ASHLAND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
October 27, 2016
CALL TO ORDER
Graf called the meeting to order at 6:03 pm
Commissioners Present: Joe Graf, Corinne Viéville, Danielle Amarotico, Dominic Barth, David Young and Sue Newberry
Commissioners Absent: Alan Bender
Council Liaison Present: Stef Seffinger
SOU Liaison Present: Janelle Wilson
Staff Present: Mike Faught, Kyndra Irigoyen, and Steve Mac Lennan
Staff Absent: Scott Fleury
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Approval of September 22, 2016 minutes
The minutes were approved as amended.
ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Jim Flint 355 Fair Oaks Ave
Read from his attached letter.
Susan Hall 210 E Nevada St
Read from the attached letter from Ted Hall.
Spike Breon 295 E Nevada St
To allow us to move towards a more auto-independent community, a phrase in the Transportation Commission’s mission statement, building a bridge over Bear Creek and E Nevada is not going to further that goal. Mr. Faught said at our community meeting that if the opposition was as wide as it seemed to be, there might not be any bridge at all. He urges the Commission to consider the ‘no bridge’ option seriously. If there is a bridge, it should not look like the bridge that was presented by Faught. The bridge was 24’ wide with 12’ wide emergency vehicle lane, flanked by two 6’ wide bicycle lanes. All we need is a 12’ wide emergency vehicle lane that could be used by bicycles and pedestrians when there are no emergencies. There is a new rationale that just came out; we should build a bicycle bridge to entice customers to come to a coffee shop. This is a no brainer, citizens should not be asked to subsidize a commercial endeavor.
Bob Alessandrelli 2281 McCall Dr
He represents the McCall Condo Association Owners. He came in May to discuss the proposal of the extension of McCall Drive. The engineering study has been completed. He submitted the attached memo that refutes and responds to the traffic engineer’s report.
Jeff Benton 263 N Second St
He lives opposite from the Ashland Co-op. There are two parallel alleys that run from Second St to First St and there is a cross alley that connects those two alleys half way between Second St and First St. His home is in the center of that. The parking for his residents between the hardware store and Ashland Food Co-op is difficult; there is no place for him to park. He has created parking in the alley behind his home. For whatever reason, Co-op customers prefer to drive down the alleys instead of the streets. He does not think alleys are designed to be thoroughfares. The upper alleyway to the south is all gravel, from Second St to First St, which creates a dust cloud in the summer. There are not speed bumps and the speeds are ridiculous. There are kids that play in the alley and elderly people. He wants to get in and out when he wants to. The other problem to this is that First St has become a parking lot and no longer a street. The traffic coming down First St, the entire street is blocked for pedestrians coming out with groceries or from people backing out with their cars. He gets stuck in the alley on his way to work waiting on cars and pedestrians. He thinks there needs to be an improvement of signage in the alleyways, make the alleyways one-way, and have traffic enforcement on First St and in the alleyway.
Louise Shawcat 870 Cambridge St.
Read from her attached letter.
Linda Serbu 239 N Second St
She said there are two, two-way alleys. People come out of the Ashland Co-op and make an illegal right turn onto First St and jag into their alley. Most of the people going the opposite way on the alley, from First St to Second St, are actually going right after they made an illegal right turn out of the co-op. She thinks it would be simple to make it a one-way alley going towards the co-op. She has a lot of kids and people drive here. She also thinks the most important thing here in Ashland is the electric trolley.
Jim Little, 234 N First St
He lives in the upper alley behind First St. He said they tried to get the alley be made a one-way before but was turned down a long time ago when it was the traffic safety committee. He said it would be nice to have better signage. There used to be a sign at the end of the co-op that said ‘only’ and pointed down toward A St but was taken out and replaced with a generic sign with an arrow. People do not pay attention to it. 90% of the traffic is decent, but 10% of that traffic is a lot of traffic, especially during the evening and lunchtime.
Barth asked Officer Mac Lennan what law is broken when drivers make an illegal right turn onto First St. Mac Lennan said, it is failing to obey a one-way. The slight right onto First St finable.
Climate Energy Action Plan Information (CEAP)
Rich Rosenthal and Adam Hanks presented the Climate and Energy Action Plan. Rosenthal said they will give an overview of what the ad-hoc committee is doing and share the draft goals. The ad-hoc committee was created by the mayor for a limited duration and has 13 members with 11 voting. Currently there are two student members who are ex-officio. They started this exercise in September of 2015 and are expecting to have a draft plan to the City Council in February 2017. They have seven to eight meetings left.
Rosenthal and Hanks read from the attached PowerPoint presentation. Final open house will be December 7, 2016. Land use recommendations will be shared with Transportation Commission.
CMAQ Grant Application-Chip Seal Project
Faught said we submitted this grant two years ago with the Commission’s support. We compete every year for single residential roads with other communities. Last time we did not get the grant. We want to re-submit this grant and update the cost estimates. We think it is a great way to reduce the dust on these gravel roads.
Newberry asked about CMAQ money being used for congestion mitigation. She asked Faught if he went through the TSP to review for anything else. It could be used for other things like bike and pedestrian. Faught said it could, but there is not as much money this year. They added two new areas that are CMAQ eligible, so the amount has dropped. The competition is stiff right now. He said if he brings a bike project in right now, he does not know how well we will compete. He said he thinks we are bringing in a major reduction in air quality to chip seal the roads. This project would do more with the limited amount of funds. Faught said we could review other projects if the Commission was not interested in this. Newberry said she is curious about the process, if you were turned down once for it, why do you have a better shot this year. Faught said the idea was interesting to people, he thinks it is a new concept that was too new for them last time. Newberry asked how much money we were talking about. Faught said he thinks $600-$700,000 range. Newberry asked if this money could be used for an electric trolley. Faught said you could, if you made the case for a trolley. Newberry said it would not fund operational costs though. She said for a note in the future, it would not be unrealistic to go through the TSP for review to see what would be eligible for CMAQ funding. She asked if Faught had already gone through the TSP for other priorities. Faught said they did and they think it does more for the community from an air quality standpoint.
Young asked if we could submit multiple applications. Faught said we can submit multiple. Young said he wishes the Commission would have had input on this ahead of time and if it is not too late, we have passed unanimously on two bodies, the super sharrows, the City does not have funds for this. This would be one to add and the shuttle would be another to add. Faught said he does not know if we cannot find money for the sharrows, we have hired Kittleson to review the truck issue. He does not have a plan to take forward for an application, this research is still premature. He does not think two projects will compete well. If we have full support from the Commission on one project and from the community, it will be a better strategy for us. Amarotico asked if this was something we applied for annually. Faught said every two years. This money will be used for a project that is two years out, not for one now. Amarotico said one thing we have heard, from multiple citizens, is dust on streets. Graf asked which projects, that we ranked highly, are ready to go for the grant. We do not always have all the information. As we have learned, when we get citizen input, there are more questions that come up. Faught said he could make the argument, if approved, that engineering will be done for the project submitted. He thinks it is a fair criticism from Young that he should have brought multiple projects to the Commission before deciding on one and next time he will. Young says he thinks that the shuttle and the super sharrows are equally important to apply for. Graf said there are some residents who want their roads fixed and some who do not want them fixed. Will we be able to do this without holding neighborhood meetings? Faught said he feels confident that the residents want this.
Graf asked what everyone thought. Commission is asked to either recommend or not recommend moving PW staff apply for the grant and also recommend that Council recommend PW staff apply or not apply for the grant funding. He said we can say yes go ahead or do more prioritizing. Young thinks we should go for the grant but include more than one project. Faught said these are separate applications. Newberry said she does not see a downside with submitting multiple applications. Faught said the deadline is Dec 2. Newberry asked if the sharrow is ready enough to apply. Faught said we can put it together. Graf said for anything in this grant, it is every two years and applying two years down the road, so we if got the grant money to do the super sharrow we would not be able to start working on the super sharrow for two years. Faught said it would be in 2019-2021. Newberry and Graf said this is a downside. Barth asked for the cost estimate for the super sharrows. Faught said he thinks, but is not sure, that it is in the $150,000 range.
Newberry m/s Viéville the Commission go forward with the CMAQ grant application for the chip seal project.
Viéville asked about capital grants for the trolley project. Faught said there are grants available for the purchase but they would not fund the operations.
Young m/s Viéville an amendment to the motion to add a capital purchase of an electric vehicle for the shuttle.
Graf asked how many vehicles. Young said three. He said we made the internal circulator a priority item. There has been a lot of stuff done from community advocates, the Downtown Committee, and the TSP. Viéville said we already have information from the citizens group about pricing, we could use that. Faught said he appreciates that they did that, but we would have to do our own research. The key part of the grant application would include how we would fund operations. He could not write a grant application asking to buy one or two trolleys without showing what we are going to do with them. Young said in the draft plan from the community partners’ workshop, there is some information there. Faught said there is a lot of work that still needs to be done before submitting this project for a grant. Money will have to be committed for this project if community partnerships are not in place in two years to fund operations. That might be tough for us to put together between now and December 2nd.
Graf asked if all agreed with the amendment to add a purchase of an electric shuttle as a separate application for the CMAQ grant. Three opposed. One in favor (Young). One abstention (Viéville).
Amendment does not pass.
All in favor of first motion and one abstention (Young).
Glenview/Ashland Loop Shared Road
Faught displayed a map for the Commission. He said the Grandview shared road sparked some conversation about applying it to Glenview. He said he is happy to see other members of the community stepping up and wanting the shared road concept. He said Glenview is almost a ready-made road for a shared road. There is a lot of non-automobile activity on this road. This project helps us share the road. We would put a chip-seal on and post speed signs for 15 MPH. He thinks it is a great low-cost project that recognizes the current use of the facility. If there is interest in moving forward we will need to get public input on this. In order to be a shared road it has to be paved or chip-sealed. It has to be 18 ft. wide with 3 ft. refuge areas. In order to drop the speed limit, it has to be a shared road designation. It has to be chipped sealed before the 15 MPH speed signs can go up. Faught said this is a low-cost project we could implement fairly quickly. Barth asked if this is a lower cost than the big sharrows. Faught said it could be in the same price range or less, but does not have the full cost yet. Barth said it is frustrating to hear how some things can happen quickly, Faught is making this sound so easy to advance ahead of the other chip seals but the sharrows which are pretty close to the same cost, are not as easy? Faught said he does not know the details for the sharrows and the exact cost. Barth said the sharrows have been going on longer than Glenview. Faught said the super sharrow idea came out late so we had not evaluated it and there is only one minor thing, what do we do with the trucks. We are not going to take away parking with that solution. Barth said it is just hard to hear how some things are in the same price range seem so much easier. Faught said the minute he has the engineering done, he does not want to wait two years because it is a low-cost option too. Barth asked about the timeframe. Faught said he does not know, they just started it.
Newberry asked how wide the gravel area is now. Faught said he thinks there is plenty of room for most of it. Newberry said she was concerned about speed if paving was done. Faught said gravel will remain on either side of the road and there will not be a stripe down the middle of the road. Amarotico asked about the priority list of shared roads. Faught said there is not a developed process yet, but from a staff perspective, we look at if the road is currently being used as a shared facility and if it would improve the use. This was a simple one because we see people on that road all the time. Other roads on the list, we do not see as much activity. We move forward when we see a lot of activity and interest to move forward. If we get the CMAQ grant, the roads that will be chip sealed will more than likely be shared roads.
Mark Hill 201 Glenview Dr
He has lived here for 20 years and raised three kids there. He said Glenview Dr. is a unique road, it is being used by walkers, joggers, bike riders, and automobiles. He sent an email with a proposal. He was not aware of the all rules for a shared road at the time. He is concerned about putting traffic signs up because right now there are two problems, safety and health. There is dust that flies in the air in people’s faces that are walking and the speed limit of 25 MPH creates this. He is in favor of reducing it to 15 MPH. Safety issues are for walkers. He has almost been hit by cars because of a few curves there. He lives on a curve. Someone went over a cliff and went into his yard (picture attached in minutes). Officer Smith told him other cars have gone over in other areas of the road too. His main concern is that a traffic sign to slow down and turn could have prevented this. If we lower the speed limit and have signs that say “Slow Down Curve” and other signs that say “Slow Down Extreme Dust” if the chip seal is not put on. He thanked Faught for being in support of this. He submitted a petition with over 200 signatures in favor of the improvements by walking the street and talking to the people there.
Viéville m/s Barth to move forward with public hearing on this project.
Viéville asked if we will have a price at the public hearing. Faught said we will have a conceptual design. This public hearing may be a couple months out to give staff a chance to go and survey. Barth said he thinks it is great idea to drop the speed limit there, he does not see why they cannot just drop the speed limit, with the chip sealing he sees drivers wanting to drift there and fighting for the pavement or getting two wheels out on the dirt and spinning. Faught said he could have Parducci come and explain from a traffic-engineering standpoint. Young asked if we had the power to recommend on a case-by-case basis, a reduction of speed limit. Faught said it is not a yes or no answer. Young said in a special case, we have the power to recommend a lower speed. Faught said City’s do not have the authority to just reduce a speed, ODOT has the authority. We would have to request them to come in and do a study and it is very rare that they drop it below 25 MPH. Young said he is having trouble accepting the shared road designation he saw at Grandview. He said he thinks it is worthwhile to have a speed study done. Barth asked if there a way to get ODOT to check it out and try it without the chip seal. Faught said we need to focus on the engineering. If you want to hold off and do more work on the engineering, we can. Speed reduction below 25 MPH is rare and it will not be because it is dusty, it will be because they determine if it is an appropriate speed or not. Viéville asked if ODOT would take into consideration that cars roll off there, as a speed issue or could we ask for a 15 MPH speed designation until we get the whole thing together for paving for an immediate start to their problem. Faught said we could look at signs for the 90 degree turns, but we cannot post the speed limit below 25 MPH. Newberry said she is less concerned about speeds if there is a paved portion that is 18 ft. wide then a gravel road that looks 25 ft. wide. When there is a portion of pavement that looks narrow with no centerline, there is a certain amount of uncertainty that enters into the driver’s mind and they tend to go slower. In addition, we do not know how fast the cars are going on the dirt road. You can kick up a lot of dust going slowly on a dirt road, so the dirt could be a much bigger problem. When you are a walker on the road, speeds of cars a inflated. If you are the person in the car it seems like you are going really slow. We do not have this speed information. The speed trailer could be put out there or have enforcement. We do not know if there is a speeding problem, there is just a perception.
Graf asked if anyone had an objection to the motion and if all were in favor.
All in favor.
Seffinger said many people have contacted the council about injuries that have taken place here.
FOLLOW UP ITEMS
Action Summary-Development of a Task List
Officer Mac Lennan said there were two crashes involving the sun heading east bound. There was another bus crash when a car pulled off Garfield St and into the path of the bus.
Making an Impact Newsletter (August/September)
COMMISSION OPEN DISCUSSION FUTURE AGENDA TOPICS
Viéville would like the electric trolley to be on the agenda in the future.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.
Public Works Administrative Assistant