ASHLAND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
June 23, 2016
CALL TO ORDER
Graf called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.
Commissioners Present: Dominic Barth, Joe Graf, David Young, Corinne Viéville, and Sue Newberry
Commissioners Absent: Alan Bender and Danielle Amarotico
Council Liaison Present: Stef Seffinger
SOU Liaison Absent: Janelle Wilson
Staff Present: Scott Fleury, Kyndra Irigoyen, and Mike Faught
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Approval of May 26, 2016 minutes
The minutes were approved as amended.
ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Bicycle Education Training
Rachel Dials, the Recreation Superintendent for Ashland Parks and Recreation, and Egon Dubois, the bicycle safety instructor gave a presentation. Each year Ashland Parks and Recreation (APR) uses funds generated from the Ashland Community Bike Swap to fund the Bicycle Safety Education Program within Ashland schools. APR assumed the role of the program after the BCA discontinued the program in 2012. The estimated program costs are $8,400, which includes instructor time, teaching, and maintenance of bike fleet. During the 2015-16 school year the bicycle safety program was taught at Helman Elementary, Walker Elementary and John Muir Elementary to fourth and fifth grade students, with 10 classes and 284 students total. The bike swap netted about $8,000, which is almost double from the year before. This is due to there being more bikes donated this year and the volunteers who fixed the bikes before the bike swap. Dials said this year they are asking for a contribution of $500 from the Transportation Commission to help offset the costs and for the funds to be distributed before the end of the school year, which is June 30, 2016.
Faught asked how many hours the volunteers spent putting the bikes together. Dubois said in excess of 200 hours. Faught said these people spend a lot of time doing the bike education and generating money for the program. Dials said they receive donated bikes from the public, but also from police departments in the area including Ashland, Medford, and Central Point.
Barth asked why Bellview Elementary is not part of the program. Dubois said they ceased to participate three years ago. He said every year he reaches out to them to participate, but the teachers told him their school has had some difficulties meeting scholastic requirements and they were instructed not to schedule any extracurricular activities until the performance improves. They have politely declined each year. Barth asked if there is a different way to pursue Bellview and ask them to reevaluate. Dubois said he is open to any suggestion. He typically discusses this with the fourth and fifth grade teachers and the principal is supportive to the best of his knowledge, he is not certain who made the decision not to participate. Barth said he believes it is administrative, not the parents’ choice.
Newberry asked how many hours they spend on the bike, is it done during the P.E. class, and how long is the program. Dubois said the program is two weeks long, ten days, and 45 minutes a day, with the exception of the first two days, which they spend in the classroom for theoretical instruction, but the rest of the time, is on the bicycles. The first couple of days on the bicycles they spend on the school grounds and then outside of the school grounds. The children learn the rules of the road, how to signal, how to make eye contact with drivers, when it is safe to enter an intersection, and what to do in every situation. Dubois said they manage a fleet of approximately 40 bikes and bring them to the schools.
Viéville asked if the commission could recommend that all the schools participate in this program by going out to the schools and voicing support of this. Dials said they are always looking for advocates and going into the next fiscal year they have a certain amount they have budgeted for the program.
Viéville asked if this is something, the commission could write a letter supporting. Faught said the commission could make a motion for the chair to sign a letter supporting all of the schools participation.
Viéville m/s Newberry that the chair of the Ashland Transportation Commission sign a letter in support of recommending that all schools participate in the bicycle safety education training program.
All in favor.
Graf said he spoke to Faught about this funding and Faught assured him that the Transportation Commission does not have a budget therefore it is really Public Works that makes the decision to make up the difference in the funding. Graf said he always thought they had a budget but Faught said they did not.
Faught clarified that commissions do not have money; they do not have budgets. He said that Public Works has discretionary money that he can take out of that line item, if we thought it was a legitimate expense. For example, if the commission wanted to go to a class we would see how much money is available and we would fund it or not fund it. His recommendation is that the bicycle training program folks should come in every year to the commission to give an update, but this funding could have been approved at a staff level when it was submitted two weeks ago. There is not discretionary money for commissions, there is money allotted for types of activities that we can spend to assist the commission in their duties and work.
Graf said the commission supports this program and wants to fund it. He thinks there was some question whether the commission had recommended funding in perpetuity or for several years. Faught said staff thinks this is a great program and is in favor of it as well.
Young said to check the minutes, he believes he recommended this last year that we make this a line item and he believes that Faught had a reason not to do that. Viéville said she remembers that too, that we recommended this on a permanent basis. Young said that every year he has been on the commission it has been characterized as a commission budget and there is an allotment that Council used to authorize of $3500 per year. It has never been a question of whether the commission had a budget so this is news today. Seffinger said she does not know of any commission that has a budget. She thinks the problem with perpetuity budgets is that the budget committee is the one that looks at the budget in the biennium and decides how much money there is in the City and how much will be allotted to the different departments. The departments then have to decide, based on how much money they have been allotted.
Barth read last year’s minutes:
Graf asked if this was for the current biennium or the next biennium. They are requesting it for the current biennium and Fleury said he thinks he can make that happen. He added the commission has two budget lines. One was the $2,000 line item from the bicycle/pedestrian commission and the transportation/traffic safety commission had a line Transportation Commission June25, 2015 Page 3 of 6 item of $3,000 so combined the Transportation commission has $5,000 per year which comes from the Street fund. Graf asked how much has been spent so far and Scott replied $3,000… (Transportation Commission Minutes, June 25, 2015)
Faught said there is money in the budget to do these activities. However, this is not the commission’s money. He said that Councilor Seffinger said it very well because every year when we put our budgets together there is a limit on how much money we can budget. We can work together on how to fund this long term, but he thinks the authority to give them money should rest with staff because we are already in support. There are priorities that change and that changes how much money we have available each year.
Young said this is another question of what power does the commission have. This is a minor thing and for close to 20 years since he has been involved it has been at the discretion of the commission to decide where the money is spent. Now anytime the commission wants to spend money it has to go through Faught for approval. Faught said there is an ordinance that covers what the authorities are for the Transportation Commission, which does not include budget authority. There is also a separate ordinance that drives the administrative part and we were told with clarity that commissions do not have funds. We cannot assign budgets to commissions. If there is a project the commission wants to do, the staff will try to find the money to do that.
Seffinger said that all of the commissions try to provide input to the budget committee and Council. What is difficult is that Council does not have the final decisions on how to spend the money, the budget committee does. The budget committee is made up of seven citizen members and six council members. We have had a yearly budget up to the last biennium; the amount of money is going to be different for every budget cycle.
Young said it is not that simple with this commission. This commission has a special rule where they do not advise the Council, they advise the Public Works Director. Anything they do is filtered through him, unlike other commissions. Somehow, all the decisions that are made have to go through Faught before they go to Council and oftentimes they do not. Every single time they have to get approval to spend on money on anything. He said he is not clear in anyway if it will result in the same benefit for the mission of the commission that is has historically.
Viéville said she remembers that we made this a permanent line item, so they would not have to come back every year and beg for money. Graf said we did not do it last year. Viéville said she knows that we have discussed it. Faught said we have had this discussion, but again we cannot obligate future budget committees to any particular dollar amount.
Dials said from the Ashland Parks and Recreation perspective, they appreciate coming back every year and talking about the program. This year they doubled the amount of money that was netted for the event. She said she thinks it is a good opportunity to come and tell the commission about the program. Faught said he is not suggesting they do not come back, but as for the financial part, staff could have just taken care of it.
Graf asked whether a motion was needed. Faught said at this point we do not need a motion. Graf said we are all in favor of supporting this program. Faught said staff will allot the $500 for the program.
Young m/s Viéville that we recommend $500 to the bicycle and safety education program this year.
Graf asked if the program costs $8,400 and they have $8,000 in hand, why are you asking for $500. Dials said the $8,400 was an estimate. Graf asked what happens if they do not receive all the money. Dials said they still intend on continuing the program.
All in favor.
John Peterson, Street Maintenance Supervisor, said that during the winter he has an eight-man crew, which is limited. It is hard to fit code enforcement in. In 20 years, we have only cited two people. Right now we have a seasonal worker who will start going door to door this Friday to talk to people who are out of compliance. We are not required to notify people when they are out of compliance, it is a city ordinance, and people have been notified by flyers in their bills that clearly explain what they need to be doing. It is something as residents that we should know is our responsibility. When we have the manpower to go door to door we do it but usually it is on a complaint driven basis. The new employee will be here for approximately six months to work on this issue. Faught asked how they prioritize the work he/she does. Peterson said they will be handled as the calls come in. For example, when we get a complaint that vegetation is growing over the sidewalk on Tolman Cr. Rd. he will dispatch staff to go out there, not to do just this one part; he will have them go all the way to Clay St. and Siskiyou, and Ashland St. We will hit everything in that area and move on to the next complaint. They will not go to collectors and arterials first they will base it upon priority.
Newberry asked if they see that a house is out of compliance, do they leave a door hanger or do you keep going back? Peterson said they have a flyer that has a diagram, which has a scale that goes 12 ft. by 12 ft. it shows an exact diagram of what is required to bring it into compliance. He said they leave a copy of the ordinance and contact information for anyone who has questions.
Young thanked Peterson for doing what he can with what he has. It is something where we build infrastructure and we build sidewalks that are 3-4 ft. wide and then people landscape the front of their homes and effectively make that sidewalk 2 ft. wide. He said this is infrastructure that we tax payers pay for to provide a safe, ADA approved pedestrian access in wheel chairs. There are mailboxes in the middle of sidewalks, people laying free stuff out in the middle of the sidewalk, branches sticking out. His suggestion is that we need to start a campaign. This should be a priority. Many people would choose to walk if it were safer. He feels the sreets that have the most pedestrians accessing them should be prioritized first and then work your way down from there. The arterials and collectors strategy would fall into that category. There needs to be some prioritization with limited resources rather than waiting randomly for something to come up. Certain corridors, Oak St. area, above the boulevard, the routes to school on Helman St. should be no brainers, done every year, proactively, down to the edge of the sidewalk.
Peterson said that Oak St. was just done less than a month ago. Once they get the notice, we try to go back every 30 days and if they have not done anything, they get a 10-day notice, and if it still hasn’t been done in 10 days, they send an officer to the residence. Young said there are multiple places where the brush is 8 ft. high and nothing has been done. He thinks this should be a priority and has brought this to the commission for several months. This problem is in our charter to deal with. Short of saying, we recommend to council if we have that ability, that we get a code enforcement person or start an education program where the flyer is put into every single bill, one cycle, with a follow up with some program. Peterson said he thinks that flyer goes out about every three months and we have been doing that for at least six years. Peterson said he gets a list as soon as these things come in and as soon as he can send people out, he does. If there is a vision clearance complaint that is more important that a vegetation issue on the sidewalk because it could lead to car accidents or someone hitting someone in a crosswalk. He is open to suggestions for prioritizing this issue.
Faught said if the commission wants to recommend at the next biennium budget to submit a request for additional staff for code enforcement we will submit that at their request.
Newberry said she has worked on things like this before as a community advocate. One of the best ways for the public to understand the issue is to go out with someone who is visually impaired or using a wheelchair and get some news coverage for it. We have a town paper here and if they put something personal on the front-page, get somebody with a stroller who cannot push it on sidewalk and has to push it out onto the street. She said she has done this before with teddy bears in the stroller. People do not really understand the problem; many people do not walk so they are oblivious to the problem. In addition, AmericaWalks sent an email with a new app for pedestrians to report things that are not working, whether it be a signal not working or it could be something like code enforcement. She encourages the City to look into something like that because we have very engaged citizens here, if the City is prepared to receive that information and do something with it. She thinks more people would be compliant if they understood the personal aspect of it.
Faught said that is a great idea to use media coverage. It is a staffing issue though, we cannot monitor it as heavily as we would like to and if the commission would like to recommend that we hire another person, we will include that in the next biennium request. Peterson said it would take a full time staff person to do all the vegetation maintenance and it would take a full year to get it done. The vegetation issue is everywhere and it is overwhelming; this person would be very busy all year long.
Young said this goes beyond one person, there has to be enforcement and citations. Peterson said after the 30-day and 10-day periods pass we send an officer out. Young said where you prioritize is where you have sidewalks. He would be glad to sit down with Peterson to strategize on how to prioritize this.
Barth asked if a grant was available to get this, all done at once and then we could possibly have a maintenance person go around once a year to keep up with it. Is there anything that encourages the City to make a safe and comfortable place for pedestrians and disabled people? He asked if there is anything broad, that is similar to ‘Tree City’ or ‘Bike City’ for this issue. Faught said there is not a grant we are aware of that would specifically take care of vegetation issues. This problem needs to be managed annually and we have to work with our residents and be interactive. He thinks trying some of these other ideas before jumping to hiring a new staff member is the way to go.
Viéville thinks we need to do both because it would take a year to get a new staff member. Faught said we would not recommend it until the budget process starts in March, which would not be effective until July.
Young said we should do a test street. We could work with the neighborhood, warn them to get their stuff done ahead of time, this street would get a buzz cut. This would show what a street looks like up to standard. Barth said this would encourage pedestrian use. Young said this would bring awareness and would provide a template for the standards. Peterson said we had some vison clearance issues in Quiet Village, we sent out notices, and about 90-95% is completed.
Faught said he would like to point out that Peterson does not just get calls about vegetation issues, but also for potholes, dead deer, and street maintenance, which is his primary focus. He also has to deliver all the work and preparation for the slurry seal program. His crews have to get all the painting done every year too.
Graf said he is sensing the Transportation Commission does not really have a plan.
Young m/s Viéville this commission embark on a campaign to open up existing right-of-way on all sidewalks.
Young asked if this is a priority for this commission or not. Are we going to look like we are supportive, but you are overworked and do not have enough staff. This will involve some energy to get going and he is willing to be part of that. Newberry asked what real commitment looks like to Young. Young said that we name a program, establish goals, make requests, and have a timeline for tasks. Newberry said she would make a commitment to go out this month and look. She has worked with communities who already have programs like this in place. She said she would find all the information she can and get it over to Peterson. Peterson said he welcomes that and invites anyone for a ride along to see a few things.
Faught said maybe staff could work on a program and bring it back to the commission. Newberry said it is very important because it is an investment we have already made. She said we have to invest in code enforcement, we would not allow this to happen on paved streets, but we allow it to happen on sidewalks because we are not walking on them all the time. Viéville asked why they could not start a campaign on their own. Young said he thinks Viéville’s point is that we have the capability of sitting down in a subcommittee or informally with a few people to discuss what it might look like, or do it as a full commission at the next meeting. He said his motion is intended for this commission. Faught said he was talking about the offer we have from Newberry to go out and give us advice about media. He said he was not trying to develop this program as he was speaking. Newberry has offered to help Peterson with some ideas, let us formulate a program based on Peterson’s years of experience and make recommendations, and develop this program together. Graf said we still have a motion on the floor. We have some commissioners who are passionate about this issue. If we have commissioners work with Peterson to work on this to put something together, it makes a lot of sense to him. Graf said two or three commissioners could meet with staff to discuss this plan and would not require a quorum. Barth said this sounds reasonable considering any financial issues could be brought into discussion at the start by staff, rather than come up with an idea, so at least we know a rough timeframe.
Seffinger said it sounds like there are two different things being discussed, talking about maintenance of vegetation that is already there and blocking sidewalks with things. She does not think people think about the impact of that part of it to somebody who has a visual handicap or in a wheelchair. She thinks it is an excellent idea to do some kind of awareness program on that part of it. For the vegetation part, it makes sense to have the commission involved with staff to develop a program, and then you would know the cost of the program. Contacting the Tidings or having something on the City website about ‘have you thought about what it would be like to be handicapped in any way and have to walk on the sidewalk’.
Barth asked if we could amend the motion to specify this is a cooperative venture with selected commissioners and staff. We need to be specific as possible; we do a lot of these vague. Young does not accept the friendly amendment.
Yes: Young, Graf, Newberry, Viéville
Viéville m/s Young to have a subcommittee of this commission to present something to the next meeting or in a certain amount of time.
Viéville said we need to get started somehow. Young said he agrees but if we form a subcommittee, we will need city staff to be present and to take minutes, which creates a much bigger deal. As long as we do not violate public meeting laws, three of us could meet with Peterson on this issue.
Viéville and Young rescind their motion.
Viéville said they will have a working group, not a subcommittee.
Newberry said she would like to do some research and then send it to Young and Viéville and then get together before they meet with Peterson. Graf asked if the goal would be to report back at the next meeting. Newberry said at a minimum. Graf said as a reminder, the working group would have to communicate through staff. Faught said Newberry must email her research to staff, who then can email it out to other commissioners.
Traffic Growth Management Grant Application
Fleury said we got it all together, presented it to the Council, and the Council approved to submit. He thinks we will hear back in August or September and then if we do receive the grant, we will be up and running by March.
Grandview Shared Road
Faught said what we did differently is that we had the neighborhood meeting outlining the details of the project before we brought it to the regular meeting for public forum discussion. About 50 people showed up and the meeting was very interactive. There was angst about the guardrail being installed un-permitted. The attorney wrote up a very clear explanation as to why the guardrail has remained in place, which we will include in the next packet. Staff came up with some design drawings and shared with the group. He asked the group how many would be in support of the shared road project and the majority said they would support it by raising their hand. Four or five people said they would not support it, but that had to do more with the guardrail. Graf said he thought it was a very good meeting. Faught said we have all the questions and we have been meeting to get them answered to have the website for additional background information. At the Council meeting last night four or five people still said they were not in favor of the project without some modifications. He thinks we should do this format every time with projects like this before we have the formal process. We are moving this conversation to July 19th with the City Council. Graf said his impression was that the people, who were opposed to the project, were the people who were opposed to the guardrail. Faught said they are scheduling a site visit with Council to go see the guardrail on Grandview.
Young said on some level they approved the shared road status during the TSP process. This should be a deal breaker, this is a neighborhood collector and this is not what the spirit of the concept of a shared road is. He asked if it was already designated as a shared road and if we could un-designate it. Faught said it is already designated as a shared road in the TSP. He said shared roads are effective up to 1500 average daily trips (ADT). Currently there is 580 ADT on Grandview. The recommendation came from our transportation engineer consultant after looking at it to see if it would still operate effectively; it was engineered in terms of the recommendation. In 2010, the commission was petitioned by residents of Grandview to construct a sidewalk. It has been used as a shared road in the past because people are walking up and down the road. This was a very conscious effort to have this added in the TSP to be shared road. Young said he thinks it would be useful as a commission to go visit the road.
Barth said he has been on Grandview a few times and the traffic he has encountered has been infrequent, but it has been vigorous, it has been fast. He is not sure the volume meets what is designated as a collector. Young said he is not suggesting we call it a collector, but it has a specialness to it. He is watching standards created for shared roads, which are very different from what we discussed. He thinks it warrants rethinking, in the morning and afternoon there is a lot of traffic.
Faught said the only way the speed limit can be reduced below 25 MPH is to have a shared road designation or petition ODOT. As it is now, there is little refuge on the sides, even before the guardrail was there. The shared road will give us 5 ft. of refuge on either side for all modes of transportation, even with cars on the road. Due to the topography, it will never be cost effective to be built to City standard, which was the whole concept of shared roads when we talked about. Where we are challenged with topography this is a great concept and every road that is selected for shared road status met that criteria. Since you will never have enough width to build the road, this is a viable option to what is currently happening where people are walking in the road with limited places to get out of the way. This will be safer for pedestrians and bikes for when cars come through.
Newberry said gravel has been previously mentioned. Faught said granitic material will be used on the sides. Newberry asked if the street will be striped. Faught said no, this will not be striped because it gives ownership to the people driving in that lane and they tend to speed up. We want this to be shared facility so people go slower and automated reader speed signs. He said he had a bicyclist call and say he could not go 15 MPH down this road. Faught said it was a chance to educate the bicyclist that he could receive a ticket for speeding. Faught said a shared road is a better option for everyone.
Viéville asked if the street will be striped. Faught said no, just the stripes on the edge of the road, the fog stripe. Newberry said the effect of this is that it makes the road look narrower than it really is. Faught said this slows people down.
Viéville asked if the potholes will be maintained on the sides. Faught said it will be maintained but we not anticipating a lot of problems with the granitic material because it packs down so tight.
FOLLOW UP ITEMS
Downtown Parking and Multi Modal Circulation Study Update-Improvement Projects
Faught said the committee has endorsed the parking portion of the plan some time ago, which was outlined by Rick Williams. At the last meeting, the committee voted to hold off on the multi-modal piece and decided to get an urban designer consultant. Some of the multi-modal ideas we have reduces the three lane to two lane and creates some additional right of way. What they want to do next is to have an urban design consultant come in and start talking about what it might look like before they complete the multi-modal portion. They did not want to hold off on the parking portion, so they voted to move the parking portion to Council, but not until there is public input on it. In early October, we will probably have some public input on this and tweak it if it needs to be tweaked. When we receive all the feedback, the committee will then send the parking portion to Council for approval, separate from the multi-modal piece.
Faught said he spoke with urban designer, John Fregonese who actually used to work for the City of Ashland as the Planning Director. He has the same level of expertise and interaction with folks as Rick Williams. He is well respected in the industry. Faught said he offered the committee to take the summer off from meetings, because they were feeling strained, but the committee did not want to do that, they want to get this moving.
Graf said the parking is a strategy; it is not really a plan yet. It has not created or destroyed any parking places. So it is a plan how we would go about analyzing the parking situation and solving the problem in a step-wise fashion, with a lot of input and another committee. Faught said it recommends hiring staff, at least one, half-time staff that works on this downtown parking strategies all the time. It clearly shows in the strategy, if the parking is used at 85% or above, you need to take action, and the actions are listed. Based on the research that was done we currently are over 85%.
Barth said he was interested in a comment that John Fields had made, he wondered what would happen if you did do a test of the bike lane through downtown. He fully appreciates the multi-modal broad ideas going on and he thinks it is really important and asked what Faught’s response was to this idea. Faught said this will be an agenda item at the next meeting because it has come up a couple of times. He said he believes he has been clear about this throughout the process that a pilot project does not work in the downtown. The reason it does not work is, N. Main was simple, we could do pilot out there because there were not major impacts, we were not going to rebuild anything. The difference with the downtown, for this to work, is you have to create the truck parking and get the trucks out of the way, to do the bike lane, you are still losing a lane. The truck issue has to be solved in order for this to work. The other piece is that by cutting the lane off, where it comes out by City Hall, it no longer has the ability to drive straight through, so all this traffic will be put onto Oak St. This means there needs to be a traffic signal at Oak St. and a traffic signal at Lithia, we would also need to remove the traffic signal at Helman. So it is not just a matter of painting a bike lane, it is not that simple. He said at the next meeting he will be walking through step by step as to why a pilot cannot be done.
Seffinger said Council has received many concerns about reducing parking spaces, concerns about the fact that there are many offsite lots that cannot be used. The Elks said their lot could not be used, for example. There are employees that feel an analysis was not done of the fact that our city is very different from other cities, in that a lot of the employees work during evening hours, so having a parking lot that is far away from the downtown is a concern for some of the employees. They have also received a number of complaints about raising the parking fee.
Young said these concerns have also come to the Downtown Committee. He said it has been made clear that there is no intent to reduce the number of parking spaces downtown for this to work. Seffinger said another concern they have been hearing is from neighborhoods. For example, Alison St has said they feel that they do not want their streets to be used for additional parking that may be needed.
Graf said he is not sure the committee has had an explicit vote to do urban planning, but that is what everyone has been wanting to do and looking at. The majority of the committee is thinking about the bigger picture, not just the two lane to three lane, which we in transportation tend to look at more. It will be interesting to see what happens when they have someone to come in and look at the big picture. It goes from a bike lane to a $6 million project and he keeps saying he does not want it to look like a $6 million bike lane, because it is much more than that when the redesign is done. If the redesign is done right, many of the issues are taken away, because it does not matter if you have great parking if you cannot walk to it because it is too dangerous and too hard to get there. You have to figure out how people are going to get to the various places and at the same time, you do not want employees parking eight hours a day in front of a business. Also, OSF patrons and others who need to park for more than two hours and have to find a place. There is a lot of juggling that has to go on to make this work and in the end a lot of people are not going to like it.
Young said with anything it all depends on what assumptions you make when forming your opinion. He said he will just state that this whole thing that Faught says the committee decided to go with an urban designer was a strategy between Pam Marsh and the Chamber. He said she sent an email to Faught directly and copied the Director of the Chamber, and himself suggesting that we tear off the parking part because it is done and send it off to Council and look at the multi-modal thing separately. People got way off on this. He said Faught brought in a consultant who showed pictures of the disruption of the downtown and they were all thinking that the City and in front of their business would be rubble. The recommendation was to spin off the parking and deal with the multi-modal, but the urban redesign thing separately with this committee. He felt that was being somewhat disrespectful to the process, that this is what we differed for years in the TSP. He said that Marsh sent the email and he responded, then immediately there was this brouhaha, when all he was saying that he disagrees in splitting the parking off from the rest of the thing. He said we are here to do a transportation element for the downtown; he has been reminding the committee the whole time that we have a marker that we had the downtown portion. And that Marsh for years made the vote that we kick the can down the road to this committee. She was chair of the planning commission at the time and now she is making a motion that we kick the can down the road with the multi-modal, again because now we want to convene a new process of urban design. Then all of a sudden, there was some interactions, where he and Faught talked about it. Shortly after that, he was informed that there is a committee of Marsh, Sandra Slattery, and someone else who is very well placed but not in city government, who have been working on this idea for an urban landscape professional to do this and start this process over. Their meetings are not bound to public meeting laws. At the last public Downtown Committee meeting, the motion came up, first in the public comment. A person got up and said we really need a professional urban designer; she was a landscape designer, and one of the parties involved in this behind scenes stuff. She made that comment at the public forum and then Marie Donovan, the president of the Chamber board, made a motion to separate the parking part of this from the downtown plan. There was no descend from anyone, but me, and now we have this new thing. Now it is an assumption we are going to an urban designer. This is a strategy that people have been working on and it is not spontaneous. He feels there are things going on behind the scenes. The rest of the 19,000 citizens are not involved in these back door processes that may result in big tax payer dollars, including Grandview, where an initial mistake is made, and now the tax payers are baring this bill for something they had no input on. You also have the East Nevada Street Bridge, you have all this stuff, and this is another one. It has been completely orchestrated by Faught and the chamber.
Seffinger said, as a Council member, she does not know what Young is talking about. Young said he knows she does not know because it does not involve Council, it involves the Chamber.
Faught said, given what was said here tonight, he will invite Marsh to come talk to the commission about what really transpired from her perspective. He said that Young said the same thing at the Downtown Meeting. Marsh got up because she needed to clarify that comment Young made at the meeting. Faught said he is paraphrasing the email that was sent, it said that Marsh was providing you with feedback from somebody sitting in the stands who is watching. Marsh clarified that she only offered this as someone who was sitting in the audience and making a recommendation. He said that Marsh has been sitting in the audience for some time, even though she is a member of the commission, she has been watching and interacting. When she first started, she was providing a lot of feedback. She was very clear at the meeting that she had just offered some suggestions. Faught said he would like Marsh to come to the commission to clarify because Young has made some clear accusations. The other thing Young thinks he heard at the meeting was that Marie Donovan also said something, but Faught said he does not know what Young is referring to because Donovan did not get a copy of the email. The email was copied to Young, himself, and Sandra Slattery, suggesting an idea. He thinks it is interesting how Young thinks there are secret meetings and motions. He said since Young has made these accusations he would like give Marsh the opportunity to clear it up, as she already did at the last meeting. Faught said she is not here to defend herself, but give her the opportunity to clarify.
Vieville said she is confused, if it is just a parking strategy how can it be broken off. Faught said it would be best to bring the document and walk through the whole thing and the strategies. The strategies are lined out so that if one does not work, you move to the next one. Some of the strategies include paid parking stalls. They are all outlined to try one thing first. We need to have an ongoing committee that focuses on parking all the time. One of the strategies measures where we are every year. We have good data, but we need to gather it each year, everything is data driven. He thinks that Rick Williams did some stellar work.
Graf said the report was always going to be two parts. One part was parking and one part was multi-modal at least that is the way it evolved. The committee wanted to peel off the parking part, which had already been approved by the committee and move that forward to Council, and then continue working on the other piece.
Newberry asked to put her favorite wording in there about public involvement. Faught said he thinks this urban planner will really understand the dynamics in Ashland.
Barth said he is not understanding what is meant by ‘spinning off parking’ does that include truck spaces and loading zones. Faught said no, parking is separate from what we need to do from three lane to two lane. Those parking spots have to be found in addition to the additional parking needs we have within the community. We are displacing, which means we have to find those 18 parking spots.
Faught said he would bring the scope to the committee for the urban planner.
Newberry said in her opinion urban design is multi-modal transportation (landscaping, considering storefronts, identifying different neighborhoods through features that might be on the streets). She said she sees urban planning being the big picture, not separating out things. Young said he thinks we all share that on this commission, but that is not the assumption by many people in the public.
Hillview Speed and Volume Analysis
Moved to next meeting.
Nevada Bridge Connection Project
Faught asked to set up a separate neighborhood meeting before we come back to the commission. Barth said he is still amazed at the amount of money missing from this project, so is it premature to be doing the public meetings. Faught said it is not the funding that is the question. He said if we get community support, Al Densmore will find us the money. Graf said is there any reason to have a meeting before some of the questions are answered; how much is it going to cost to do all the things the citizens want to do. Faught said he want to talk to the neighborhood about the options asked for. We are trying to get estimates for a pedestrian/emergency access bridge.
Newberry said she thinks a public meeting is a good idea, people need to be heard. Faught said the neighborhood residents would be notified. The meeting will probably be in September.
Exit 14 Bicycle Signal Memo-ODOT
Making and Impact Newsletter (June)
COMMISSION OPEN DISCUSSION
FUTURE AGENDA TOPICS
TSP update process
Bicycle Education Funding-Parks Department
Meeting was adjourned at 8:31 p.m.
Public Works Administrative Assistant