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Transportation Commission

Minutes
Thursday, October 24, 2013

ASHLAND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION

MINUTES

OCTOBER 24, 2013

CALL TO ORDER:  Chair David Young called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.

 

Commissioners Present:  Joe Graf, Corinne Viťville (arrived at 6:08 pm), Shawn Kampmann, Craig Anderson, David Chapman and David Young

Ex officio Present:  Steve MacLennan

Staff Present:  Scott Fleury, Mike Faught and Tami De Mille-Campos

Council Liaison Present:  Carol Voisin

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

None

 

CONSENT AGENDA

A.  Approval of Minutes

August 22, 2013 - Unanimous approval

September 26, 2013 - Unanimous approval

 

PUBLIC FORUM

Matt Warshawsky, resident of 821 Indiana St. He spoke regarding the Indiana/ Wightman Street crosswalk agenda item.  He stated that he is currently a Commissioner on the Firewise Commission although he is not speaking on their behalf tonight. He stated that he feels the diagonal cross is a very out of the box way of thinking and applauds the commission for that but the reason for his comment tonight it that there are difficulties turning off of Indiana or Wightman onto Siskiyou. He said that this has been an issue for quite some time and he asked about it when he was on the commission and was told that due to the traffic timing a turn light couldnít be added because it would cause backupís at the Ashland Street intersection. Since then the timing of the lights has changed due to the crosswalk. He said a part of what is happening is there is an extra signal in there for left turns off of Siskiyou onto Indiana/Wightman. Thereís two-way traffic for awhile and then a cycle where it is just left turns or straight through and when the diagonal pedestrian traffic is going the left turn off of Siskiyou remains active. The left turn off Siskiyou is significantly long. He is requesting two things to help alleviate the left turn problem: consider removing the separate left turn part of the cycle that gets people off of Siskiyou & replace one with a separate left turn signal off of Wightman/Indiana & consider making two lanes on Indiana with the left most lane a left turn lane only and the right lane a straight through /right turn to increase the visibility.

 

Kevin Flynn, resident of 605 Elizabeth Avenue. He spoke regarding Drager/Otis Street. He stated there has been new construction down in Quiet Village which opened up Drager Street creating a 4-way intersection at Drager/Otis. Previously Northbound Drager ďTĒed into Otis causing traffic to slow down and negotiate the intersection but now that itís open to the new subdivision people arenít slowing down. His recommendation is a yield sign or a stop sign be installed on North Drager. Overall there is concern with vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists in the area. The bikes coming down the grade on Otis are susceptible to vehicle impact but he isnít sure what the solution is for that.

 

Staff stated that there is a stop sign southbound at Drager due to the conditions of approval for the subdivision but there wasnít any condition for northbound. Staff is currently working with a traffic engineer regarding the Orange Street/Drager Street/Laurel Avenue neighborhood area.

 

ACTION ITEMS

A.   Normal Avenue Neighborhood Plan

Chairperson Young reminded everyone that this is a continuation of last monthís discussion regarding consideration of the transportation elements of the Normal Avenue neighborhood plan process that is being undertaken by the Planning Department. Some of the transportation elements to consider are connectivity, multi modal, equity, and access to transit.

 

A presentation was given by Brandon Goldman; Senior Planner, and Bill Molnar; Community Development Director. Goldman noted as part of the Commissions experience with the TSP, looking at an integrated land use and transportation system has been necessary for the development of the plan.

 

He highlighted some of the areas where the integration of land use and transportation has been considered in terms of the layout of the street network, which calls for block lengths of 300-400 feet in length as a modified grid system. The streets are designed, consistent with the transportation element, for reduced speeds and to protect neighborhood streets from cut through traffic. The promotion of walking & biking was also identified in the plan to provide multi modal equity and safety for pedestrians and cyclists. He pointed out that the environmental constraints on the property (Clay Creek, Cemetery Creek and 3 designated wetlands) were also a consideration in the layout of the street network.   

 

Goldman spoke regarding the Normal Avenue neighborhood collector. The original TSP identifies Normal Street as a straight continuation of Normal Avenue from Ashland Street crossing over the railroad tracks and connecting to East Main Street. East Main was previously identified as a Boulevard and was modified in the TSP to be an Avenue. Clay Street was previously an Avenue and was modified to be a Neighborhood Collector. It was noted that both were downgrades due to reduced traffic loads.

 

In regards to land use integration, the location of the Neighborhood Collector (Normal Avenue), being moved to the East would serve the medium and higher density residential areas which also corresponds to adjacent to developable land. A neighborhood collector, as identified in the transportation element of the comp. plan, is appropriate for serving neighborhood serving commercial uses and there is a limited amount of it proposed in the plan. The design of the neighborhood collector includes two ten foot travel lanes. Parking was indicated on one side because the neighborhood collector, as proposed, on its Westside for nearly the entire length has a wetland and so the idea of having an additional parking lane and sidewalk when there is no development was a reason to limit the amount of pavement.

 

Residential collectors have 1500-5000 average vehicle daily trips (ADTís) and Normal Avenue was shown to have 1200-1500 through the draft future traffic analysis. The street design for Normal Avenue would be consistent from the railroad tracks to East Main Street to show it was the continuous street from one end to the other.

   

The Woonerf Street classification was discussed at the last meeting. After the last meeting they evaluated the distinction between the Woonerfs and the shared street. In both cases the idea was to put a small cross section (less pavement) adjacent to the wetlands/open space and to provide a pedestrian/cyclist amenity. Shared streets are 18í of improved surface where a Woonerf is 17í. Shared streets allow for a posted speed limit of 15mph which is consistent with what is trying to be accomplished in these areas.

 

The bus turn around area located at East Main and the driveway to Grace Point Church is a shared driveway, shared by the schools that drop off and pick up students. There is also a considerable amount of parking used for school functions. Per the plan a new local street would connect up to East Main. A Traffic Engineer will be used to analyze the intersection up to East Main Street. Traffic counts will be conducted for East Main and the existing driveway at peak hour & peak school hour. It was noted that intersection design is usually not taken on until development is occurring.

 

Mike Faught gave the Public Works staff prospective on this proposal. He stated that initially he was more inclined to follow the TSP and look at a straight shot but as he worked with planning staff and discussed where the development density is going to go it makes more sense for the Collector to follow the density. In the future when transit and multi modal aspects are added to the project it will be important to be as close to the high density as possible. Another thing that has become more agreeable to him is the location where Normal meets East Main. It generates more of a separation between Walker and Clay. There is concern over the two 90 degree turns and Scott Fleury has recommended possibly using roundabouts to help soften those turns.

 

         Commissioner Anderson asked about what was involved in the charrette process. Staff explained that the process began in October 2012. It was held over a three day course. The meetings were a 2 part process held at Ashland Middle School where all affected property owners were directly invited through direct mail and the charrette was also advertised in the City Source newsletter. Day 1 included property owners providing input and information about the area. On day 2 staff and the design team sat down and drew up some rough sketches of what it might look like; some ideas thrown out and other ideas refined. On day 3 they brought the concept plan back. In February, 2013 the draft plan came back. After that further refinements were made, the Planning Commission provided feedback, public testimony was provided, there were 2 different neighborhood meetings held. This resulted in another version of the plan which came out in June, 2013. After going before the Planning Commission again it was further refined which led to the September, 2013 version of the plan that was presented to the Transportation Commission in September.

 

         Commissioner Chapman asked if there was an easement for the extension of Normal to East Main. Staff explained that there is currently no easement. There is a small piece of property owned by the City but the rest is privately owned.

 

         Commissioner Graf asked as a developer comes in, how much flexibility they will have to re-negotiate the streets within this neighborhood. Staff stated that when a developer comes in it is anticipated that they will look to this plan for guidance in terms of final street location but they will be able to modify them based on the development proposal. Some constraints causing changes could be wetland delineation, hurdles with underground boulders etc. There will be a minor and a major amendment process established to go along with the code.

 

         Commissioner Graf asked staff to point out on the map (see attached) what is currently not annexed. Staff explained that anything that is colored on the map is not currently inside the City limits which basically none of the 94 acre development is annexed.

 

Staff stated that annexation is primarily developer driven and the Cityís annexation code is fairly in depth. It states in order to be annexed the property must run contiguous to the City limits. The zoning that you are requesting must be consistent with the Cityís comprehensive plan. Youíre required to provide City facilities to the property and sets minimum standards for doing improvements. All streets within the property being annexed or adjacent to the property being annexed are required to be constructed to City standards. In addition, before being annexed there is also a housing inventory requirement which must be met and an affordable housing requirement.

 

Staff stated that the developerís responsibility in regards to building the streets when they annex is if itís in the area being annexed or adjacent to the area then itís the developerís responsibility. If the street is an arterial or collector street, identified to serve a broader interest than just that project, then they may be eligible for some systems development charges (SDCís) to go towards upsizing that facility according to what is in the TSP and what has been identified in the SDCís. 

 

         Chair person Young wondered if these property owners decide not to annex and want to develop on their own what jurisdiction will they fall under. Staff explained that currently all of these properties are in the County and the Countyís regulations and road standards would apply.

 

Staff stated that an existing comprehensive plan does exist which would allow for a property owner to apply for annexation of that specific piece of property outside of the master plan but at that point it is a discretionary call made by the City Council.

         Commissioner Kampmann asked if there are contingencies in place for patch work development that could occur around people whom arenít interested in annexation. Staff explained that the proposal does address that with a 2 phased approach with phase 1 being around those interested in development. They stated that there isnít a market to absorb 450 units at one time so it would have to be metered in based on population growth and inventory levels.

 

It was reiterated that this isnít a project; it is a master plan which lays out a plan for future development.

 

Staff explained the benefit to having this plan in place is that it ensures that as patch work development occurs everyone knows where the streets are going to go. Without that the patch work is a concern, which makes this master plan important to this development.

 

Julie Matthews, resident of 2090 Creek Drive. She feels like a good majority of the high density percentage will be given to the developers who are interested in developing now, leaving less of a chance for those who may be interested down the road. She stated that her concern was more of a land use issue than a transportation issue but she wanted to voice her concern.

 

Bryce Anderson, resident of 2092 Creek Drive. He spoke regarding concerns that were addressed in his letter dated September 26, 2013 (see attached).

 

Sue De Marinis, resident of 145 Normal Ave. She spoke regarding an email that was sent to the Commission regarding an idea to re-zone the development differently (see attached).  

 

         Chair person Young pointed out that if they decided to recommend the plan, the TSP would need to be modified to reclassify Normal Ave.

 

Staff pointed out that all of the street standards being proposed are existing standards, there is nothing new being proposed.

 

         Commissioner Kampmann has some concern over the two 90 degree turns. Staff pointed out that it is something that could definitely be addressed. It was included in the plan as a means to slow traffic.

 

         Commissioner Graf expressed interest in wanting to see traffic counts on the streets connected to East Main.

 

         Commissioner Anderson doesnít think there has been enough consideration given to all the previous planning that has been done over the years in regards to Normal Avenue. He feels that the cherrette process gave undo weight to those directly affected by this plan. Financial impact needs to be given more consideration. The process with the railroad alone could be very time consuming. He stated that the update to the TSP has a lot of good language regarding how we can get development to fund transit but if itís not capital then itís hard to get development to pay for operating a transit. He said he doesnít see RVTD extending their transit just because there are more people living in that area. He referenced having researched the 1996 Transportation Element, the 1998 Transportation System Plan, and the 2005/2009/2013 Regional Transportation Plan.

 

         Commissioner Chapman stated that he doesnít like how this process occurred. He doesnít see why the connection should be made by Grace church. He does think that Normal should connect to East Main Street though. He thinks that there should only be 3 access points on East Main. He likes shared roads and thinks maybe [Normal] Ashland Street should be a shared street. He thinks itís important to make the rail connection to Normal, at least for bicyclists/pedestrians. He said he doesnít really see people using this as a cut through.

 

         The Commission feels like they need additional information and time to process everything. They would also like to see what this is going to cost. The Commission would like to hold a special meeting on November 14.

 

         Commissioner Anderson stated that his main concerns are what this is going to cost, how it will be paid for, how we can ensure that East Main is going to function acceptably, that connectivity will be consistent with adopted [objectives] objections, and that [existing] residents wonít be asked to pay for the impacts. He would like this to be provided prior to the special meeting.

 

Staff explained that they will provide information showing what is currently in the TSP, what is SDC eligible etc. They will also be very clear about what is developer specific. The East Main piece is a little more questionable and staff will have to get with the city Attorney to discuss that further.

 

Staff explained that the TSP outlines a plan to follow RVTDís long range plan. The TSP identified one new loop now, which is in their tier 2 long range plan. Staff will provide information on RVTDís long range tiers.

 

         Commissioner Anderson would like information on what the TSP referenced as a mechanism for funding operational costs.

 

Staff pointed out that the Planning Commission will be having a study session to review the ordinance that goes along with this plan on November 26 and they tentatively set December 10 for a final review of it provided that everyone has had an opportunity to provide feedback.

 

B.   November 28th & December 26th meeting dates

11/14/2013 special meeting (6:00-8:00) for continued discussion of Normal Avenue.

Viťville/Anderson m/s to schedule the special meeting as a continuation of tonightís meeting. All AYES. Motion passes.

 

11/20/13 regular November meeting (6:00-8:00) rescheduled due to Thanksgiving.

 

12/19/13 regular December meeting (6:00-8:00) rescheduled due to Christmas.

 

Voison left the meeting at 8:04 pm.

 

C.   Faith Avenue Traffic Calming

Fleury showed the Faith Avenue area on Google Street View. He stated that a new speed/volume study was conducted last week and actually showed speed/ADTís going down from the previous study. 25mph signs were installed in that area previously including minor improvements to Clay Street. Faith Avenue is identified in the new TSP to be a priority project for sidewalk connectivity and safe route to school as well as Clay Street itself. The realignment of Terra Avenue is also a TSP priority project in relation to Faith. They are currently in the unfunded category but staff will be searching for grant opportunities, such as the CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality) grant. Numerous people have recommended speed humps. Traffic humps are generally used to keep the speed under the speed limit throughout the corridor. However, there hasnít been evidence of the speed being above the 85th percentile. It was also recommended that ďshare the roadĒ signs and sharrows be added since there arenít sidewalks and staff feels like that could be a good solution.

 

Faught pointed out to the Commission that there is quite a bit of competition out there for the CMAQ grants and we may not be awarded for this project.

 

Fleury showed a picture of the intersection murals that are used in the Portland area.

 

The Commission asked if a traffic engineer looked at the intersection of Faith and Clay in any of the previous years that this was looked at. Staff stated that they didnít find anything to show that we had previously had a traffic engineer look at it.

 

Some of the Commissioners voiced concern with the over use of sharrows as they might lose their impact if overused. Other Commissioners donít see any harm in using the sharrows in this situation. Staff stated that sharrows would be considered on a case by case basis.

 

Viťville/Kampmann m/s to add ďshare the roadĒ signs & sharrows. Graf, Viťville, Anderson, Chapman and Young YES; Kampmann NO. Motion passes.

 

Viťville/Chapmann m/s to [recommend] amend that ODOT conduct a speed study on Ashland Street. Graf, Viťville, Anderson, Chapman and Young YES; Kampmann NO. Motion Passes.

 

The following items were set aside.

 

NON ACTION ITEMS

Walker Ave/Hersey St. sidewalk improvements

 

 FOLLOW UP ITEMS

A. APS homing sound/inconsistencies

B. Indiana St. & Wightman St. crosswalk

C. Idling ordinance

 

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS

A. Action Summary

B. Traffic Safety Connection September Newsletter

C. Traffic Crash Summary

D. Oregon Roads Newsletter

 

 COMMISSION OPEN DISCUSSION

               

 FUTURE AGENDA TOPICS

A. Orange Ave. corridor discussion

B. Transportation Safety Public Outreach 

C. SOU Multi-Modal Future

D. Lithia and 3rd Intersection Analysis

E. Iowa St. 20mph zone

 

ADJOURNMENT

Meeting adjourned at 8:23 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Tami De Mille-Campos, Administrative Assistant

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