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Agendas and Minutes

Transportation Commission (View All)

Transportation Commission

Agenda
Thursday, June 22, 2017

ASHLAND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
MINUTES
June 22, 2017
 
CALL TO ORDER
Graf called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm
 
Commissioners Present: Joe Graf, Dominic Barth, Sue Newberry, David Young, and Corinne ViŤville
Commissioners Absent: Kat Smith
Council Liaison Present: None
Council Liaison Absent: Mike Morris, and Rich Rosenthal                                                                          
SOU Liaison Absent: Janelle Wilson
Staff Present: Scott Fleury, and Tami De Mille-Campos
Staff Absent: Mike Faught
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
Graf announced the appointment of a new commissioner, Kat Smith. She will be joining the commission at the next meeting. He reminded the commission that still leaves one vacancy.
 
Graf announced he is adding an agenda item under old business. Item A is going to be an update regarding Tuesdayís Council meeting in which there were two transportation items on the agenda. He also reminded the commissioners that he and Scott meet the second Monday of every month to plan the agenda, so if anyone has any agenda items they would like to see added please get in touch with either of them beforehand.
 
He stated his philosophy is the task list is agenda items, so anything that is on the task list is fair game for discussion during that time.
 
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Approval of Minutes: February 23, 2017
 
Newberry/Barth m/s to approve minutes as presented.
 
All ayes. Minutes approved.
 
Approval of Minutes: April 27, 2017
 
Barth/Newberry m/s to approve minutes as presented.
 
All ayes. Minutes approved.
 
PUBLIC FORUM
Lisa Hamilton, 1273 Iowa Street
Lisa described an experience she recently had when a vehicle crashed nearby her parked car. She saw the vehicle fly up onto what little sidewalk there is in that area. The vehicle collided with the power pole at the corner of Iowa and Avery Street. She described how scary that experience was especially since she has stood at this very pole with her children as they wait to cross the street. She quickly called 911. This is not the only vehicle crash in this area that she has witnessed first-hand. Months back there was another crash late in the night, involving a vehicle crashing into her neighbor's parked van. Many of the drivers on this street are new drivers in high school and living as though they are invincible. Many of the drivers are college students, heading home from parties and bars. Mistakes will be made and many have already been made. While those mistakes canít be stopped entirely, it is everyoneís responsibility to do all they can and to help slow people down and make the street as safe as possible.
 
 
Karsten Peterson, 321 Bridge Street
They are part of an area that has a lot of kids on it. Her kids go to Willow Wind School on East Main. Their route to school is to cross Iowa Street, cross Wightman Street, and then cross at Wightman/East Main. Her kids went on to share their own experiences.
Drake shared that he and his brother were taking their dog for a walk down to the park and they saw a car speed up and then start to drift. They started walking out and the car sped up headed towards them and almost hit them. They have made some routes around Iowa to help them get around but they take longer to get to school. They would really enjoy having a crosswalk there.
 
Bodhi agreed that it is really hard to cross Iowa Street without a crosswalk because cars park along the sides of the street and you have to walk almost to the middle of the street in order to get a view of what is coming. He thinks it would be good to have a crosswalk there so people will slow down and so people will have a safe place to cross the street.
 
Newberry pointed out that Iowa Street safety concerns is listed as an agenda item, under task items
 
Phil Hutchings, 2404 Siskiyou Blvd.
He is representing himself and his neighbors. He has noticed the speed trailer at the middle of Bellview Street. He isnít sure why it was set up there but he thinks it was probably due to excessive speed.
 
Graf pointed out that item is also on the agenda task list. 
 
Colin Swales, 143 8th Street
He is a member of the Southern Oregon Electric Vehicle Association. He doesnít own an electric vehicle himself but having previously been a member of the Planning Commission and the Transportation Commission, he is interested in how the city is dealing with the infrastructure that comes with electric vehicles. He attended a meeting the other night and wanted to relay the information. SOEVA will have an entry in the 4th of July parade, the day prior and the day after that they will also have meetings at the Ashland library. The meetings have to do with ODOT sending a representative to discuss how to deal with autonomous vehicles and how that will effect infrastructure. One of the reasons he got involved with the club is because they were supporters of a shuttle coming to town. Josephine County is going to refurbish a bus to use as a shuttle between Grants Pass and Medford. He will send an email to staff with further details that can be forwarded on to the commission.
 
He also shared one of the things he has been doing for quite some time is monitoring traffic on arterial roads. He has always been a great proponent that we donít need three lanes of auto traffic in our downtown. To that end, he has been monitoring ODOTís figures. The figures are usually a few years behind but the figures have been dropping. 2013 was the lowest since 2003. It has had a slight uptick which may be because of the low fuel prices currently. He will also forward those details to show what the arterial traffic is doing in the downtown, and along Siskiyou, North Main and Ashland Street.
 
While there are still citizens in the audience that spoke about Iowa Street Commissioner Newberry had a few things to share. She shared she has a background in communities doing pedestrian/bicycle safety. One of the things she is going to be trying to encourage staff to do is to start including citizens and commissioners when doing studies such as the study on Iowa. Her experience is the best way to do that is to include people such as Lisa Hamilton who spoke earlier.
 
Newberry also mentioned that crosswalks wonít slow people down by marking them. Those crosswalks are legal crossing places now whether they are marked or not. Marking them does help pedestrians feel more comfortable though. 
 
NEW BUSINESS
Bicycle Swap and Education Program Presentation by Ashland Parks
Lori Ainsworth, City of Ashland Parks and Recreation
Egon Dubois, teaches bicycle safety classes throughout Ashland
Lori updated the commission on how this yearís bike swap went. She shared that they use funds generated from the bike swap to facilitate the bicycle safety education program which is operated in the elementary schools. The Ashland Parks and Recreation (ARP) assumed the role of managing this program back in 2012. It costs APR about $9,000 per year and is included within their budget. That pays for the instruction and maintaining the fleet of bikes. This year the bike swap was on Easter weekend and it also happened to be the last day of skiing at Mt. Ashland, so the event was down by about eighty customers from the prior year. The gap between revenues and expenditures this year was $2,600 compared to $1,000 last year. Overall the bike swap is still a very popular community event.
 
Young said his experience was it was less publicized than in previous years. Lori said she would pass that along to the marketing group and to Rachel Dials, Recreation Superintendent. Young also recommended they get communicate to the commission a few months in advance of the event so it can be more on peopleís radar.
 
Egon stated last year this program was only taught at three schools which is unfortunate that it isnít taught at all of the schools especially because it is free of charge. He pointed out that he has approached Willow Wind every year and every time they have declined. In his opinion, Willow Wind is one of the most problematic schools in terms of access to the school. He wished that Karsten Peterson who had spoken during public forum had stuck around. He feels she could make a great champion for him at that school.
 
Barth said he had remembered talking about Bellview at a previous commission meeting and trying to make further attempts to get them on board but then it became apparent that they were not interested. Young said the Principal is adamantly opposed to the program right now because of the inadequate infrastructure. She doesnít want to encourage kids to bicycle because of this problem. Egon said in previous years he would approach the teachers and Principal of Willow Wind and Bellview via email, occasionally in person as well which he will do this year as well. Despite the fact that he primarily teaches bicycle safety education, he starts by teaching pedestrian safety education and he thinks maybe that is a good thing to point out to the Principal so she can reconsider the program.
 
Newberry suggested when meeting with the Principal that he find out precisely what the concerns are of the Principal. She lives nearby that school and has observed one of the issues is the parents driving in/out of the school. The drop off/pick-up area is inadequate. If we could get more specific information regarding the problems then maybe the school/commission could work together to solve all of the modal issues. She offered to join Egon, being that she has a lot of background in safe routes to school programs. Egon said he would reach out to the Principal first and then get back to Newberry.
 
Graf said it is discouraging because they had gone ahead with the four way stop at Tolman and he had hoped that would mean they would then take advantage of the bicycle safety program.
 
Discussion was had regarding the need for safe routes to school. Egon said he would be willing to meet at any time to have further discussion.
 
Zagster Bike Share Program
Andrea Napoli, Rogue Valley Council of Governments (RVCOG)
Fleury went over his staff report regarding how the bike share problem came to existence and the current desire to work with RVCOG in order to keep this program going.
 
Napoli shared that United Way began this program in 2015 utilizing grant funding. United Way approached the RVCOG a few months ago to see if they would be interested in taking it over as the grant funding was ending on July 24, 2017. The RVCOG had secured grant funding through ODOT and RVTD. Given the short time frame they decided to eliminate some of the current six stations, with half of the use at the Water Street station, and go with the stations that were performing. The ODOT grant funds two stations, twenty bikes for three years. The RVTD funds two stations, ten bikes. With that, the Front Street station in Medford will remain because that was important to RVTD. Other than that, everything through the grant funding will be in Ashland. They have also been working with the self-sufficiency office through the State, they administer Medicaid, SNAP, the jobs program, and Assistance for Needy Families etc., to be able to offer them free use of the system.
 
Young thinks the program is fantastic and it is mentioned in the 2012 Transportation System Plan. He asked if the Siskiyou Boulevard location is the location to serve the underserved. Napoli said it was. He thinks the tourist location is very important than everyone thinks, he would love to see it move from Water Street to the Plaza. He thinks ScienceWorks would be a great partner because a lot of families that visit there from out of town and many of them say they donít want to drive when they get into Ashland. Napoli said there are definitely partnerships in the works and they plan to continue to work on securing private sponsors. Right now there is a system in Ashland that will work and once that is installed they can implement other phases if other interested parties come on board. Right now this is being funded with public money but her hope is that they can approach private parties and entice them to support the program by demonstrating that the program is being utilized. She said if anyone has any ideas for potential private sponsorships to please contact her and she will get it added to the list. Asante and OSF are currently on the list for future exploration.
 
Young/ViŤville m/s recommend to Council that the commission supports the participation in the new RVCOG program, including two stations.
 
All ayes. Motion passes.
 
Young feels this will be a successful program and there will be opportunities for private partnerships in the future.
 
ViŤville asked about the potential for adding a tandem bike to the system which could have the potential to benefit the visually impaired. Napoli said there arenít currently any tandem bikes in this system but she can discuss this with Zagster. ViŤville asked Napoli if she would be willing to meet with the Lions Club to discuss this, if ViŤville was able to set something up and Napoli said yes.
 
July 2017 Meeting Date
Fleury reminded the commission that this request is due to him being away at a conference that week.
 
Discussion was had and the commission decided on July 20 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers.
 
TASK LIST
Discuss current action item list
Barth asked about the Hersey/Wimer signal warrant analysis and Fleury said that had been postponed due to budget meetings but it is on the July agenda, along with a quarterly update on the Road Diet.
 
Young asked about the super sharrows along Main Street. He said it has been approved by two bodies and he is wondering when this is going to take place. Fleury said the budget was just approved by the budget committee and that budget includes the Capital Improvements List of which the super sharrows was a part of. He is going to task Faught with getting that going this summer and gaining ODOT approval (it is their jurisdiction), so hopefully we can see some forward momentum very soon.
 
Barth asked about the TSP Update and Internal Feasibility Analysis. Fleury said the RFP for the TSP has been advertised and responses are due back by August 1, 2017. Once the responses come back they will begin the formal process, in which Newberry has agreed to be the Transportation Commission representative.
 
Graf shared that Newberry made a great presentation to Council on the East Nevada Bridge and the commissionís stance on it. He said there was quite a bit of discussion on this and the vote was not unanimous; they did vote to not go forward with the bridge as proposed in the TSP. He further described how the Council meeting went.
 
Young said he went to the RVCOG meeting last week in which Faught gave a presentation for a twelve foot bicycle/pedestrian bridge or a twenty foot bicycle/pedestrian/emergency vehicle bridge, citing the current fire code. He also presented the Independent Way project as an option. His sense was there had been discussions amongst people in advance of that meeting. The temperature of the room at that meeting was that a bicycle/pedestrian/emergency vehicle bridge would score far less with them than the Independent Way project. That is no surprise to him but is disappointing. Fleury explained we would have to submit a new application for transfer of the grant funding ($1,500,000) over to the Independent Way project. If the RVCOG supports it, then it would go to the RVMPO and they would decide if those grant funds will be reallocated. Young said the Greenway Board is also a potential for funding. They were present at the RVCOG meeting and there was a lot of discussion at that meeting. Fleury said the Greenway Board is very supportive of that connection. Newberry asked if this could be added on a future agenda rather than keep the people in the audience who are here for the next agenda topic waiting.
 
Newberry would like to have the support of the rest of the commissioners to work with Public Works on the Iowa Street Safety Concern issue. She would like to maybe do something like a walking audit, where they would go out there and observe. She doesnít want to have to wait until school starts to fix the problem. Fleury said part of the problem with school starting is the car counts for turn movements, the rest of it will begin when the new budget year starts. Newberry said she understood and would like to be involved in that process. The commission supported the idea.
 
Barth asked about the Sidewalk Clearance and Vegetation Maintenance item. He said they were previously told there was going to be an app for that and he wondered if that had taken place. Fleury said there is an App called My Ashland which you can submit complaints through. 
 
OLD BUSINESS
Pilot Residential Parking Permit System for Gresham Street
Savannah Randall, 810 Park Street
She shared that she isnít a resident of Gresham Street but she does spend a lot of time on the street, as her Professor Craig Wright lives there. When she first moved to Ashland she lived across the street from AHS and she experienced a lot of congestion during the day but it tended to loosen up in the evening and during school breaks. In her opinion, if you are a homeowner you shouldnít have that struggle every single day.
 
Donna Wright, 1274 Munson Drive
Her grandson lives here and over the years she has seen how horrible it is to try to park nearby.  She spoke about something as simple as having small children and trying to unload groceries while parked four blocks away. And other things like taking your child to school while the weather is bad, and the sidewalk is icy. If there was room to put a driveway in, her son Craig would have already done that. She feels people ought to be able to park within a reasonable distance to their house. She doesnít think this residential parking program will be harmful to anybody.
 
Craig Wright, 25 Gresham Street
His intent isnít to reiterate what he has already said. He thanked the commission for considering this. He wanted to take a moment to acknowledge Teri Disilva who is currently ill (she served the Ashland Police Department for many years).
 
This isnít a matter of convenience for his family, it isnít an issue they can speak of in idealistic terms and he doesnít think they can afford to look at it that way. It affects them each and every day, it is a basic necessity in life. He believes the community should try to provide for their residents. The library has designated parking spaces, a bike rack, is centrally located and even has a bus stop. He said he is getting older and plans to retire in ten years and he doesnít know how he will feel then. The stories such as the difficulty with unloading groceries, arenít exaggerations. He feels like he is being encouraged to drive more because he spends an extra 15-30 minutes per day driving just to find a place to park. He feels this is an opportunity to do something that is very low cost. He really wants to speak as highly as possible but he has been dealing with this for twenty-three years now and for twenty-three years now he has been asking for a solution. He has done all he can, even going without a vehicle for several years before having children.
 
Colin Swales, 143 8th Street
He said this has been a long, ongoing problem. He owned property at 461 Alison Street since 1995. He was surprised when he found out about this because he didnít receive notice of this and yet he is in that immediate area. He said this all started when the library was re-zoned from residential to downtown commercial and thus not requiring off street parking, which allowed them to quadruple the size of the library and cut the parking. His memory of it is that they were going to try to have parking on both sides of Gresham Street and then they found that it was too narrow to do that. At the time the Planning Director (Mac) unofficially designated the north side of Alison Street as defacto library parking, which is what in fact happens with at least two-thirds of the block. He said it isnít just library patrons that come and go, it is library staff as well. He knows the situation that Craig is in and he fully supports this idea. He is just interested to see how this works out and possibly if it can be extended into the other neighborhoods that suffer from the downtown congestion. One of the things that could be done, is to possibly offer an incentive to downtown employees to park in the parking garage, rather than on the residential streets. He requested that any future discussion of this by either the Transportation Commission or the City Council be noticed to the residents on Alison Street and also Union Street.
 
Christina Hubbard, 850 Blackberry Lane
She used to live on Gresham Street. She shared with the commission that she appreciates them considering this. She feels it is wonderful for the commission to consider a localís need. The people who live on Gresham Street pay a premium to buy their homes and to keep them up to historical standards. It seems like they do their part to keep their houses looking the way the City wants them to look but it isnít right for them to have to work so hard to just be able to come and go. She spoke about this past winter with all the snow and ice that we got and how difficult that is for the aging residents in that neighborhood who have to park blocks away.
 
Young feels there are two issues here. One, is specifically related to Craigís issue. He feels there is some level of service that is owed to him if there is absolutely no off street parking option. He feels that is legitimate. The issue for him is he wonders if you can do an individualized thing as a pilot. He thinks we can do a pilot for a particular residence on a request basis, if it is allowed. He remembers exactly what Colin Swales described with the changes to the library parking. He shared that the Downtown Parking Committee started to look at a residential parking permit program and thatís when everything got tense, and things got pushed off. That parking plan got voted down by Council. With that said, he thinks we should look at individual requests, based on a residence having no off street parking.
 
Newberry isnít sure that it is practical given what Diamond Parking said at the first meeting she isnít sure how feasible and practical it is. If we have something that isnít enforced, itís useless. She feels it is more enforceable if we have the five spaces. She is concerned about the letter opposing this, which was just handed out and inserted here into the record. The resident is concerned about pushing the vehicles further up Gresham. She would anticipate if this was done as a pilot project to see how it worked, that there would be parameters set but she believes we will have requests coming in from nearby residents very quickly. We need to be careful because whatever is decided for this situation is likely going to determine what happens for residential permits. She thinks we may want to consider limiting the number of permits per household but not limit the people that would be eligible, that way residents along Gresham, Alison and Union could apply, and limit the permits to two per household (no off street parking) or one per household (off street parking). She believes we should do this as a pilot and if it doesnít work then we will know what doesnít work about it, which will give us a foundation to improve. We need to approach it very carefully and approach it as a new pilot program.
 
ViŤville feels it is important to be able to be close to where you want to get to, especially if you have an illness or develop a disability at some point in life.
 
Barth thinks some sort of permit system is overdue and he is hoping this will maybe effect metered parking downtown. He thinks the five spaces that were presented at the first meeting, is a good place to start.
 
Graf agrees with Young and is fully supportive of doing one or possibly two spaces for Craig, but he is not supportive of starting the precedent of giving ďfree reserved parkingď to everybody who feels they donít have adequate off-street parking.. He supports the situation that the Wrightís are in and he supports supplying one space for them but he doesnít think we should supply five spaces just because it is easier for Diamond Parking or because that is the block section.
 
Fleury pointed out when he and Faught first went out there they talked about installing a driveway in the front yard so there was dedicated parking. If a driveway was installed, per our standard, he could take up thirty feet of frontage which would equate to almost two parking spaces there. If he were to do that you would lose more spaces than you would gain by having the off street parking in front of his home.
 
Wright informed the commission that he attended every one of the library meetings pleading his case about how it was going to affect parking and he was reassured about how it was going to be ok.
 
Newberry m/ move forward with a pilot project that would create the five spaces on Gresham as a pilot project that would run 6-12 months. At six months, at a minimum, the pilot program would be evaluated.
 
Motion died sue to lack of second.
 
Young/ViŤville m/s due to compelling circumstances and lack of off-street parking the Commission requests Council approve the provision of one reserved parking space in front of 25 Gresham Street for use by the homeowner, to be reviewed after one year.
 
All ayes. Motion passes.
 
FOLLOW UP ITEMS
None
 
INFORMATIONAL ITEMS
Action Summary
Accident Report
Officer MacLennan went over the accident report for March and April and they discussed a few of the accidents listed.
 
Officer MacLennan spoke regarding the residential parking issue. This was something that was brought up to him about six months ago by the Director of SOU Security who would like to come and speak to the commission in the near future. SOU just purchased a program that uses a license plate reader and his theory is that his students shouldnít be bothering residents that are surrounding the school. The residentís license plates would be saved in the system and if they have visitors, you can go on any smart phone and add the plate info to the system (or call in). He thought this might be something we want to look at if we do venture into more residential parking permits.
 
Officer MacLennan shared he had a complaint about parking on Tolman Creek, just above Siskiyou Blvd. (County roadway). The road is narrow and people tend to park along the shoulder, and there arenít any no parking signs. He said he wasnít sure there would be anything that could do about enforcement because it is a county road. He passed the information along to Fleury.
 
Officer MacLennan spoke regarding the issue with Iowa Street. He said Karl Johnson (Engineering) did a speed study and the average speed was 22.4 mph, there isnít a speed issue up there. We need to remember when they are talking about these crashes that are happening, these crashes are due to intoxication. There is a blind spot issue with the power pole on the SE corner of Garfield.
 
Officer MacLennan mentioned that is just so happened that Washington/Ashland got brought up today because he had two crashes out there today involving U-turns. ODOT has talked to him and want him to enforce U-turns out there and he has asked them to install signage and they have said no. 
 
Making an Impact Newsletter (May)
 
COMMISSION OPEN DISCUSSION
 
FUTURE AGENDA TOPICS
 
Next Meeting Date: July 20, 2017
 
ADJOURNMENT
Meeting was adjourned at 8:27 p.m.
 
Respectfully submitted,
Tami De Mille-Campos
Public Works Administrative Supervisor
 
 

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