ASHLAND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
November 16, 2017
CALL TO ORDER:
Graf called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.
Commissioners Present: David Young, Sue Newberry, Corinne Vièville, Dominic Barth, Joe Graf, Kat Smith
Commissioners Absent: None Council Liaison Absent: Mike Morris
SOU Liaison Present: Fred Creek
Staff Present: Scott Fleury, Taina Glick, Steve MacLennan, Tighe O’Meara
Approval of Minutes: October 26, 2017
Commissioners Barth and Young m/s to approve minutes as corrected.
All ayes. Minutes approved.
Chair departed from agenda to allow O’Meara and MacLennan to present first.
Commissioners sought clarification of police policy regarding issuance of citations, specifically for collisions involving cyclists or pedestrians. O’Meara described departmental policy and the importance of providing officers the ability to use judgement on a case by case basis when determining if the issuance of a citation is appropriate.
Newberry inquired about officers visiting schools to discuss safety. MacLennan indicated that officers have visited schools but not as frequently in recent years as in the past. Newberry wondered if bicycle officers will be reintroduced to the area. O’Meara stated that the program is not feasible currently but could be considered for reinstatement several years down the road.
Young asked if O’Meara had comments about distracted driving, especially related to screens and to discuss upcoming law related to driving with electronic devices. O’Meara and MacLennan described new legislation in effect. Young welcomed suggestions from O’Meara and MacLennan of ways the Transportation Commission (TC) can help. O’Meara stated his belief that a cultural shift is necessary to reduce electronic use while driving, citing change in beliefs regarding drunk driving.
Smith requested additional information regarding RVTD vs cyclist case. MacLennan suggested contacting him directly.
Newberry remarked on upcoming goal setting meeting and wondered if officers had suggestions of what the commission could do to increase safety or any specific areas the Transportation Commission should focus on. O’Meara did not have suggestions at the time, but indicated he would ponder it and get back to the commission prior to February.
Graf pointed out that use of the accident report by the TC made it a public document and felt that it has insufficient descriptions and highlighted inconsistent case treatment, making the TC and the Police Department look somewhat bad. Graf further wondered about if the TC needs to cease analysis of the report. MacLennan stated that some incidences where the driver was not cited may have been called in after the fact. Newberry and Young wondered if the report could include which were reported after the incident. MacLennan indicated that his narratives say “called in after the fact.” Young wondered if a code could be added to the report. Fleury will discuss adding that data with Lea Light.
CIP Storybook/Capital Project Prioritization
Fleury introduced CIP Storybook as a tool developed by staff to show current projects defined in all master plans. Storybook provides a visual representation showing overlay of projects enabling divisions to coordinate projects to increase efficiency. Fleury briefly outlined the functionality for staff, citizens, and franchisees, as well as the planned process of keeping information up to date. Vièville queried if Storybook could be used for citizens to find out current road or sidewalk closures. Fleury responded with current difficulties with the accurate reporting of all closures, but indicated how a citizen could obtain known areas of closure. Fleury will research ways to improve the availability of closure information to citizens. Fleury, Vièville, and Newberry discussed ADA requirements for sidewalk closures.
Action item list
Fleury informed commissioners that Paula Brown and Kim Parducci presented information to City Council on the following previously approved projects: N Main St refuge island, Crosswalks at Van Ness Ave and Nursery St, Left turn lane at Bush St., and signal removal at Helman St.
Fleury and Parducci plan to meet with the new Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) traffic manager to get final approval for crosswalks at N Main St at Van Ness Ave and N Main St at Nursery St. Fleury intends to have these crosswalks and the N Main St refuge island reduction bid as one project.
Parducci will perform a yearly, one-month analysis of the road diet, targeting a.m.-peak hours, likely in September. Fleury indicated there will be nothing related to the road diet for the TC to consider until the signal comes up.
Graf inquired about a turn pocket at Bush St and where the merge will occur. Fleury clarified that the merge will begin on the viaduct. Barth wondered where traffic lights would be located. Fleury remarked that Parducci recommended increasing the signal length at Helman intersection. Graf stated that the Helman light project can be removed from the action list until there is a downtown design.
Barth inquired about a bike lane on Lithia Way, starting at Pucks. Fleury indicated he does not know the exact plan and would need to look at the plan sets before responding. Barth described problems with striping of bike lane along N Main St from the railroad trellis toward downtown. Fleury stated he would contact ODOT about striping the area. Smith wondered if a phone number exists for citizens to report complaints.
FOLLOW UP ITEMS
Super sharrow project
Fleury presented information to commissioners about currently allowed FHWA sharrow designs, MUTCD recommended sharrow placement, maintenance concerns, and how the current allowances differ from the sharrows originally planned. Fleury and Parducci will seek ODOT approval for green box type sharrows under a pilot program which allows applicants to recommend the appropriate distance between painted boxes. Young described the need to help all road users understand appropriate sharrow use. Barth sought clarification about the likelihood of a bike lane instead of a sharrow project. Young reminded commissioners that the sharrows were suggested as a compromise after organized opposition to a downtown bike lane. He further elaborated that a bike lane could be reconsidered at the time of a new downtown redesign plan. Graf explained past difficulties with downtown redesign but believed that parking and bike lane will be considered in future redesign efforts but concluded that the road is too narrow. Young pointed out that Uber will be available soon and could ease parking issues. Fleury told the commission about attending a meeting related to Uber starting in the area and learned that Uber has had no effect on parking use in other cities. He further described concerns about drop offs and their effect on safety. Vièville inquired about how existing cab companies handle drop offs. Fleury indicated that cabs typically double park to allow for pick-ups and drop offs and that the volume of Uber users should be considered.
Vièville wondered if light at Water St would be a talking signal. Fleury indicated it would be.
Newberry requested that Siskiyou Blvd at Tolman Creek Rd be added to the task list, specifically improvement of angled and unsafe crosswalks. Fleury informed commissioners that surveys and schematic design have been done internally but not finalized. Fleury will add this intersection to the task list.
Transit Feasibility Plan Update
Solicitation for TFP is out and due back November 30 at 2:00pm. Fleury indicated that there has been a lot of interest and anticipates a good response. Grading process will begin after the 30th.
Iowa St Safety/Walking Audit
Fleury described the walking audit, who was present, and identified concerns. Parducci will follow up with a traffic study and corridor safety write-up. Officer MacLennan and Chuck Schweizer made contact with vision clearance code violators. Young described problems with reporting vegetation violations and questioned the best way to report concerns. Fleury indicated the street division should be contacted for such violations. Newberry complimented staff for doing a wonderful job and for summary of audit.
Graf reminded commissioners of the urgency of having the needed items and plan of action clearly defined at the next meeting. Newberry reminded commissioners to make sure their list of stakeholders is sent to staff.
Traffic Calming Program Development
Staff will begin working on brochure pamphlet, flow chart, and visuals to bring back to commission for approval before presenting to Council. Fleury is researching portable, battery-run radar signs that collect speed and time data. Fleury intends to obtain data from traffic tubes, then the signs for one month, followed by the tubes a second time. The intent is to see if driving habits change. Signs could be in place by next Spring and will work with PD as well as citizen reports to determine problem locations.
Newberry stressed the importance of a neighborhood meeting, not public hearing, to educate residents about traffic calming options early in the process. Young reiterated the importance of citizen input prior to decisions being made. Newberry suggested walking audits and cautioned about a one-size-fits-all approach to traffic calming.
Transportation Commission Code Language
Fleury provided a copy of draft revision. Newberry posed the question of increasing the scope of Transportation Commission advisory role especially as it related to Planning when on-street parking could be dramatically impacted. Commissioners discussed how they could be made aware of Planning Commission items. Smith conveyed the need to be proactive rather than reactive.
Barth called attention to page 1, section B, paragraph 2, line 5, word 5. This word should be “phrase” not phase.
Graf directed attention to the Sub-Committee, section A. It should read that the purpose of sub-committees is to focus on specific topics and advise the commission, enabling the commission to focus on broad transportation topics.
Graf advised commissioners to direct suggested changes to Fleury.
COMMISSION OPEN DISCUSSION
Newberry mentioned that she made a code violation report but did not receive a response. Fleury informed commission of staffing change and will request Street Division clean up leaves in the area of Hillview to Harmony. Newberry inquired about who sets signal at Walker and Siskiyou. Newberry described that the intersection used to have a hot call and the problem associated with changing it. Fleury indicated this is an ODOT controlled intersection.
Barth wondered if A St is scheduled for chip sealing in BN2019-21. Fleury indicated it is scheduled for rehab but if there is a specific area to email the details to him or Avram Biondo, street division supervisor. Fleury elaborated on the overlay of repairs in the area scheduled during BN2017-19.
Young remarked that drainage issues exist where the bike path intersects with Mountain Ave. He is encouraged to see people using Zagster bikes and reports flooding at the rack located at Safeway. Young urged commissioners to report issues as they are seen.
Graf reported that, at the mayor’s brown bag meeting, he informed the chair of the Planning Commission of difficulties the Transportation Commission has had especially with the E Nevada area and feeling blindsided because the street will never be a good street and the Planning Commission appears to be cutting slack to the developer. Additionally, public art commissioners were not happy about Smith’s painting project, feeling that their process for public art project approval had been circumvented. Fleury clarified that the aforementioned painting did not meet the criteria of public art. Graf stated the need for communication between commissions.
Vièville wondered about a street sweeping schedule and the feasibility of alerting residents so that cars can be moved. Fleury informed commissioners that the actual purposes of the city’s street sweeping program is to keep debris from the storm drain system to maintain TMDL compliance and to keep critical routes clean. At this time there is no way for staff to reasonably manage a program which eliminates street side parking on a schedule.
ADJOURNMENT: 8:12 p.m.
Public Works Administrative Assistant