on the recommendation from the downtown parking committee.
David and Mike met with business owners on the block (Brothers, Liquid Assets, Spice and Tea Exchange) and presented them with a current design plan for the corridor. During that meeting, there was some dialogue regarding parking issues and solutions. In addition, Diamond Parking’s ticketing of smaller vehicles unloading/loading in the yellow zone was discussed and they were in agreement to reserve a space to allow unloading and loading.
Chairman stated the minutes stand approved with the amendments.  There were no objections.
Scott Fleury announced the City of Ashland was having a City Volunteer Appreciation BBQ Sunday from 3-5 at the Oak Knoll Golf Course.  Please contact Barbra Christensen if anyone would like to attend.
None stated
Ashland Shuttle
Donna Swanson, 863 Plum Ridge, Dr. Ashland and a committee group presented a report entitled “E-Shuttle Group Report”.  Different persons read different parts of the report. (attached)
Citizens who spoke regarding the E-Shuttle Group Report:
Donna Swanson, 863 Plum Ridge Dr.
            Louise S, 878 Cambridge
            Elizabeth W, Plum Ridge Dr.
            Elizabeth H, Mountain Meadows Cir.
            Roy , 989 Golden Aspen Place
            Diana O, 929 Mountain Meadows Cir.
            Susanne C, 777 River Rock Rd.
            James S, 640 Oak St.
The report was attached and outlined a Summary and Next Steps for the Commission to review and discuss.
The E-Shuttle Group attends meetings with the City Council, Transportation Commission, Downtown Parking Management and Circulation Ad Hoc Advisory Committee in order to represent and to move ahead on the e-Shuttle/Trolley project.  They highlighted in their vision a Downtown Ashland Rapid Transit (DART) electric bus system that would reduce the city’s carbon footprint and work to provide a healthy environment for transportation. 
Their goals were to provide transportation to a population that would otherwise not have a way to utilize the city.  They believe it would address parking and traffic flow concerns, support the City Council, Conservation Commission and the State of Oregon in their goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, benefit businesses, and help tourism.
They asked the Transportation Commission to support their project and develop a pilot project that would utilize a shuttle and also partner with RVTD.  They envision starting small and eventually expand to operate in the whole city. The group researched electric buses, recommended the BYDK7430 foot Mid-e Bus and the cost would be approximately $275,000 without the batteries that could be leased.
Included in their report, Appendix B was information on smaller cities and their use of transit and mobility investments with a breakdown of multiple sources for funding. Appendix C showed pictures of the recommended electric bus. They suggested someone write grant proposals, a business plan, and put together a multitude of funding options for the project.
They commented on Stanford University who was utilizing these buses, starting with 3 electric buses and successfully grew to 30 buses.  The system paid for itself and was run by the University’s Transportation and Parking Department. They showed a PowerPoint presentation which outlined some ideas on how our community could utilize the system, and pay for itself, select a vendor, become cost efficient, compared fuel costs, maintenance, internet access and environmentally consciousness.
Danielle Amarotico asked how they saw themselves integrating with RVTD and they believed their relationship with RVTD would be critical in trying to figure out the routes.  They believe RVTD should be included in the discussions when moving forward.  Corinne Vieville asked about the routes being able to access the streets of Ashland where there was no transportation now.  They believed that starting small, using the routes that the TC had already mapped out would work best and then extend in the future.  There was some concern about the bus going up hills in Ashland and James spoke about the same type of bus was used in San Francisco.  Corinne mentioned it was presented to the Commission seemingly individualized but it appears more like a standard bus principle route.
Dave Young remarked it was meant to be a first step plan, not a fully flushed out plan, looking for partnerships and looking for support from a committee/working group that would identify more the details later. They want to start with a pilot project that would address all types of concerns and they offered to do more work on the plan.  Dave went through what the route would include, which would start at exit 19.
Dominic Barth spoke about an attempted partnership with RVTD with Federal grants that failed, but wanted to know if the bus worked. Mike F explained that the TSP updated plan included an increase of service dates and times, evenings and weekends.  There was a 3-year grant used for that purpose which did show an increase in ridership. That model worked well, especially the weekend and evening service. 
Mike believed the e-group was proposing a different plan than what the grant project accomplished.
David remarked when the city subsidized RVTV to create a free ridership, the buses were full.  When the city reduced the subsidy to pay for half of the cost of the ride, the ridership was already decreasing, so the city voted to stop subsidizing the fare.
Mike offered to bring the reports to the Commission detailing that project if they wanted to review them.
Alan Bender spoke in support of transit, and Ashland being seasonal, wintertime parking didn’t seem to be a huge problem. He believed there were a lot of issues to work through.  Corinne wondered what the impact on the environment would be because of the batteries.  James S. remarked the battery was guaranteed for the life of the bus and then recycled.  Their recommendation would be to buy the bus, but lease the batteries.  They discussed the maintenance of these busses compared to hybrid diesel buses and traditional busses. 
Dominic wondered what the city resident’s reaction would be to fund this project with parking fees, and they remarked, “Unpopular”. David spoke about the Downtown Committee’s research on paying for alternative transit with parking fees, and discovered paid parking would be more effective. Corrine spoke about the quietness’s of some cars for people and the problem it poses for people who could not hear or see them.  These busses would be based on the newest technology and there were discussions about adding some noise to quiet vehicles, but nothing confirmed as of yet.
The Commissioners discussed the TSP plan and how it related to the E-Project plan.  David remarked about the TSP plan consisting of a rubber tire trolley.  He hoped the committee would look at supporting and the benefits instead of reasons not to move ahead.  He believed there are other users that would help with the restraints or problems when the plan was being detailed.
The Commission explored the idea if this would be important to the city, they should take the lead, and Corinne reminded this plan would involve staff time. David spoke about the TC doing some background work and could make it an agenda item, working with the presenters, not necessary take staff time.  He felt the question was do they want to be part of this process.
Mike F explained as the Commission thinks about moving forward with a possible sub-committee, there would be no available staff support. Most likely they would need to hire someone to do the work needed. 
Joe G asked for this item to be put on the agenda for the next Commission meeting.
Alan remarked this type of project moves the city toward a higher level and making Ashland as leader.
Joe G announced the next item and asked to move the traffic crash summary immediately following.
Water St. Parking Prohibition
Scott F recapped the process about parking constrictions within the city.
He remarked that Water Street did not have any parking restrictions presently and it was out of the zone for Diamond parking to enforce.
Dave  suggested no action on this item and Corinne agreed with that statement.
The consensus of the Commission was to take no action on this item.
Traffic Crash Summary
Officer MacLennan reported there were more DUI crash related events; and more hit and runs accidents.
The Commission discussed the crosswalk at Lithia and 3rd and Scott reported Public Works was going to have some intersections reviewed by Kim, their consultant.
Officer MacLennan spoke to the Commission about how Insurance agents hold both drivers partially responsible if they do not determine fault.  He feels the citation is important.
He also talked about marijuana and how officer training covered all drug impairment.
David thanked him for his viewpoints and coming to support the Commission.
None Stated.
Downtown Parking and Multi-Modal Circulation Study Update-Chair
Chairman Joseph Graf reported the Committee continues to meet with a consultant 3-4 times who was focusing on parking.  Circulation had not been addressed yet, while they were looking at different ideas for parking.  Some of the issues were how to pay for a parking program when there was free parking, and how to incorporate multimodal use.
They had agreed in theory on guiding principles.
Mike F added the next step would be an 18 month plan to be managed.  The consultant proposed a permanent downtown parking committee and additional staff to oversee the on-going issues.
Grandview –shared road status
Scott spoke about the Grandview shared road status and how to move forward.  The report included in their packets had information on how to transition a road into a shared road and some other features to review.  There was an update to include a shared road that was going to Council for approval.  He spoke about having a citizen meeting to review a proposal for Grandview.  Staff believed a public meeting was possible around spring.
Dominic stated if they have a standard for a shared road, then tonight’s discussion was already an exception.  Mike F explained the discussion with the neighborhood would be to make sure everyone understood why it needed to be changed.  Joe explained the change was approved in 2010, but not the standard drawing. (specifics) Mike F explained in order for Council to adopt they have to have standard drawings. David spoke about the two commissions involved with the TSP almost already defining shared roads based on dimensions.  Mike stated they needed a final design.
He stated Grandview would change from 25mph to 15mph and talked about educating the citizens with the impacts of the decisions made.
Mountain Ave. signal timing
Scott reported to the Commission he talked to ODOT and they would look at the existing system.
Public Works was going to move forward with purchasing new controllers to help solve the situation.
The intersection of Indiana and Ashland St. already had the new controllers due to the SOU upgrade.
N. Main Crosswalk Analysis
Steve gave a quick update-- the designs were completed to meet ADA requirements and would talk to Kim about finalizing them with ODOT.
The designs were for both the Van Ness and Nursery crosswalks.
Action Summary
Chair asked for any question or comments on the Action Summary.  There were no comments.
Oregon Impact September Newsletter
None stated.
David talked about next month when a representative from United Way would attend the meeting to explain the shared bike rake with 6 bikes.  He would like to encourage them offering more rakes to the city, but would like to see this communicated to the Commission.  The Commission was not informed.
Joe mentioned he would not be available for the Mayor’s brown bag lunch (09/25/15 at noon) and wondered if anyone would like to attend and represent the Commission.
Joe brought up the busses on North Main and wondered if someone would look at that.  He talked about the turn lane and the traffic’s choice to get around the busses. He wondered if the bus stops could be moved. Mike F explained in the design of the road diet every once people go around the busses. David Y watched the lane for a month and didn’t feel it was an issue. Joe talked about the double yellow line.  Mike F said he would review that section.
David remarked we had a vacancy if anyone knew someone who would like to serve on this Commission.  He knew of someone applying and Mike F would check on that application. 
  • United Way Bike Share
  • Public Outreach/Education-Oregon Impact Programs
  • Traffic Control Resolution Update
  • Traffic Crash Summary PD letter
The meeting adjourned at 8:07pm and the next meeting would be September 24, 2015.
Respectfully Submitted by:
Mary McClary
Administrative Assistant
City of Ashland

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