ASHLAND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
November 17, 2016
CALL TO ORDER
Graf called the meeting to order at 6:04 pm
Commissioners Present: Joe Graf, Corinne Viéville, Danielle Amarotico, Dominic Barth, David Young (6:10pm), and Sue Newberry
Commissioners Absent: Alan Bender
Council Liaison Present: Stef Seffinger
SOU Liaison Present: Janelle Wilson
Staff Present: Scott Fleury and Kyndra Irigoyen
Staff Absent: Mike Faught and Steve Mac Lennan
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Approval of October 27, 2016 minutes
The minutes were approved as amended.
ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Louise Shawkat 870 Cambridge St
Read from her attached letter.
Fleury said we had citizens come in and give public testimony previously and it seemed there was support to move forward with the project. He asked what components of the program, that are similar to what Portland has, with the permit and process itself, should move forward. He thinks the permit that Portland has in place works relatively well, but needs to be catered to Ashland. We should define what the eligibility requirements are and develop a fee. We currently have a block party permit and a road closure permit. We also need to talk about coordination between the Transportation Commission, the Public Arts Commission, and potentially the Historic Commission if an intersection repair is in a historic district. In the Historic Commission code and the Public Arts Commission code, it has an overlap, that they should have a say or give contribution for this type of public right of way process via art. Fleury said he wants to cater the permit to Ashland and then bring back to the Commission for review. After approval, he will then take it the Public Arts Commission and the Historic Commission to obtain their input. If needed, bring back to the Commission, and finally to Council for approval.
Barth asked if the intersection repair was just paint. Fleury said yes. Barth asked if the paint would cause skidding across the road. Fleury said we would have to look into that. Barth asked about a theme, if this was in the historic district. Fleury said that is why he would like to take this to the Historic Commission as well. Fleury said we have citizens coming forward with their own ideas of what it should be. He does not want a commission to control the process, but to offer input on the process itself. Amarotico asked if Fleury saw this as something that would always be brought forward by citizens or if the City would pick an intersection; who is leading this? Fleury said it would be coming from the citizens. In Portland, they must obtain signatures by the people in the neighborhood before the painting can occur, which is part of the permit process. Newberry asked why it is called a repair program. Kat Smith said it is the name of the non-profit organization in Portland. Smith said in Portland, they usually go to a high traffic intersection where they want to slow traffic. Not only is there a mural on the ground, but they have benches, a free library; so they call it intersection repair because they are doing more than just the mural. Newberry said it just sounds confusing and could be confusing to homeowners and suggested changing the name. Smith said she would like to call it something different. Fleury said he does not have an issue with changing the name. Newberry asked how this works with marked crosswalks. Fleury said if there were marked crosswalks, the art would have to be within the boundaries of the markings. Smith said in Portland they have worked within the confined area of the four crosswalks in an intersection.
Graf asked if Fleury was going to give the Commission a draft policy and decide on the fees. Fleury said he will draft a permit, figure out some different names for the project, run it through the legal department, bring it to the Commission to talk about fees and the process of going to the Public Arts and Historic Commissions. Graf asked if we were only thinking of this at intersections or will there need to be policy for an intersection and one for other parts of the street. He asked who is going to pay for it. This group of citizens is paying for it, but once we have a policy in place, will it be in the policy that the citizen group needs to pay for it or will they ask the City to paint it. Fleury said it would be his expectation that whoever brings it forward would pay for the materials needed to facilitate the project. Viéville asked if there will be standards or requirements for the materials used. Fleury said yes, there should be standards for materials used. He believes the permit is on a one year cycle, the group can go back and refresh the mural if needed. Viéville said it should be a requirement that they maintain the art. Seffinger said the Public Arts Commission is currently in the process of changing its public arts mural standards and if you have input before they finalize the plan, it might make some sense. Young said in response to Viéville, he would hate to encumber anyone who wants to do this by attaching requirements for maintenance, it might fade away and that is ok. He said he agrees we need some standards, but we should not push this too far out into the future. He supports this project. Newberry suggested that we have a test case that would give us guidelines for the future. Smith said ideally, they would like to paint it in the summer, they are applying for a grant. Newberry asked if we could have a formalized process before that. Fleury said he thinks we can and if not then we could use this as a pilot process. Newberry said she would like to do this as a pilot. Rachel Gibbs said she has worked on intersection repair projects in Portland. Barbara Massey said she would love to see this project happen in her neighborhood.
Amarotico asked Newberry if she was saying to move forward as a pilot project or create standards first and if we cannot create standards fast enough, then move ahead as a pilot project. Newberry said yes, create standards first but if they cannot be created fast enough, then move forward with a pilot project and then create standards. Fleury said he will bring that forward to the other Commissions, that we have a group who is ready to go as a pilot project. Barth asked about the difference between the two Public Works permits that Fleury referred to earlier. Fleury said the right of way closure permit is $202 and the block party permit is $16.
Young motioned staff develop the criteria for the intersection repair program.
Viéville asked if he could change it to mural instead of repair. Young said what about using the word enhancement.
Young m/s Viéville staff develop the criteria for the intersection enhancement program.
Young suggested that the permit be renewable.
All in favor.
Graf asked if there will be some kind of neighborhood input at the commission. Fleury said yes.
Vegetation Maintenance Program
Fleury said Newberry came to meet with Public Works staff and had a meeting to develop a good program. We need to develop a name and how we will market this education program. The things we talked about in our meeting were setting goals and specific strategies to meet these goals. Many of these things revolved around public education, outreach, awareness, and how the public can reach out to the city to report issues. We talked a lot about how to do outreach in the community. We talked about developing brochures, including seasonal information for leaves, snow, and ice. He said that Newberry noticed that in the Community Development building there were not any brochures on the wall about this. We talked about using the leverage of safe routes to school day to develop new stories, public service announcement on JPR, and more updates on the City website. He said that John Peterson, from the streets department was at the meeting, who said it would be good to have one staff person who could go zone by zone to maintain this issue. He does not have staff support to do this right now, only temps during the summer. Fleury said we will be spending some staff time working on our goals and strategies for this program. Newberry said they want to approach this in a systematic way.
Barth asked about Fleury’s memo referencing the web application. Fleury said it is incomplete at this time. It is going to be an app for your phone where a citizen can report an issue using their location. They can take a picture, upload, and tag their location based on GPS location. The issue will be routed to the appropriate person at the City, who will update the status of the issue.
Young said he is concerned about enforcement and informing the homeowners of their responsibilities. Fleury said there is a nuisance ordinance for this. Newberry said this is part of the outreach and education that needs to happen. Young said we should educate people to report on an issue they see. Shawkat asked if this app is a duplication of MyAshland app where you can report issues. Fleury said this app has the same form as we have on the website to report issues. All of the issues are routed to Anne Seltzer who then routes them to the appropriate person.
Fleury said he will develop some of these materials and bring it back to the Commission. Seffinger suggested working with the chamber or with rental agencies to include in the rental agreement about some of these issues, so that the renters would know there is this ordinance and they have responsibility.
FOLLOW UP ITEMS
CMAQ Grant Application
Fleury said he is in the process of getting the updated estimate for the chip seal grant and then will submit it. After submittal, it goes through a long review process. Fleury and Faught will make presentations to various committees who will review the grant application. We will probably have an idea of where we stand next summer.
Grandview Shared Road Improvements
Fleury said we are in the process of converting the upper part he of the road on Grandview into a shared road. We are in the process of ordering the intelligent speed limit signs, general share the road signs, and 15 MPH speed signs. Expecting to be done by the end of December for the upper section. Young asked about the new guardrail. Fleury said they added 20 ft. of new guardrail to protect the transformer there. Amarotico asked where the 15 MPH signs will be posted. Fleury said the only portion that will be a shared road will be from Ditch Rd to the stop sign around the corner. There will be speed signs and share the road signs as you enter that zone.
Washington St. Extension
Fleury said we have been working for a long time with the Brombachers to secure the connection between Tolman Cr and Washington St. We have developed a site plan for future development. It has been approved by planning. We then went into the right of way acquisition phase. We have agreed to a purchase price that was taken to Council and approved to finalize the acquisition. We will finalize the engineering and permitting for the roadway and bridge. We are hoping to start construction this next summer. The next phase is to obtain funding for the construction of the connection. We have funds to purchase it now. This project is vastly similar to the Jefferson St extension project that occurred about eight years ago.
Fleury said they have contracted with Kittleson to analyze the truck parking issue. He said it is moving forward; he needs to touch base with Kittleson. He said the feasibility analysis should turn around quickly. He said they will have an analysis by the end of the year.
Graf asked if there is a timeframe for the next phase of study for the Wimer, Hersey, Main St. traffic light. Fleury said yes he needs to touch base with Parducci. He thinks she is close to finalizing a few things. Young asked if we could prioritize some of the items; some have been ongoing for years and items get pushed aside. Fleury said Parducci is also in the process of doing a road diet update report. Newberry said she presumes she will be modeling to see how would it impact it if the existing signals are retained and one is added because that will cue the traffic and add some gaps for the side streets to make right turns. Fleury said yes the scenarios will include those traffic lights working in unison throughout the system if the Hersey and Wimer light was added and the different delays at those signals to facilitate the movements of the through. She will also do a gap study at the critical intersections. Newberry said she hears a lot of complaints that there are not enough gaps in the traffic. She said for the task list, some of these things have different statuses; it might make it easier if Fleury could organize by what is happening or what is due.
Young asked when we will move along on this. Fleury said with Parducci’s work on the road diet, this is included. He thinks she will be able to wrap this up by January. Newberry said every intersection is a legal crosswalk if it is marked or not, she cannot find anywhere in the City policy when we mark and do not mark crosswalks. As a pedestrian, vehicles will more likely yield when there is a marked crosswalk. She asked if we have a policy of marking crosswalks. Fleury said in general, if we get a request, the MUTCD requires a study to see if a crosswalk should be marked. Newberry said we should have some kind of policy on this. Young said it is dangerous out there. He has walked to the hospital many times and it is a fatality waiting to happen. He thinks it is the biggest glaring hole in the City’s transportation infrastructure. He said we have been bringing this up for two or three years. Viéville said a doctor offered to pick her up and drive her across the street because of the danger. Graf said it is clear that this Commission has said we want to have crosswalks. If the decision is not have a light at Hersey and Wimer, there are going to be one or two marked crosswalks that this Commission will insist on putting in. There has to be marked crosswalks that are safe for people to cross. Seffinger said one of the concerns people have addressed to the Council is how to get to the hospital in terms of the road diet slowing people’s ability to get to the hospital when it is congested and the ability to turn left at the light.
COMMISSION OPEN DISCUSSION
Graf reminded everyone of the public meeting to consider the parking strategy at 5:30 pm at the Ashland Hills Hotel. Young said this meeting has not been publicized well to the community. The Chamber and Faught have complete responsibility for this meeting, along with the consultant Rick Williams. There has been no input by the committee. Barth said this seems typical of what happens here and then we get an apology by Faught, but it does not change the fact that something we have been involved in suddenly vanishes or fizzles, is it time to take a conservative look at what we can do and should do. He said we have never been told about this upcoming meeting, the ad-hoc committee was not consulted about it, and if it is strictly a chamber thing, what does that have to with the people of Ashland and the public. Graf said what he knows for sure is that neither Young nor he had input. He has told this body once or twice about this meeting. Barth asked if there is a way to clarify what their mandate truly is and where there is accountability. We have spent time talking about electric shuttles and the Nevada St Bridge, the first meeting was grossly under-prepared and there were apologies. Newberry said she spent her Saturday at a workshop for engaging public process. She was disappointed that there was no one from the City there. She said part of her career included public involvement; we do not have a sophisticated way to engage the public in Ashland in the public process. Barth said his concern is that people have expectations that when they present something here, that we have effect on it.
Viéville asked about the alleys by the co-op. Fleury said he looked at the site and we could add a ‘no right turn’ sign at the driveway outlet to keep people from turning there, but some of it will be enforcement.
Young said he is a low point in his 20 years on the commission. He feels that we have no input on the agenda. This Commission voted to make the internal circulator a priority. Then all of a sudden we have to revisit the whole thing and now it is dead. He has people contacting him about it and he has nothing to tell them. We are the Transportation Commission and we advise the Council on the transportation issues. He said he fully believes we are being stonewalled from moving ahead and it is frustrating. This never gets on the agenda. He said he says something with a lot less passion than this and is shot down by Faught every time. He said he is tired of it. We have a community of people that have been actively trying to get us to do something. Barth said he thinks he is bringing up a broader, longer-term example of something all too familiar. It can be everything from sidewalks, to the stop sign at N Main, or when Grandview first came up and Faught first said something about it, it is just endemic. He said even on these simple things we do not get that far. He asked how we find out what our role is, is there accountability, and are we spending the time in here to get things done, or is this just a gestor so the City can say we have a committee to listen to people. Graf said our ordinance says that we make recommendations to the Public Works director for some things and it is unclear what those certain things are and we do not have staff to do some of things we want to do.
Seffinger asked what their most important issue is right now so she can mention it at the Council meeting. Young said as a body we can vote to recommend to Council and that is we have historically done and now all of a sudden everything goes through the Public Works director first. Seffinger asked if the most important issue was to look at the shuttle. Barth said that was supposed to go to Council to consider the shuttle. Young said it did not go to Council and that was almost six months ago. Graf says he remembers that we first wanted Council to consider an ad-hoc committee for the shuttle and then we decided to look into the TSP to piggyback on the TSP because it was faster than forming a new committee. Young said we have not looked at it since. Viéville said if staff is too overwhelmed to do the research, what prevents citizens from doing the research and presenting it. Young said there is a sense that all the work they do will not result in any action; where is the body that will work with the citizens? Newberry said citizens developing a program, without engaging someone from the City, are in a difficult position. One of the things recommended at the workshop she attended was to start with a steering committee, by bringing people from the City into the citizen process early on. Young said the trolley is in the TSP. It spent months in the Downtown Committee and was not well represented, everyone thought it was too expensive. Consultants from Eugene did a cost analysis of the shuttle program for $1.1 million. Graf said there are questions about what routes are the best and he does not think it can be done for $1.1 million. We have to consider the number of vehicles, how to compete with free parking, and how it will be ran. None of these questions have been answered. The citizens have talked about buying a $300,000 bus and doing a pilot project. Young said it is that kind of thinking that makes it sound like it is not worth pursuing. We need to work out something that is viable with all points of view. He said this has been identified as a priority since 2012. There is record of himself making a request in the Downtown Committee to start the process for this. Viéville asked if we could put this on the agenda for an entire meeting to figure out a plan. Young suggested sponsoring a public forum. Newberry said we are not ready for a public forum; we need to get it on our agenda and talk it through. She asked to put this on the agenda. Graf said we can put it on the agenda but we need specifics to talk about. Barth said we heard from the e-shuttle project on August 28, 2015, he wants to check the minutes for September and October for something specific that sent this to Council. Graf said he does not think it went to Council, he believes we recommended to Council to an ad-hoc committee and we backed off it because of the issue of making an official committee. We talked about doing it though the TSP process because it is already in there with some study money and decided to do the internal circulator piece and then it sort of died. Barth thinks a feasibility study would be great. Graf said we need to figure out who will do the feasibility study. Young said an ad-hoc committee could do this. Newberry said the shuttle is on the list, are we developing an RFP for engineering services? Fleury said when the Commission first discussed moving this forward, he believes that staff came back to the Commission and said that we were in the process of the TGM grant cycle and would like to apply to support the TSP update. We would use the monies we have in SDC funds, to match funding to support the addition of the study for the shuttle as essentially the primary focus of the TSP update. He thinks that in addition to that was the program number five, the transit service program, to expand transit along with refining it with a feasibility of it. He said we did not get the grant so there are no additional funds for that purpose. We would have to reallocate funds for that feasibility study. He said if the Commission wants to have the discussion for the feasibility study, he could bring in the scoping documents to develop the feasibility study RFP. Newberry said the feasibility study would replace the phrase on the list ‘engineering services’. Fleury said that is what we would solicit for but it would be an RFP and the sub caveat of that feasibility study for a shuttle and develop the appropriate scope that someone could respond to. Newberry asked if we have a budget to do a feasibility study. Fleury said he would have to reallocate funds. Young said the general sense in this community is that Public Works never met a consultant that they did not like. So much of the focus is paying consultants to chase money, which is why we had to take an issue onto the ballot to repair our streets. The priorities are skewed. Newberry asked if the RFP was developed. Fleury said no. Newberry said it would be interesting to put together what would be an RFP because it defines the steps that have to be done in order to do a feasibility study and if we could see those things defined, we would be able to decide if that is something we could bring a group of people together to do it. Young asked for this to not be on the December agenda because he will not be here. Graf said January is ok.
Fleury said he is hoping to have the report for N Main in the next packet along with the crosswalk analysis. He said he is also working on the crosswalk at Mix and the loading zone issue. He said ODOT gave us money a while ago to redo the ADA ramps within the downtown area, we are working on that currently. Viéville asked if it was possible to put bumps on each side of the intersecting streets for ADA compliance by the path along Siskiyou. Newberry said the path itself is not ADA compliant and it is an ODOT thing. Fleury said he would have to look into it.
Young asked when the Nevada St Bridge will come back on the agenda and where it is at. Graf said they are trying to figure out what to do next. He said his understanding is that we will have to approve whatever comes to us. Fleury said the Commission will make a recommendation on an ‘option’ or ‘no option’ to Council and Public Works will support that or have their own recommendation.
FUTURE AGENDA TOPICS
TSP update process
North Main Crosswalk Analysis/Post Road Diet Analysis
Downtown Parking and Multi Modal Circulation Study
Meeting was adjourned at 8:36 p.m.
Public Works Administrative Assistant