Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Minutes
Wednesday, March 06, 2002

MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
March 6, 2002 -12:00 p.m.
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

CALL TO ORDER
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 12:00p.m.

ATTENDANCE
Councilors present: Laws, Hearn, Morrison, Hartzell and Reid. Staff present: City Administrator Greg Scoles, Public Works Director Paula Brown, Communication & Marketing Manager Ann Seltzer, and Fire Chief Keith Woodley.

1. Discussion and final review of plans for Siskiyou Boulevard and Highway 66.

Public Works Director Paula Brown gave an overview of the current status of the Siskiyou Boulevard and Highway 66 design project, noting that some decisions are "still in the making," while some decisions are already made. She explained that the primary goal is safety, adding 6-ft. bike lanes, and providing pedestrian crosswalk safety. She noted that the median changes that will occur are for safety purposes and that in landscaping, conservation methods will be considered, including the use of native grass mixes. The best scenario for crosswalks, would be to use different types of surfacing and zebra striping. Brown explained that there are alternatives available if property owners are uncooperative in making recommended changes.

She briefly outlined the following:

  • A pull out for the Fire Station, either with a mountable curb or at grade. No planted material there to enable exits via a left-hand turn onto Siskiyou.
  • A new, timed signal at Safeway.
  • Extend the median and block left-hand turn movements for Harrison, Liberty Street, University Way, and Avery Street.
  • Create an actual driveway access at Info Structure.
  • Continued discussion with property owners regarding Triangle Park/Beach Street/Morton Street realignment. It will require signal work, provide left turns up Beach, and full access on Morton.
  • Block off Liberty Street, keeping sidewalk access and possibly relocating a bus stop.
  • Existing signal will stay at Mountain with improvements and median changes.
  • Landscape and median changes in the University District (Mountain Avenue to Ashland Street) that could be changed as necessary based on future development in that area. Discussion has been held with the University on consolidating driveways.
  • On Highway 66 to Walker Street, the signal at 66 will operate the same but have a dual left off of Siskiyou Blvd and one through lane going South on Siskiyou. The single lane from Walker will widen as it approaches Hwy 66 intersection, providing bike lanes, shorter crossings for pedestrians, a turn lane, and a median.
  • Recommendation to cut out some median on the Highway 66 to Faith Avenue section in order to accommodate big truck turns while providing pedestrian safety.
  • Continuing efforts to resolve conflict with property owners concerning driveway access.
  • Recommend removal of one of two driveway accesses at Miller Paints, and the driveway on the south side of Wiley's World.
  • Consider signal timing for safer pedestrian crossing at Walker Street intersection.
  • Considering the possibility of removing one of Klamath Bank's driveways.
  • Mobile home Park - recommend relocating driveway access.
  • At the Wendy's location, recommend a median with a left-hand turn pocket into the shopping center.
  • Add pedestrian crossing at Lit Way. Consider various pedestrian safety options in the crossing, including pedestrian actuated lights.
  • Recommend installation of a traffic signal at Normal Avenue. Need to determine ownership.
  • Recommend removal/consolidation of driveway accesses at several businesses from Ray Lane to Clay Street.
  • Add median past Clay Street in order to slow traffic coming down the hill.

Engineers explained that construction phases are now being considered and how traffic might best be accommodated. It was proposed that the most workable plan is to begin in the middle of the street, closing down the inside lanes in both directions, and coordinate the timing of the work with consideration of Fourth of July parade and school schedules. Brown noted the requirement for completing work on Highway 66 by May of 2003. Mayor mentioned the possibility of countdown timers for crosswalks.

Brown noted that ODOT has approved desired changes for Gresham Street/East Main intersection, giving $500,000 for this section of the project. She explained that impact studies have been done for this area and outlined possible changes for Gresham Street including making it one-way down, pedestrian improvements, and optimizing parking.

Hartzell questioned the location of a crosswalk in front of the Fire Station. Brown clarified that it will ultimately be signalized and handle Library traffic. Reid spoke on the timing issues in regards to Fire trucks navigating in areas of proposed changes. Brown noted that the issue will be looked at and ideas concerning circulation and timing would be brought back to the council. Brown recognized conservation issues, which including planting with native grass mixes requiring less water.

Eric Navickas/711 Faith Avenue/Spoke of his perception that the plan dislocates traffic along Siskiyou while having potential negative impact on back street and ally traffic. He suggested conducting an analysis of impacts on neighborhoods. He also noted that streamlining traffic flow along Siskiyou could increase the speed of traffic entering the downtown area.

Morrison noted the major dislocations that would occur during the construction phase and expressed his hopes that a comprehensive communications plan would be put in place. Communication & Marketing Manager, Ann Seltzer, clarified that a draft communication plan is already in place. Laws noted that this is an opportunity to initiate a meaningful shuttle service in town.

Brown clarified that the decisions requiring compromise would be brought back to council for direction and noted that the only deeded access downtown is Puck's. It was noted that the council should focus, not only on what residents want right now, but what the residents in the future will need in terms of traffic and pedestrian safety and livability in the long term. Brown suggested a public meeting in during the first week of April to allow more public input. Mayor suggested that along with regular noticing of the meeting, that physical noticing is done to ensure that all residents are made aware of the meeting.

Brown noted that the rest of the project would be brought to the council on April 16th. Mayor noted that April 4th is the next Traffic Planning Advisory Commission meeting.

Meeting was adjourned at 1:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,  Barbara Christensen, City Recorder

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