ASHLAND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
CALL TO ORDER
September 22, 2016
Graf called the meeting to order at 6:04 pm
Joe Graf, Corinne Viéville, Alan Bender, Danielle Amarotico, and Dominic Barth
David Young and Sue Newberry
Council Liaison Absent:
SOU Liaison Absent:
Scott Fleury, Kyndra Irigoyen, and Steve Mac Lennan
Graf cannot attend mayor’s brown bag lunch this month. Barth said he will attend.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Approval of July 28, 2016 minutes
The minutes were approved as amended.
ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Rachel Gibbs 795 Faith Ave and Kat Smith 770 Faith Ave
Smith introduced herself as the face behind the Intersection Repair project. She said they are committed to this project whether the commission takes this on as an action item or another commission. There are four women on this project, Sarah Kreisman and Barbara Massey could not attend tonight. She said some key points to consider about this project are when they came together to discuss this, some other ideas came up about the electrical boxes around town. They are blank, empty canvases and see it as a way to build community and beautify the neighborhood. She said there was opposition to artwork under the bridge in downtown Ashland, but everyone changed their tune after they saw the artwork. She sent an email with links with other projects from Portland. Chris Raisman with the Portland Bureau of Transportation has offered his assistance in answering questions pertaining to this project. Gibbs introduced herself and said she did an intersection art project in a Portland neighborhood. Graf asked if they have spoken to the Art Commission yet. Smith said they had not yet, they wanted to start with the Transportation Commission. Bender asked how the project would be funded. Smith said in Portland, Intersection Repair helps to fund the project, but for Ashland they are looking at grant funding opportunities. Gibbs said there are different organizations who help donate supplies. Viéville asked who would do the painting. Gibbs said they would receive 80% agreement from the neighbors in the area of the proposed artwork. She said the day of the project in Portland, it was just neighbors walking by, they had a volunteer signup sheet, they had a block party permit to close the street, the neighborhood came together to paint. Viéville asked if the paint stays or if it has to be redone. Smith said it does periodically have to be redone and it varies on how busy the intersection is but Chris Raisman could answer the question better. Bender asked if this contributes to traffic calming or if it causes too much distraction. Smith said there is a blip in traffic calming for about two weeks and then it returns to normal. She said they celebrated their third annual Faith Block Party where they get together as a neighborhood to BBQ, do face painting, and chalk art. As a community neighborhood, they already know how to work together and bring people together.
Susan Hall 210 E Nevada
Read from her attached letter.
Marty Breon 295 E Nevada
She requests that future information gathering be done in an open and transparent way. She is concerned about private meetings because they lack protocol and minutes. If the meetings continue as private meetings she urges one of the commissioners to attend the meeting and also to have neighborhood opposers also attend the neighborhood meeting.
Spike Breon 295 E Nevada
He said the commission has been bombarded with emails the last few days and he hopes that the commissioners have deduced from that rationale for an automobile bridge over Bear Creek at E Nevada has dissipated to the point of disappearing. He wants to the urge the Transportation Commission to recommend to the City Council that the automobile bridge over Bear Creek at E Nevada be eliminated from the upcoming transportation system plan update.
Bill Hernon 235 E Nevada
He said his neighborhood is requesting the following:
• Change the City Council’s current official designation for the downtown bypass from E Nevada to Hersey
• No vehicular bridge over Bear Creek off of E Nevada in the TSP or comprehensive plan
• Reclassify E Nevada’s current status as an Avenue or collector street to a neighborhood street
• Ensure residents of impacted neighborhoods receive adequate notice to attend meetings for public input in updating the TSP and comprehensive plan
• A bike/pedestrian bridge may be acceptable if the neighbors support it
Richard Kinsinger 591 Nandina St
He said he lives in Mountain Meadows and submitted a petition which concerns the intersection of Fair Oaks and N Mountain Ave. Residents of Mountain Meadows have to cross N Mountain. The problem with this intersection is that there is a significant incline with trees in the center median on both sides, the incline and trees obscure the intersection from approaching cars until they are fairly close to the intersection. Pedestrians who step off the curb at the intersection are not visible to cars. The other issue is the speed of the cars. Cars exiting the City are anticipating on being on a country road, cars coming in from the country road are not yet slowed down to 25 MPH. He is asking that the intersection be converted from a 2-way stop to a 4-way stop. Graf said the commission looked at this issue 3-4 years ago. Kinsinger said there were pedestrian crossing signs put on the Ashland approach to this intersection, one of those is visible and one is obscured behind trees but they do not seem to have a lot of affect.
Gabriel Lipper 923-1 Bellview Ave
He said he has lived here since 2000. The problem on Bellview Ave is that all of the neighborhood traffic flows down through Bellview and does not go through to Tolman Cr Road like it has been designed to. Bellview has become the thorough fair. There is a construction project on the lowest corner on Bellview offof Siskiyou that has gone through three to four owners during the development of the project. Initially there was discussion about redoing the sidewalks along the corner of Bellview from Siskiyou to Bellivew which some believed would slow traffic. The problem is that Siskiyou is 35 MPH but people tend to go 40-45 MPH and when they turn onto Bellview they accelerate. In over 16 years, he has lost four different cats due to traffic. He said they have had police do traffic calming tests, but traffic slows when police cars are present. He is looking to get results for traffic calming. He thinks a berm corner would be good. He said right now Ravenwood Construction is finishing their job there and initially it was agreed that this sidewalk would be dealt with. Graf asked if he is talking about traffic going up Bellview and turning right. Lipper said yes and going down.
Vegetation Maintenance Program
Fleury said the staff reports include links that Newberry tracked down. The conversations have been about doing public outreach, how to notify citizens of the rules, become more interactive etc. John Peterson has handled this primarily based on complaints, which could take upwards to 30 days to get resolved. He said we need a system that is easy for citizens to use but also easy for staff to use while collecting data from the complaints and be responsive to them. He spoke to the GIS department about a web app that can be used for citizens to upload a complaint from their smartphone or computer that is GPS based. Photos can be attached to these complaints. On the backend, the message will be routed to the right person. These complaints can extend further than complaints just about vegetation issues. It depends on what the Commission’s end goal is. Fleury said he will work with Rickey Fite from GIS to develop a demo to bring to the Commission to view. Graf said this sounds like a good idea. Barth said it sounds incredible. He asked how it would work for the unsighted. Fleury said he will find out. He said they would like to start small and then add more features to make it work. First, they are focused on the vegetation and vision clearance.
Graf said he would like to state for the record that Newberry is doing this as a private citizen volunteer and not as a representative of the Transportation Commission.
Bender said he finds it an issue for people who park vans near street corners. He asked what the laws are for this, in terms of parking a van in the first space. Fleury said there are vision clearance triangle designations for different intersection types and they range from 25 to 20 to 15 ft. back from the intersection itself, to be striped ‘no parking’. Within the vehicle code there is another designation that there shall be no parking within 20 ft. from a crosswalk. He said they have made a real effort to stripe and mark no parking zones over the past couple of seasons.
Viéville said she would be happy to work with whoever is designing the website so it is readable with a screen reader. Fleury said he would like to get Rickey Fite or Lea Richards here from GIS to show the Commission a draft and also have the commissioners test the website. Viéville said the Citizens Alert website has too many choices and drop downs which is too difficult for a screen reader.
Grandview Shared Road
Fleury said functionally we are trying to get the improvement done by the end of November which includes the conversion of the 4-way stop at Grandview and Skycrest. Barth asked for clarification on the word ‘interim’ that keeps being used. Fleury said essentially this is an interim, but an interim final. What has occurred that is different now, is that Susan Wright with Kittleson, a Traffic Engineer, worked on the TSP who was part of the shared road presentation and induction into the TSP, had a conversation with Faught and Kim Parducci on the shared road. A true shared road is not meant to be the whole length of the road, it is to only exist in certain spots based on the sight conditions of the roadway. We will still work with the 18 ft. boundary, but provide refuge along the roadway in certain cases. Wright said with the guardrail there, we should provide 3 ft. of refuge for the length of the guardrail for the safety of all modes. In that section, that is what we are looking for. The 3 ft., 18 ft., and then 3ft., on the inside. The lower section of Grandview, from Ditch Rd to Scenic, will be designed to that same kind of thing; if a guardrail is required because of the slope then the same cross section will be used. If a guardrail is not used, independent spots will be analyzed for refuge and step-offs out of the roadway. Looking to install the automated speed limit signs that warn you with actual speed and there will be a small retaining wall, 3 ft. high, adjacent to where the driveway is now because it is the narrowest point. Amarotico asked if staff is hoping to have the portion from Ditch Rd to around the curve completed by the end of November. Fleury said yes. He said the next thing is to finish the final design for the lower portion and have a public meeting for that. There are storm drainage issues we are currently working on. The storm drain system will require repair at the intersection of Scenic because tree roots have displaced it.
FOLLOW UP ITEMS
Downtown Parking and Multi Modal Circulation Study Update-Improvement Projects
Graf said the important thing is that the Downtown Committee endorsed the super-sharrows through the downtown. This is the last thing that this committee will do. The City Council had their study session and decided that Downtown Committee should carry through the parking part of the study, which lays out in a timeline of what they should do and declare victory. The Downtown Committee will spawn into two committees. One committee will be the parking advisory committee, which will work with the parking manager, if the plan is accepted. The other committee will be the downtown visioning committee, which will look at all aspects of the downtown not including the parking. Graf said his take on this is that this committee will spend time looking at prettier sidewalks and flower baskets and when they get back to the multi-modal part, they will run into the same issues they have now. All of these projects that were presented to us, such as the round-about at Hargadine and Fork St, the beaver slide, the light at Helman, fixing the left turn at Bush St, lights on Lithia Way; now all of these things are passed on to the new downtown visioning committee. He is not clear what will come to the Transportation Commission. A public meeting regarding the proposed parking plan will be held December 1 at the Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites at 5:30 pm. Faught has been working with the Chamber on setting this up.
Fleury said the next steps are to solicit engineers to work on the super-sharrows concept. ODOT has to approve whatever we decide to install. We have to figure out where the trucks will park. How do the lack of traffic signals at alternate intersections affect the thoroughfare here with bike, trucks, cars, and pedestrians? The complete system will have to be studied. In addition, there isn’t any money to fund this project so we need to get someone on board quickly to develop the project so we can get an idea of how much this will cost so we can put this in the next budget cycle. Barth asked if these engineering costs would be high. Fleury said we can find money in the budget to start the process right now, but we will not be able to find any money to complete the project right now.
Siskiyou Blvd. and Tolman Creek Intersection 4-way Stop
Fleury said at the meeting before last the Transportation Commission approved the 4-way stop and then Council approved the recommendation. ODOT has done the conversion. Fleury said it works fine. Some of the advanced warning signs will be removed eventually. The rubber flapper on the road will also be removed. We are in the process of evaluating curb bump outs to make the crossing distance shorter. Fleury told ODOT they would be looking at changing the intersection configuration to make a shorter crossing distance, change the island to have better truck turning movements, and potentially in front of the school where it is yellow where the right hand turn lane is, restripe it and open it up for more parking. There is a lot of potential for improvement.
Barth said that Dan Dorrell from ODOT did not seem to have an issue with the bump outs on the west side of Siskiyou. Fleury said the only problem is actually designing it and meeting ADA grade. On the south side of the intersection where the school crossing is, where the apartment complex is, if that is bumped out you cannot make the right hand turn onto Siskiyou because of the lane width there. We are looking at the other side to bring that out because the right hand lane is potentially not required because it is a four way stop now. He said these are just concepts we are considering.
North Main Crosswalk Analysis/Post Road Diet Analysis
Fleury said Kim Parducci did an analysis for this and it meets five of the eight warrants for installation of a signal. It does not meet pedestrian crossings and accident criteria. It looks positive overall for the installation of the signal. In order for her to make a full recommendation she will need to look at what a signal will do for the road diet and N Main as far as queuing through the corridor to Maple St. She wants to run modeling simulations with the signal in place to see what it does to the corridor. She will run the model and give us feedback. We will then have a discussion with ODOT about the parameters of signal installation and what will make the corridor work. Graf said one of the reasons to do the signal is so that you do not have the randomness of a crosswalk and you can time everything so that everyone is crossing at the light, we hope, and not sending pedestrians to stop traffic at a crossing. Fleury said this will be at the final analysis that we will talk about. Amarotico said for the five of eight warrants, what is the golden number. Fleury said he does not know if there is a golden number. Amarotico asked if there was pushback, would five be enough? Fleury said he thinks there are valid reasons outside of the warrant analysis to look at having a signalized intersection. He said Parducci said that right turns do not count as volume movements because you can make a right turn at a stop sign. She thinks that people are not making a left turn there and taking an alternate route or they are going right and doing some sort of U-turn. Having a crosswalk here within the gap distance that we have makes sense. Barth said hopefully this will satisfy the people trying to get to the hospital. Fleury said we are planning to install sidewalk on the north side of Hersey St and the gap areas between Oak and Main St. This will create a fully functional pedestrian corridor on Hersey all the way to the intersection which would be beneficial to have an improvement there instead of walking up or down to cross. Viéville asked when this might be complete. Fleury said bids will be put out in spring of 2017 and constructed in summer of 2017.
Action Summary-Development of a Task List
Fleury said they did the speed study at Hillview. Officer MacLennan has been there and issued speeding tickets. Now the speed trailer will be stationed there by the street department and continue to rotate around the city on a regular basis.
Graf asked about things that come up during the meeting and if they will go on the task list or will Fleury have to do some work before it gets on the task list. Fleury said he is comfortable either way. He said he can add it as a task. When the Commission wants something as an agenda item that is when it will be added to the task list. Barth asked about the dusty streets, Laurel and Almond, and what happened to those things. Graf said he has talked to this with Scott, because sometimes staff follows up with things without bringing it to the Commission and sometimes they do not follow up. Citizens get mad because they came to the Commission and made a request but no one followed up. Fleury said that if a citizen comes directly to the Commission to make a request, the Commission should tell staff to follow up with the issue. He said he receives requests from citizens all the time and he follows up independently without bringing it to the Commission.
Viéville asked about the Nevada Street Bridge Project. Fleury said Faught has been having meetings with residents in the area and may have one scheduled at Mountain Meadows. He believes the expectation is for it to come back for one big meeting after he has the smaller meetings. Graf said his intent was to give people all the information and the reasons why it is in the TSP. Barth said he has not heard that either. Graf said many of us were not part of the TSP process and have not heard all the rationale, which is why he went to the neighborhood meeting. The people who least want the bridge and least benefit from the bridge on the Oak St side were at the meeting. He has received a lot of email traffic from these residents and Faught was not able to answer all the questions or say what he intended to say about the project at this meeting because of the format. He said one of the things that may be acceptable to the residents is a pedestrian/emergency vehicle bridge. The design that was presented had a 12 ft. ambulance lane down the middle which would have posts that only the ambulance could go through and have two bike lanes on either side. When Faught showed the group, they did not approve. They want a design that is a greenway bridge that an ambulance could drive over.
Climate Energy Action Plan Information
Fleury said the packet has some general information. Hanks and Rosenthal will come to the next meeting to do a presentation to answer questions regarding the plan.
Fleury said if this is something the Commission wants to be an action item, he will add it to the action list. Amarotico asked if there was an actual repair that needed to be done or if it is just a painting. Fleury said just painting. Amarotico asked if this should this should go to the Arts Commission instead. Fleury said it is in the public right of way on a traveling facility. The Arts Commission deals with the electric boxes, which is not a traveling facility. Part of the thing is safety, is this something that will distract people, which each jurisdiction should look at and evaluate.
TGM Grant-TSP Update
Fleury said we applied for the TGM grant for the TSP update and for the Siskiyou Blvd safety study. We also put in some of the 2005 transit system analysis for the circulator and improvements in town. We did not receive the grant, which leaves our base money for the TSP update itself. Based on schedule and projects, the update will probably begin in the next budget cycle, which is July 2017 – June 2019. There are many things going on right now that do not warrant doing a TSP update. We have the money budgeted, but it is SDC supported, so we will probably re-budget for the money in the next budget biennium and start the process then. Graf said the earliest would be July 2017. Fleury said yes, but that is not his call, but it is his recommendation. Graf said he does not think the residents of East Nevada will want to wait until July 2017 for the update. Fleury said the bridge action would be independent of the update. Graf asked if in this case, since we are not amending the TSP, we are basically saying we do not think that it has a high enough priority to pursue it and we will revisit it during the TSP update if we decide to not pursue it. At the first neighborhood meeting, which was at Marty Breon’s house, no one had anything good to say about the bridge. The fire chief and Paige Townsend from RVTD were also present at the meeting. The idea is to have a lot of citizens to talk about it and then come back to the Commission with a report from staff. We have to decide what we want to do by having another meeting with public testimony but he thinks Faught is doing the neighborhood meetings to decide what staff’s recommendations will be. Bender asked if everyone who was directly effected were invited, because in his neighborhood, Faught made sure all effected parties were invited. Graf said to the best of his knowledge he is working with people in the neighborhood to set up the meetings. Some were missed from the invite and were upset. There are different areas with different interests.
Bicycle Friendly Community Application
Has been submitted and waiting to hear back.
Mac Lennan said on Tuesday a bicyclist was struck by an RVTD bus at Ashland and Tolman. He has the full video from the bus, which shows a clear violation from the bicyclist. Showing him approaching and passing the bus that is legally making a right hand turn, he was unsafe passing on the right. He said he thinks that at some of these bigger intersections where the speeds are up, like other cities we could start terminating the bike lane prior to the intersection and moving the bikes out into the travel lane so this does not happen. He thinks what may have happened here is that the bike was electric and the driver may have not been familiar with it or if he is and he panicked. It is clear on the video that he was trying to stop the bike, he is dragging is foot, and the front wheel is trying to lock up, but he was still going full speed into the side of the bus.
Two other crashes at Ashland and Tolman. One was at the intersection and one was turning into the Bi-Mart parking lot. He said they seem to be getting quite a few crashes now from people turning left. He has had other crashes where vehicles are backing up in one lane and somebody will flag them through, so cars are backed up in the left lane, while flagging the car in the center left turn lane into the Bi-Mart parking lot, while there is a car passing all the other cars in the right lane and they end up t-boning them.
Something that he would like to look at is the truck parking over the creek, prior to entering the plaza on N. Main. He said we really need to get those trucks out of there. He has had several close calls, with vehicles and pedestrians. Pedestrians are blocked and cannot see out, while drivers cannot see the pedestrians. The easiest solution right now is to move the big trucks on the other side of the far east crosswalk. He said he spoke to Faught about it and he told him to bring it up with the Commission. Faught was not sure about the trees. Mac Lennan said we should chop them up another foot because we are talking about vision clearance here. We can enforce the parking over the creek, before entering the plaza crosswalk or on the north crosswalk on N. Main before someone gets hurt. Barth said he uses that crosswalk a lot and he agrees with Mac Lennan. Amarotico asked how they get the information out to the companies to stop parking there. Mac Lennan said start talking with them. Fleury said previously Faught has met with the trucking industry to talk about loading zones. If that is what the Commission wants then we can have Faught meet with them again. He said there is some initial design that shows a loading zone in that area per the plan. Fleury said he will talk to Faught about this.
Making an Impact Newsletter (August/September)
COMMISSION OPEN DISCUSSION FUTURE AGENDA TOPICS
Fleury said there will be a citizen presentation on Glenview at the next meeting. Graf said they would like the entire length of Glenview to be a shared road.
Graf asked if the TSP update starts in July 2017 if that means it wouldn’t be updated until July 2018. Fleury said yes, probably a 12-month update process.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:08 p.m.
Public Works Administrative Assistant