Agendas and Minutes

Downtown Parking Management and Circulation Ad Hoc Advisory Committee (View All)

June 1, 2016 meeting

Minutes
Wednesday, June 01, 2016

 ASHLAND DOWNTOWN PARKING MANAGEMENT & CIRCULATION AD HOC ADVISORY COMMITTEE
MINUTES
June 1, 2016

 
CALL TO ORDER The meeting was called to order at 3:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1175 East Main St.
Regular members present: Chair Dave Young, Pam Hammond, Marie Donovan, Michael Dawkins, John Williams, Joe Graf, John Fields, Lisa Beam, Cynthia Rider (arrived at 3:49), and Emile Amarotico
Regular members absent: Lynn Thompson, and Joe Collonge
Ex officio (non-voting) members present: Katharine Cato, Michael Faught, Bill Molnar, Lee Tuneberg, Pam Marsh, and Sandra Slattery
Ex officio (non-voting) members absent: Mike Gardiner, and Rich Rosenthal
City of Ashland Staff members present: Tami De Mille-Campos
 
ANNOUCEMENTS
 
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Minutes of May 4, 2016
 
Minutes approved as presented.
 
PUBLIC FORUM
Paul Rostykus, 436 Grandview Drive
 
He shared two concerns. The first is double parking of trucks, particularly the one he saw on Saturday on North Main and Church Street where it narrowed it down to one lane and caused visibility issues.
 
The other concern he had was that he had heard bicyclists do not shop downtown.  He is a bicyclist who lives up on Grandview Drive, which is a hill to drive up or bicycle up, and he rides his bike to shop the downtown.
 
COMMITTEE MEMBER QUESTIONS
Faught said there was a lot of conversation at the last meeting and he just wanted to provide a moment to address any questions that the committee members had.
 
Fields said this is a good turnout as far as the community goes and he appreciates people coming to the meetings and participating. He pointed out this has been going on for 2 ½ years and the original mission was to solve the parking problem. Then 3 months ago we took it all on. After 2 ½ years of studying the parking problem we got to a point where we said we would hire a parking consultant that would manage it and create a committee who will study it so he isn’t sure if we are entering into another 2 ½ year study of transportation planning. He added you may think this is the end of the process but he feels it is just the beginning.
 
Chair Young said he respectfully disagrees about that being the charge of the committee. This was the part of the Transportation System Plan update that was completed in 2012 that was cut out.
 
Fields said his only concern is that we spent 3 meetings working on a mission statement but never reflected back and looking back he doesn’t see it.
 
Faught shared that we weren’t quite ready to begin the public process but after misinformation got out there the Chamber hosted a public meeting and they got some good questions. He added the committee’s charge did include multi-modal, it’s just that they spent 2 ½ years on the parking and the reason they did that and the reason it will likely take more time on the other is that they are complex. Now that we have a plan that we think will work on the parking side, we begin the process for the multi-modal piece. Because of the complexities and short term/long term impacts that it may have on the economic development side of it, we have to be careful that we do the right things as we move forward. To Fields’ point, it is early on in this process and there is no pending decision to not do any of the proposed multi-modal projects, we’ve simply started that conversation with this group and there will be a lot of feedback and input opportunities with this committee and there will be a public input process as well once it gets to the City Council.
 
Donovan shared her feeling is the Chamber’s role in this process has been misunderstood and misrepresented. It feels like they have been misinterpreted as being against bicycle lanes because some of the voting members are questioning costs and impacts to the downtown businesses. She isn’t sure where this information is coming from because that is not true. They are asking tough questions that need to be asked. This committee is charged with not just representing one small group of people, this impacts everybody.     
 
HARGADINE PARKING GARAGE RECENT FEE INCREASE AND UTILIZATION
Matt Warshawsky, 2331 Morada Lane
 
He said he hoped everyone had a chance to read his email (see attachments). His wife (OSF employee) and several other employees have utilized the parking structure in the evening as a safe place to park because it is located next door. Previously they had been able to purchase a monthly permit and were told that evenings weren’t really enforced, although the permit says it doesn’t cover evenings. When she went in to purchase the permits for the rest of the summer, she was told that not only were the rates going up but more importantly, they would be enforcing in the evenings. He said this has an adverse effect on the employees on the employees that rely on that. It is really the only safe place for people working at night to park. This change takes effect today, so he is hoping to quickly push something through that will allow people to continue to be able to purchase the pass for parking in the evening. He added that the $2.00/hour rate for someone earning $15.00/hour is a significant chunk of their income and for most of the evening employees, alternative transportation options are not feasible.
 
Faught said he appreciated Matt coming forward with this issue. He said the City Administrator, Dave Kanner, has asked him to share with them that he has a proposal that would fix this pretty quickly. The proposal is to prepare a resolution to modify the fee structure to allow for an evening or an all-day parking pass for council consideration at their next meeting unless the committee disagrees with the plan.
 
The proposed resolution includes a stipulation that no more than 40 (combined total) nighttime and all-day parking permits shall be sold in any month from March through October, in order to ensure that the parking structure doesn’t fill up with permit-holding employees of downtown businesses during peak tourism season.
 
Matt voiced some concern with this being limited to 40 permits. Linda Fait, Diamond Parking, shared she doesn’t think that is going to be an issue.
 
Faught explained that the sense of urgency that Kanner is proposing would require this committee to act on this now, rather than waiting for a future meeting. Chair Young felt it would be useful to have time to consider the ramifications of this. Maybe something is implemented and then reevaluated again at the end of summer.
 
Cato said with respect to the needs that have been expressed by Matt, how is Kanner going to handle all of the restaurant employees who work late at night and need a place to park? She stated our task force is taking a deep look at employees in downtown, which there are over 2,000 employees, all of which work different hours and have different needs.
 
Dawkins/Williams m/s to approve the City Administrator to proceed with taking this proposal to Council.
 
Discussion: Rider pointed out that she was late to the meeting and wasn’t here for the entire discussion. She said this is a big issue for OSF employees. Dawkins said he made the motion with the intent that the ongoing committee would delve deeply into this. This is just to take care of this immediate need. Graf asked who is now eligible to purchase these parking permits. Faught said his understanding is the limit is on evening passes and anyone is eligible to purchase a pass. There was some discussion on pricing. Matt said Fait doesn’t think there is going to be a problem with 40 evening passes but they haven’t been available before and the cost effectiveness of day passes has always been much lower. Williams said the reason he seconded the motion was because of the belief that the City Administrator has a solution. Rider said she definitely supports it but she does wonder if 40 passes is enough and also whether 6:00 pm is a good evening start time. She thinks it is a good thing to look at further.
 
Tuneberg said he was happy we were getting to this discussion because he and Fait had been talking about this 6 years ago. He thinks the 40 pass limit is accurate. 6:00 am - 6:00 pm is daytime hours and 6:00 – 2:00 am is nighttime hours. He added that they cannot do permits to meet every individual group of employee’s downtown. He thinks there are a wider set of issues to look at beyond just the Hargadine. We also have to remember that it isn’t easy for daytime employees either; we have talked about precluding daytime employees from parking downtown altogether and being designated somewhere else. He thinks this will need to be revisited as we go along.
 
Slattery appreciated Tuneberg’s comments and said that one of the questions that came up in the meeting this morning was “what is a reasonable distance for an employee to have to walk to work?” She said she believes it is a different with daytime employees versus nighttime employees. One thing that has come up several times in this group is business owners not wanting their employees to walk very far distances at night which is unreasonable from a risk and safety standpoint. She said it has great implications in many of the conversations that have been had regarding satellite parking and people navigating that distance. Tuneberg appreciated that but he added that during the winter months it is dark for most people when they come in to work in the morning and it is dark when they go home after work. He added that he is hearing these similar complaints from his employees, many of which have young children and satellite parking will be difficult for most of them when they have emergency situations or things that require them to leave work to handle something (doctor’s appointments, school pick up).
 
All in favor. Motion passes.
 
Faught said we received an email from Allan Weisbard (see attachment) regarding the Hargadine being underutilized. Allan was invited to this meeting but was not in attendance. Faught said he thinks this should ultimately go to the new committee that will continue this work but since we aren’t quite there yet, he wanted to provide an opportunity for Allan’s input. He pointed out that Rick Williams had studied the Hargadine parking garage and those results are attached.
 
3 LANE TO 2 LANE – CONTINUED DISCUSSION
John Fisher-Smith, 945 Oak Street
He and his wife both ride their bikes every day and it’s a part of their lifestyle. He passed around a copy of a guest opinion article that he wrote for the Ashland Daily Tidings which was in today’s paper. He added the opening statement by John and David in the Daily Tidings was concerning to him. He had a background in urban design planning and architecture for many years with a large firm in San Francisco. He said he respects everyone on this committee and their efforts put into this. He is very discouraged today because, from his point of view, having had experience in this field, solving the parking problem for the city is different than solving traffic flow/multi-modal through downtown. They are 2 different charges. He thinks that the circulation design for downtown needs to be done by a small group of planners working out the solutions.
 
Roy Sutton, 989 Golden Aspen Place (read attached letter)
 
Nancy Driscoll, 348 Fair Oaks Ave
She lives down by Mountain Meadows and has lived here for 13 years. In that time she has increasingly used her bike and now her electric bike. She has reduced her car use by 50% annually. As a person who has increasingly discretionary timelines for where she needs to be as a partially/fully retired person. She thanked everyone on the committee for continuing to make it safe for her and other people who ride their bikes. She hopes we continue to allow people to travel safely across town.
 
Teri Coppedge, 2927 Barbara Street
She said she has been a serious biker since the 90’s. She used to commute to Talent and she would ride Highway 99 before the bike path was even there. The scariest part was actually coming through downtown Ashland. She strongly endorses anything we can do to make the area safer. She is interested in whether this is just going to be a bike lane or an actual protected bike lane where you have some sort of physical barrier to stop the cars from getting into the bike lanes. She thinks that is a wonderful thing. She also would like the committee to consider whether you would put the bike lane between the sidewalk and the parking lane so that bikes and pedestrians are going along in the same place instead of bikes and cars.
 
Kat Smith, 770 Faith Avenue
She is a former bike safety educator and instructor here in town through the bicycle transportation alliance and RVTD. She has worked with many families and their children and one of the barriers that they identify for biking is the corridor that is being discussed today. A lot of them have identified that having a bike lane through there would remove that barrier and improve their accessibility to the downtown. Currently a lot of them take up the full lane because ORS 814.4302C says they can do that. Now that she is a mother she does it because she is comfortable doing so and that bike lane helps create that safer environment for families to ride downtown. She, her partner, and their 4 year old bike downtown to eat at the local restaurants, shop at local shops, go to Lithia Park, go to the library etc. Biking is her 4 year olds favorite way to get around. She added, they lived car free for a year and there are many people in the community who do so for a variety of reasons (financial, environmental impact etc.). When we are creating this bike lane downtown we need to recognize the services we are providing for that demographic as well.
 
Jeff Sharpe, 553 Fordyce Street (read attached letter)
 
Julia Sommer, 1158 Village Square Drive (read attached letter)
 
Paula Sohl, 283 Scenic Drive
She is in favor of Ashland being a very smart bike friendly city but she did want to comment on the return traffic on Lithia Way where the bike lane disappears over the bridge. She suggested if the turn onto Water Street was an exclusive lane then we could avoid the terrible merging that happens when you get back onto Main and it would also make room for a bike lane.
 
Vanston Shaw, 608 Drager Street
He is in support of the recommendations which he has heard from the committee related to the bike lane and the 3 lane to 2 lane conversion on Main Street. He said when you look at Lithia Way there is a lot of bike traffic and the reason is because there is a bike lane. He added, you just don’t see the same level of bike traffic through the downtown on Main Street. As a biker himself, he thinks it makes a lot of sense to go that direction and he would appreciate the committee going through with this and the Council approving the 3 lane to 2 lane conversion with the bike lane.
 
Bryan Sohl, 283 Scenic Drive
The Mayor, Council and many citizens have strongly supported Ashland developing a climate and energy plan, which is currently being developed. An ad hoc climate and energy committee has been appointed, which he serves on. A consultant has been hired at a significant expense to develop a climate plan and the committee and consultant will present this to Council in January, 2017. This plan will outline ways to reduce Ashland’s carbon footprint and make Ashland more livable. As a private citizen, he feels this commission has an opportunity to lead by example. He added, he works in Medford and lives in Ashland and he rides his bike frequently. He thinks it is easier to ride his bike to Medford than it is to ride through town to the YMCA, his church or the local watering holes.
 
Ray Mallette, 314 Luna Vista Street
His family moved her about a year and a half ago from Burlington, Vermont where over 30 years ago they took the downtown area (5 blocks) and closed it off to vehicular access. Since then, they have a pedestrian mall there and businesses have thrived in that environment. It has a lot of big chain stores and local stores as well. His impression of Ashland is that we have an equivalent beautiful downtown area, however he feels there is way too much traffic moving through even though the speed limit is only 20 mph. He has been impressed with the bike lanes around town but he did notice the bike lane is missing through downtown. He shares the same concerns that other people have in terms of parked cars and managing your way through the turning lanes. He was also surprised that there was very little outdoor dining use. In Burlington, they took up both sides of the street and left a center area open. Anything that can be done to get traffic slowed down and get people walking around would be an advantage.
 
John Baxter, 831 Liberty Street
He said he had wrote a letter but it is longer than 2 minutes so he will just go over the main talking points. He supports the 3 to 2 lane conversion plan that he has seen. He is a very experiences bike commuter who has been biking since the age of 6. He routinely bikes downtown for professional reasons (4-5 times/week) and as an experiences cyclist he can say that travelling southbound through downtown on a bike is intimidating and unpleasant. You can imagine what that feels like for an inexperienced rider or even to someone who may just be visiting. When he goes downtown he goes on Lithia Way/Siskiyou Blvd where it has nice bike lanes. When he goes back home he uses B Street and there are a lot of cyclists who do the same. For people who are concerned with the potential impact on the business community, which he thinks is a legitimate concern, he would point out that all of those people that choose to ride on B Street are people that are not going passed the businesses along Main Street. He thinks this has the potential to improve the downtown economy. He added, if you want to know how many people go downtown on their bikes, just go by the Shakespeare Festival during the green show and try to find a place to park your bike in the bike coral!
 
Casey McEnroe, 193 Eastbrook Way
He really thinks we should have a bike lane because it is much safer for bicycle families, like his, to bike around downtown especially during special events (first Friday) when there are more people out.
 
Liese Murphree, 229 Granite Street
She said they are also a biking family and they brought their 2 daughters with them to this meeting. In fact, one of her daughters got to ride on Main Street for the first time with the pack of cyclists that were heading to this meeting. She said she doesn’t normally allow her children to ride on Main Street because it isn’t safe. The consequence of them not being able to ride on Main Street is they walk their bikes on the sidewalk through downtown instead. When they run errands or ride to the library and they’re pushing their bikes on the sidewalk that presents challenges with congestion and safety. The alternative is they go on B Street or down the bike path. She would love to see a bike lane through downtown because as cyclists would say, it’s a lot bigger deal for them to go several blocks out of their way than it is would be for a car to do so. She’d like to see this as a safer connection for kids who use it to get to school.
 
Eric Bonetti, 2552 Old Mill Way
He stated his comments are tied to the safety and circulation regarding bike paths, although not specifically in the downtown. A few weeks ago he was driving past the high school looking at safe passage for his kids that will be attending the school in the coming year. He noticed on Mountain (north and south directions), there are no bike paths. He thought that was a huge oversight and he decided to call the Principal and ask if there were any future plans and they said they didn’t know but recommended he come to a City meeting to address it. His daughter attends Bellview, which has a bike path and the middle school does too but the high school seems to have been neglected.
 
Louise Shawkat, 870 Cambridge
She pointed out Ashland has a climate and energy action plan in development and the bulk of our greenhouse gasses come from transportation, walking and bicycling. Transit is the most sustainable mode of transportation. To be a resilient city we need to focus our energy and resources on conserving and enhancing our strong and vibrant downtown and embracing the south end by creating a more appealing district. The two most common interventions are to improve biking and walking infrastructure. The City needs to create an efficient public transit system to carry people from one end of town to the other. Our town is book ended at the north and south entrances by lodging and event facilities. She thanked the committee for the months of work that have gone into a vision for Ashland’s transportation but there is more work to be done by all the citizens. The current plan requires good listening skills, cooperation, creativity and patience. She said this will cause temporary discomfort and upheaval, frustration and fear. She thinks the City government, the citizens of Ashland and the local businesses are up to the task of embracing the changes that are being offered.
 
Kathryn Thalden, 550 Ashland Loop Rd
She thanked the committee for all the work they’ve done. She has been at the meetings and she thinks they have come up with a wonderful process for how to address parking in the future. She also thanked Faught for the concept for the downtown. She believes at this point it would be wise to reach out even further for expertise because we are looking at a plan that is for the next 50 years at least. Right now we have the opportunity to create an urban area where cars, bikes, pedestrians and delivery trucks are all accommodated but it goes further than that. It gives us an opportunity to create a place where residents and tourists want to spend time downtown, where shop owners see their businesses thrive, where signage makes it easy to find parking, where a canopy of healthy trees shade sidewalks and streets, where there are places to sit and eat, and where attractive light poles add to the streetscape as well as create safety and security. There are so many groups in Ashland who have particular interests in this development (bike riders, shop owners, visitors) which makes it hard to accommodate everyone. She hopes this committee will look at hiring an urban designer expert to come in. She is a Landscape Architect and did urban design and she knows we haven’t nearly covered all of the possibilities so she urged the committee to look further.
 
Colin Swales, 143 8th Street
He shared that he was lucky enough to be at the meeting that the Chamber put on earlier this morning but sadly there were only 3 people present from the general public and the rest were invitees, although it was meant to be open to the public. He said it would be great if this committee could get a real public meeting so that we could hear from the rest of the citizens/residents and visitors because this type of meeting isn’t the best place to have this kind of dialogue. He said this morning’s meeting was interesting, the planning consultant mentioned that he was here in 1999 talking about our downtown plan. There was also the 1966 downtown plan that Michael Dawkins’ Dad helped produce. Then there was a 1988 plan. None of which have been implemented and here we are again. We need a decent design, which will make it a comfortable place for everyone to share.
 
Linda Peterson Adams, 642 Oak Street (read attached letter)
 
Ron Adams, 642 Oak Street (read attached letter)
 
Ronald Cue, 1155 Fern (read attached letter)
 
Jeanine Moy, 779 Oak Street (see attachment for references)
She pointed out that most of what she wrote has already been covered by the previous public speakers. She thanked the committee for allowing public comment and for being active citizens. She thinks it is really important that we provide bicycle infrastructure and safe biking for people in this town. It is clearly good for people’s health, and it’s good to have for both biker and driver safety. To address some of the concerns that cane up earlier, such as worrying about the parking problem, she doesn’t think these things are mutually exclusive. Addressing the biking problem through downtown will address the parking problem. More people on bikes means less people trying to find a parking spot. There was a study done a few years ago by a UCLA Professor names Donald Shoup, it was called “The High Cost of Free Parking”. As Professor Shoup wrote “minimum parking requirements act like a fertility drug for cars.” She said if we are also worried about funding and the cost of things then why don’t we just charge for parking? There are benefits to the local community; studies have shown that people are more likely to spend more time shopping if they are on their bike. She said if you ask any cyclist coming to downtown, they don’t just park and go in/out of one store, they park their bike anywhere and then they tend to walk the whole strip. One example is in San Francisco on Valencia Street, after it was narrowed to calm traffic two thirds of merchants reported improved business and sales. An equal number of merchants indicated they would support additional measures such as tree planting, sidewalk widening, and transit improvements.
 
She pointed out she did a small social media survey and about 1/3 of those people cited they weren’t in good enough shape to bike. Another 1/3 said they felt like it wasn’t safe, as related to not having a bike lane. The other 1/3 said they don’t feel safe because of driver behavior. There were about 60 respondents out of a Facebook group of 4,000.
 
Chair Young thanked everyone for coming and speaking. He welcomed everyone to come to meetings of other commissions/committees. He said some of the things mentioned by a couple of people are the purview of the Transportation Commission which meets on the 4th Thursday evening each month.
 
Kim Parducci (Southern Oregon Transportation Engineering), Jeff Bernardo (OBEC)
Parducci informed the committee that Jeff Bernardo from OBEC is here to answer some of the questions related to construction phasing and design and how that’s going to work. She thinks it would be best if there are any questions for Jeff to go ahead and ask those first because he is down from Eugene for this meeting and she is here every meeting and could finish her part at a future meeting. He said Faught asked him to be here to briefly talk about some of the questions that had come up at a previous meeting with regards to what type of strategies might be employed with a project of this type and how best to minimize impact to downtown businesses. He said we all recognize that the citizens and businesses feel the effects of a construction project and especially one in which you are potentially changing the way the facility operates out there. It is probably safe to say there is no way to eliminate impact but the focus would be thinking about ways to minimize them to the greatest extent possible. The more strategies that you employ to minimize impacts to traffic and businesses, the longer it takes and therefore costs generally go up so it is always a matter of weighing options.
 
 
Bernardo shared some of the strategies that could be employed:
 
* Require night work.
* Limit number of blocks under construction.
* Alternate each side of the road.
* Provide alternate surfacing (rubber matting) from pedestrian channelization to business entrances.
* Limit sidewalk closure to less than 24 hours for cure time.
*Coordinate with trucking industry for delivery access.
*Provide loading zones for trucks.
 
Hammond asked if there has been a study done on how much the businesses were affected during re-design construction projects in Phoenix, Talent, and Medford. Bernardo said that isn’t anything his firm has studied. They tend to focus more on the design and implementation. Faught said he wasn’t aware of any but he will look into it. There was a recent downtown project in Sisters, Oregon that OBEC worked on and he plans to contact them. He added he was in Glendale, California on vacation a few weeks ago and they had some projects going on. He talked to a few of the businesses and it seemed like the nighttime construction was working pretty well.
 
Chair Young said this presupposes a pretty major project but we don’t have a design and yet the scale of this is making some assumptions and showing major impacts. He feels that without a plan this is somewhat premature. He asked what assumptions were made. Faught said he had them look at the 3 lane to 2 lane concept in terms of cost and staging. The key point here is we were trying to answer general questions about what kind of strategies would minimize impacts to businesses. On a separate note he doesn’t think there is enough time for Parducci to start on her stuff today, so maybe we want to just talk about next steps and have her come back at the next meeting.
 
Donovan said we are at this level in the meeting and the meeting is almost over, yet there was supposed to be 55 minutes dedicated to this agenda topic, and while she appreciates all the public comment, that was sort of an organized event. What ends up happening is the agenda goes out the window and that takes over. It is the culmination of the entire plan that the committee is wrestling with and at this point in time this plan has so many details that we haven’t even scratched the surface of. Because the committee has spent a lot of time on the parking portion of the plan she would like to make a recommendation to move that portion through.
 
Donovan/Rider m/s this committee recommends moving the parking portion of the plan forward.
Discussion: Faught can see an advantage of moving that part of the plan forward. He pointed out we would still need to have a public input process before sending it forward to Council. Graf
All in favor. None opposed. Motion passed.
 
Graf is concerned about passing the parking on because one of the key pieces of the re-design is that we can’t do the multi-modal piece without thinking, to some degree, about the parking. It feels cleaner to him to do everything at once but at the same time it feels better to pass on to the parking group, although that may be the same group of people anyways.
 
Chair Young pointed out we generally warn or post action items and this wasn’t on the agenda as the public might have a stake in this. He also mentioned he knows this was an idea that came from Councilor Marsh or the Chamber. He was copied on an email from Councilor Marsh to Faught about a month ago, around the same time of the newspaper article. For full transparency he wanted to share that, whether it has merit or not, this is something that is being discussed outside of this committee and this is a strategy. He also said from a public meetings law standpoint, the action item not being noticed, doesn’t feel clean to him.
 
Donovan pointed out we voted on something at the beginning of this meeting that wasn’t on the agenda and we’ve done that at past meetings as well. Chair Young shared he thinks that is a slippery slope. Donovan disagrees and she is suggesting the plan be taken forward and then it is part of a public process where more people can be involved, which then ultimately goes forward to Council.
 
Chair Young said he respects that and it makes sense. He said Fields said it clearly, his idea of being on this committee was to deal with parking. His idea, having been on the Transportation Commission and going through the entire Transportation System Plan (TSP) process, subsequent to that which was 2 years, it was adopted minus the downtown part which was deferred to this committee. If there are members of this committee who thought this was really about parking and then thought the parking portion would be handed off and move on, he has no problem with that in isolation. What it does is leave this committee in charge of the actual transportation elements when a number of people on this committee don’t have the institutional history, nor the transportation expertise.
 
Fields said he is fine with never making a decision. He has been working on this for 35 years. Elevating the complexity beyond parking never allows you to do anything and what happens is, it just sits there and you get more consultants. He doesn’t see why you can’t just put a bike lane in on the right lane and make it clear that it’s a bike lane with striping. For about $20,000 you could probably make a pretty workable bike lane through downtown. Changing the width and elevations of sidewalks means paving, which if we are going to touch the paving we need all new storm/sewer lines, and a bunch of electrical work needs to be done. The current estimate could be 5-6 million but to do it correctly it is probably closer to 10 million. We have 20 million worth of paving around town that has been neglected so he is trying to simplify. He would like to start making some decisions. He thinks there is some low hanging fruit that we could be moving forward on. He would support this motion and at least move something forward, then figure out what their scope of work is in regards to the TSP.
 
Dawkins said he agrees with a lot of what Donovan and Fields have said. From the beginning, he has seen this committee as another stab at trying to do a downtown plan because as we’ve noticed, the sidewalks are deteriorating, we have unhealthy trees etc. There are a lot of things that need to be done and because we took this from the TSP this needs to be finished, even if it takes 10 years.
 
Marsh said as the Council liaison she is really an observer and mostly tries to stay out of the conversation. Since she has been brought into the conversation by the Chair she would appreciate the opportunity to explain what Young was referring to. She said a couple of meetings ago she was listening to Graf comment on how much detail about transportation was not in the draft report, because the draft was really a conveyance of the discussion on parking. As she sat there she thought it would be great to get all of that parking stuff out of the report and then see what is left and what still needed to be put into the document in order to make it a sound, substantive document. She thought maybe it would be a great way to move the conversation forward. She did send an email to Faught and copied Young and Slattery, just to pass on an observation from the sidelines. She added there was a little bit of an implication that this was an attempt to implicate the process and that was never the intent.
 
Donovan said her motion was triggered more by Fields when he mentioned it several meetings ago. She said she wasn’t a part of the email mentioned and actually doesn’t know anything about this email.
 
Young said this motion reminds him of the motion that was made during the TSP process, which was to kick the can down the road. What he fears is that what this committee has done a very good job of looking at parking. In his experience of 22 years of working on this issue, it’s always been about parking and as soon as it gets to other modes of transportation it gets shut down and we never move the ball forward. His fear is, the can got kicked down the road in 2012 and we are now to 2016 and are cutting out the parking portion and then we are submitting ourselves to an urban re-design study. Whereas, repeatedly he has mentioned that the road diet was done as a pilot program and was monitored, studied and modified with an open mind and open heart, He fully supports the urban re-design but in the meantime we could do a pilot to test it out (striping, painting, parking) while working out the details.
 
Beam echoed some of the comments that were made and she thinks it would be exciting to move this piece of the plan forward, let Council take a look at it and let the public have an opportunity to interface with the Council. That would give the committee the space to work on other elements of our downtown that need a lot of help. She doesn’t think there is ever anyway to parse the two completely because it is complex and one requires the other, but their ability to push and move forward keeps getting sidelined.
 
Graf said it’s important the committee doesn’t think the work is over just because they have moved the parking forward. There’s a lot of really important work to do to improve our downtown in a number of ways that will benefit all citizens of Ashland. He said if we all understand that, then that takes his concern away.
 
Slattery asked for clarification on whether the intent is that before this goes to Council there would be a public process. Faught said the committee would have a public process similar to the water/sewer master plan process. He will bring that information back to a future meeting so the committee can understand the process. Graf asked if this is going to be an addendum to the TSP and if that is so, will that go to the Transportation and Planning Commissions. Faught said he would need to check with Molnar on that but he doesn’t think the parking piece would need to go through them.
 
Faught asked the committee if they would like to take a break on meeting during the summer. The consensus from the committee was that they would rather continue meeting especially since this meeting was cut so short due to the amount of public comment and the fact that if they take a break it takes longer to get back into the swing of things.
 
Slattery said she would like to have some thought and conversation on that because we weren’t able to get to the meat of the agenda until after 5:00 pm and that makes it difficult to get the work done which is causing burnout and frustration. We need to find a way to let people have access to sharing their thoughts/concerns without taking up the entire meeting. Faught said one of the things that he promised the group is that we are going to set up a page on the city’s website to share questions/answers and data. Slattery said we need to manage the time better in future meetings.
 
NEXT STEPS
The next meeting will be held on July 6, 2016 at 3:30 p.m.
 
ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 5:40 pm
Respectfully submitted,
Tami De Mille-Campos, Administrative Supervisor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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