City of Ashland, Oregon / Commissions & Committees / Bicycle & Pedestrian Commission

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Bicycle & Pedestrian Commission
December 16th, 2004
Regular Minutes

Roll Call

Members present: Chair Lexi Delgado
Vice Chair Brad Knickerbocker
David Chapman
Julia Sommer
Dylan Robbins
Tracy Bungay
Tom Marvin
John Hinke
Council Liaison: John Morrison
Staff: Derek Severson, Assistant Planner
Tom Cook, APD Officer
RVTD Liaison: Paige West, RVTD/TDM Planner
High School Liaison: Cory Lescher (absent) SOU Liaison: Phil Clarke (absent)


Call to Order
Delgado called the meeting to order at 5:15 p.m.

Approval of Minutes November 18th, 2004
Robbins/Bungay m/s to approve the minutes of November 18th as presented. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Public Forum
Delgado introduced Rachel Teige, Recreation Superintendent from the Ashland Parks & Recreation Department. Teige noted that she had been living in Ashland for three months now, and discussed the Department's work in conducting fall bicycle programs. She noted that the program had included bike repair and trail rides, and a maintenance class was planned for the spring. She noted that they were looking at bike and skateboard safety classes, and that they had publicized programs in their program guide but were looking for suggestions on how to reach a wider audience.

Teige noted that the Parks Department would be conducting this year's Bike Swap, and added that they hoped there would be a lot of volunteers from the commission. She emphasized that the Parks Department would be handling logistics and promotions and welcomed any feedback. Members discussed setting a date for the Bike Swap, and suggested that Teige consider May 7th, 2005.

Teige noted that a bike rodeo was being considered as a summer or fall event. West noted that she had discussed skateboard safety classes with Joy Bannon in Parks, and she added that such classes might be added into future bike safety efforts. Teige emphasized that she welcomed program ideas, and added that the Department was trying to broaden the scope of its recreational program offerings. She pointed out that efforts were being made to partner with both the University and the YMCA to avoid duplication while increasing offerings. Delgado suggested more family programs. Robbins suggested a recurring bike maintenance program. Teige also noted that the new dirt jump park was a Parks Department program.

Senior Project Discussion
Delgado noted that Paul Clay, a senior at Ashland High School, was present and looking for senior project ideas. Clay explained that his aim was to find an idea that tied in with encouraging a car free lifestyle. He noted that he would like to work to make Fridays an official Bike & Walk Day.

Delgado suggested two ideas for consideration: 1) an elementary school presentation/show for an assembly; 2) a "Who Rides/Who Strides" related project involving the production of a book previously discussed by the commission or preparing a "Who Rides" program focusing on the High School. Bungay referred Clay to the Massachusetts-based Liberty Cabbage Revival performance group, their non-motorized circus and their "Oiligarchy" theatrical production. (on the web see:
     http://www.indybay.org/news/2003/06/1621663.php?theme=2 )

Bungay added that Safe Routes mapping might be something to consider as well. Robbins noted that color coding street maps by traffic volume, slope, presence of bike lanes, etc. to help cyclists plan their routes would be a worthwhile project.

Chapman suggested focusing on interviewing parents to identify reasons that they prefer not to ride or let their children ride. Robbins added that a sociology-type project could be identifying community attitudes and looking at ways to positively change habits.

Hinke suggested that an interesting project would be a day in life of bicycling Ashland, in the form of a series of photos taken at a busy trail intersection over the course of one day.

Council Goals
Members discussed their goal suggestions and arrived at the following list of recommendations:

----- 1) Car Free Day Downtown Street Closure - International Car Free Day has become an official program of the European Union and the United Nations, and is celebrated by over 100 million people in over 1,500 cities around the world. Car Free Day will be observed on September 22nd, 2005. The Ashland Bicycle & Pedestrian Commission would like to make Car Free Day a large-scale event in Ashland on par with the Fourth of July and Halloween. Planning is already underway in cooperation with RVTD, and the Commission's hope is to close a portion of the downtown to motor vehicle traffic and stage an all day event with parades, exhibits, live music, RVTD shuttle service, and sidewalk sales to demonstrate that there is a viable alternative to the car culture and that the downtown could be greatly enlivened by getting people out of their cars. The Commission requests the Council's endorsement of and support for this event, and that successfully carrying out this event be made a Council goal for the coming year.
2) Improved Transit Service - The Commission would like to see further improvements to Ashland's transit service as a Council goal, with RVTD service increased to every 15-minutes for all Ashland routes, expanded weekend and evening service, and a study to look into how to successfully provide mass transit for a low density area. The Commission feels that the Rogue Valley Council of Governments (RVCOG) would be an excellent resource to explore how to successfully operate a low-density mass transit system, with Ashland to serve as a model.
3) Downtown Plan Update - The Commission requests that the Council commit to the development and adoption of a new Downtown Plan this year, to include bicycle lanes, increased bicycle parking, and improved pedestrian amenities.

Other goals discussed included a no-spitting ordinance, development of a bike routes map, adding sidewalks on Hersey Street, working to phase-in more environmentally friendly hybrid or bio-diesel vehicles into the city fleet, easement acquisition for bicycle and pedestrian through-ways/trails, and taking a harder line on speed control within the city by hiring another traffic officer and strictly enforcing speed limits.

Car Free Day Planning
Severson noted that permitting for the closure was all handled through the state. He pointed out that city regulations limit any closures to no more than six hours, and added that the state may have more stringent limitations. He stated that he had called and requested they fax or email forms and closure details. He added that there would need to be details of times, dates, alternate routes to be used, and etc. He recommend getting the business community to buy-in, and seeking support from the City Council and Ashland Police Department before proceeding with an application.

Members discussed their hopes of staging an event to get citizens more used to street life. There was discussion of a postering campaign, and getting the Chamber of Commerce and the Parks Department involved. The event date was discussed, and members questioned whether another day might work better for the merchants. The visibility of the event on a workday was noted as a positive element, and it was noted that even drivers witnessing people changing their routines might be positively affected. There was discussion of staging a subcritical mass ride or a "courteous mass" ride.

ODOT Poster Giveaway
West noted that she would order posters.

Creating a Calendar
Members discussed the need to include Car Free Day, the Bike Swap, the Spring Thaw, and any Parks-related cycling events. It was noted that members would like this linked to the city calendar on the city's website. Severson stated that if members would email dates to him, he would compile an initial draft of the calendar for member review.

Who Rides?
Delgado stated that she would be interviewing Dale Rooklyn, and added that she had a list of other potential interviewees. Robbins noted that he would interview Craig Anderson. It was noted that BTA's Brad Jones might be a good candidate to feature in an article as he collects bikes and donated parts and ships them to Cuba.

West asked if all of those interviewed could be considered for the RVTD Transportation Hero award. After discussion, it was agreed that all future interviewees would be asked if they were willing to be considered for this honor.

Subcommittee Reports
Robbins and Delgado noted that they were working on the SprocKids program in subcommittee and would report back with details. Delgado added that she mentioned the program to Teige and she was interested.

It was noted that the Car Free subcommittee would be meeting on the third Thursday of every month at 4:00 p.m. before the regular meeting, and on the first Thursday of every month at 3:30 p.m. at the Library. Severson noted that the meeting room was already reserved for another meeting prior to the January 20th meeting and would be unavailable.

New Business
Chapman noted that the Traffic Safety Commission was again looking at the intersection of Oak and B Street based on this commission's recommendation last month.

Members discussed the placement of bus shelters at Ashland High School, and West suggested that the planner at RVTD could look at the possibility.

West discussed her research into skateboard safety programs. She noted that there are as many as 50,000 skateboard injuries each year in the U.S., and added that one third of these are new riders. She emphasized the importance of enforcing helmet requirements. She also noted that a number of communities on the East Coast offer safety courses through their Parks & Recreation departments. She explained that they use either certified instructors or interns, and that they usually offer these courses in a series. She noted that she had prepared a letter to the Ashland Parks & Recreation Department requesting similar classes in Ashland.

Delgado/Robbins m/s to endorse West's letter to the Parks & Recreation Department. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Agenda Items for Next Month
Car Free Day 2005

Adjournment
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:55 p.m.

Next Meeting: Thursday, January 20th, 2004


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