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Transportation Commission

Minutes
Thursday, April 23, 2015

ASHLAND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
MINUTES
APRIL 23, 2015
 
 
 
CALL TO ORDERChair David Young called the meeting to order at 6:02 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.
 
Commissioners Present:  David Young, Joe Graf, Corinne Viéville, Danielle Amarotico, Alan Bender and Shawn Kampmann

Commissioners Absent: None

Staff Present:  Mike Faught, Scott Fleury, Brandon Goldman, Bill Mollnar, Tami De Mille-Campos, and Whitney Dennis

Council Liaison Present:  Michael Morris (absent)
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
Chair Dave Young welcomed and introduced new commissioner Danielle Amarotico.  Amarotico explained her background as working at Standing Stone, a restaurant and brewery in Ashland, for the last 18 years and an Ashland community member for the last 20 years.   Chair Young also welcomed and introduced new administrative support City staff member, Whitney Dennis. 
 
CONSENT AGENDA
Approval of Minutes – February 26, 2015
 
No objections noted; minutes were unanimously approved
 
PUBLIC FORUM
Jan Vidmar of 320 Meadow Drive - Handout was distributed to discuss the Normal Avenue project area (attached Exhibit A).  Vidmar spoke to the crowding on East Main and the difficulty of getting onto Ashland Street from Clay Street without stop signs. The photographs within the attachment represent the troubles.  She advocated for changes to Normal Avenue and East Main.  Vidmar highlighted prior flooding on Clay Street as a concern. She mentioned that she is also speaking on behalf of Brice Anderson, who was not in attendance.   
 
NEW BUSINESS
Normal Ave. Neighborhood Discussion
Brandon Goldman, City of Ashland Planning & Bill Mollnar, Community Development Director – Goldman began his presentation with a brief summary of the review process that has taken place with the Normal Neighborhood Plan (NNP) explaining the following:
  1. The Transportation Commission reviewed the NNP close to a year ago.
  2. The NNP was then given to the Working Group, comprised of two (2) Planning Commissioners and three (3) City Councilors.  The Working Group made revisions to the transportation system within the plan.  
  3. Upon City Council’s review of the revised NNP on December 2, 2014, the Council recommended that all revisions of the Working Group be reviewed by both the Planning Commission and the Transportation Commission before being considered for the final approval process with the City Council.
 
Goldman displayed a diagram of the existing major connections within the current Transportation System Plan (TSP) before revisions (presentation attached Exhibit B).  Goldman described the first modification to the existing TSP, as a request to modify the plan by adding East Main Street back into the planning.  Goldman reviewed the history of the existing TSP, showing the original land use and street framework.
 
Goldman outlined the recommendation of the Transportation Commission in November 2013, explaining that the Transportation Commission requested that the East and West connections of the development be eliminated, with only one connection remaining to East Main. Mike Faught, Public Works Director explained that in 2013 he did not agree with only having one connection to East Main and followed through with that recommendation to the Planning Commission in 2013.
 
Goldman explained that in April 2014, there were recommendations by the Planning Commission to include improvements along East Main from Walker to Clay Street to include bike lanes and sidewalk on the south side prior to any annexation or development.  Additional example recommendations were presented including a future transit stop being located adjacent to the higher density zone on East Main and a railroad crossing at Normal Avenue with the following conditions:
  1. Additional crossing can be created without closing original crossing in town
  2. A finance plan must be developed and approved by City
 
Goldman reviewed the recommendations of the Working Group as the following:
  1. East Main Street should be maintained with bike lanes, sidewalks, gutters, concurring with the recommendation of the Planning Commission
  2. Multiple connections be made to East Main
  3. Standardized grid with more alignment with East and West connections
  4. Bicycle and pedestrian pathways developed
  5. Railroad crossing be improved to be in concert with development
 
Goldman continued with a before and after slide and described traffic flow and the framework.  He also warned that the location of the streets could shift as development begins. There was continued explanation of how the street and land use framework can change and how the two can influence one another. He explained that more new east/west connections that run through the property have been recommended.
 
Goldman described the changes to the land use density areas.  He described that the changes in densities were chosen to mirror other areas Single Family and Multi residential use zones around the City.  Young asked for clarification on what the expectation of the Transportation Commission is in regards to the amended plan. Goldman explained that comments and recommendations from the Transportation Commission are needed in regards to the presented revisions.   Faught spoke about the information provided in the packet and explained financing options with the proposed revisions. Additional examples of the Working Group’s recommendations were given, including description of the phased approach to development, railroad crossing information and the recommendation of full improvements upon connecting to East Main.  
 
Kampmann asked for clarification to describe when East Main would need to be fully developed based on developing progress on Normal Avenue. Faught answered that full development would need to occur when any other road is connected into East Main. Faught continued with the financing options and Goldman described additional grading and connections for the first phase. Discussion continued around the financing options and the phasing of development.
 
 
 
Young stressed that there should have been a Transportation Commissioner as part of the original Working Group to give input on the revised plan earlier on in the process.  Young recognized the rights of the property owner to develop but voiced concerns about the high density housing location affecting the revised plan.  Kampmann advocates for the project to be done as one project and not in phases based on System Development Charges (SDC) due to the unknown timeline and disjointed patchwork that can accompany multi phased construction affecting the aesthetic quality of East Main.  Graf questioned the process going forward. Faught clarified the process, explaining that in order for the revised plan to be approved, there needs to be an amendment to the TSP.  A full recognition from the Transportation Commission, Planning Commission, and the Working Group to accept the revised Normal Neighborhood Plan as an amendment to the TSP would go forward to City Council for approval.
 
The Commission discussed proposing a formal motion to include areas from Walker to Clay Street on East Main. Discussion continued about approving the plan as it exists or adding input to changes.  The group continued to discuss the effects of parking options, shared streets and local streets.
 
MOTION: Accept the presented revised plan as an amendment of the TSP with the following conditions: 1 :) Should the development occur along East Main, at a minimum, a sidewalk is to be developed between Walker and Clay Street. 2 :) Should the development occur along the railroad tracks, at a minimum, the railroad crossing needs to be completed.
 
DISCUSSION:  Graf discussed amending the motion to read multi-use path instead of sidewalk.   De Mille-Campos asked for additional clarification of motion.  Graf described the intention of the motion was to provide safe access for pedestrians, especially school children if development was approved.  Amarotico questioned if the improvements were to go beyond Walker to Clay and expand to Tolman Creek.   After clarification, the group agreed to at a minimum of Walker to Clay Street.  
 
Graf motioned / Viéville seconded.  The motion was passed unanimously.
 
MOTION:  Full street improvements are to be completed for East Main prior to any development creating access along East Main.
 
Kampmann motioned / No second.  The motion died for lack of second.
 
Downtown Plan Discussion
Faught presented the Downtown Parking and Multi-Modal Circulation Plan explaining the multi-modal connection system and spoke about the traffic systems, extension of the existing road diet, additional loading zones and the medians that would be present. Faught presented a draft of the plan and highlighted that there are currently no bicycle lanes through the core of downtown.   Faught continued with the proposal, explaining that the new plan would make the final connection of the bike lanes through the downtown core.   The proposal outlined extending the road diet, from North Main to Siskiyou Blvd removing the Helman Street traffic signal and placing a rapid flash pedestrian beacon in its place Faught highlighted the additional details in the plan:
 
  1. Clear bike lane to be created on North Main going south into town.  
  2. Clear bike lane to be created on Lithia Way going towards Medford
  3. Advanced signage to prompt a divide of the traffic and bike lanes into left and right lanes allowing the dedication of the right lane for all northbound through traffic and the left lane for downtown oriented traffic.
 
Faught discussed truck parking in the plaza.  He described a traffic accident that occurred due to the current street loading practices.   Faught described creating an ordinance that would prevent trucks from parking anywhere to unload.  Temporary loading zones were discussed.  Faught explained that he has met with several trucking companies to discuss loading needs.   
 
Faught continued to describe the plaza area.  He detailed sidewalk restructuring that would save the trees within the plaza; include a new bike lane, and the relocation of the current bus stop. He outlined that at the crossing of East Main from Oak there would be a multi-use path that would provide transit into the plaza.
 
Faught briefly outlined newly proposed traffic signals to be placed at Oak Street, East Main and Lithia Way.  The design would include one truck loading zone on each side of the street for every block.  This plan would displace twenty-one (21) parking spots to accommodate the loading zones and bike path.  Graf questioned what the restricted parking enforcement would look like.  Faught explained that the City would work with Diamond Parking to also monitor the proposed parking restrictions.  Viéville questioned if parking spaces would be removed within the plaza to accommodate the bike path.  Faught outlined that the parking spaces would remain, and the current right-of-way allows enough space for a modified sidewalk.
 
Amarotico asked for clarification about time limits on loading zone designation. Faught explained that the designation currently is set to end at 4pm, maximizing parking spaces.  Faught explained that the designation may change to an earlier time.  Faught is also recommending an ordinance to the City Council to address the no loading or double parking on East Main. Faught recommended applying with the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) to assist with funding of the project. He explained that the letter of interest is due in the next month or so, and that applications are due in August.   Faught acknowledged that he is going to move forward with the application process noting that at anytime if the plan is not approved that the application can be withdrawn.  
 
Fleury added that the new proposed lights at Oak/Lithia/East Main will be synced with the downtown core of lights with audible pedestrian signals.   Concern of the liquor store driveway by Lithia Way was discussed, with the following details:
  1. ODOT is redesigning a new location and is working with the property owner
  2. Property owner has requested to have designated 30 minute parking spaces for his business
 
Amarotico commented about how exciting the project is and that it is major for Ashland.
 
Downtown Beautification Project Discussion
Fleury highlighted a new safety improvement at the corner of Winburn to replace the pedestrian bench and add a bump out for visibility.  Graf cautioned that it may be premature to focus on beautification prior to the Downtown Parking and Multi-Modal Circulation Committee making a final recommendation on the Pioneer Parking Lot.
 
OLD BUSINESS
None
 
FOLLOW UP ITEMS
Council Presentation
Graf discussed presenting talking points provided by Fleury with no additional questions from City Council.
 
 
Audible Pedestrian Signals
Fleury outlined an update on the installation of the following signals:
  1. Walker Street signal has not been installed
  2. Main Street / Lithia has been installed
  3. 2nd Street/ Pioneer has been installed
Fleury explained that he will be ordering materials to finish the project.
 
INFORMATIONAL ITEMS
Traffic Crash Mapping
Fleury announced that the GIS department has developed a web application which will display traffic crash heat map and definitions.  According to Fleury, the application is still in the development stage, but a tutorial will follow at a later date.
 
COMMISSION OPEN DISCUSSION
None
 
FUTURE AGENDA TOPICS
Kampmann spoke of taking out future agenda items due to lack of interest from the Transportation Commission.  Kampmann stated he has added many future agenda topics which still remain on the list, such as: multi-modal public outreach & education, traffic on Siskiyou Blvd & 66, and a review of metering (traffic study).   Young explained that many of these items have been discussed and are going to be addressed at a later date. Fleury explained that a corridor study is slated for later depending on grant funding. He explained that the original corridor study was to include Sherman to Ashland, and Ashland to Walker but that funding prevented the pursuit of the study last year.
 
Bender spoke of some public outreach options. Young explained that a direction for public outreach or education is needed. Amarotico discussed the opportunity for outreach and education with the Downtown Parking and Multi-Modal Circulation Plan. 
 
Kampmann announced his resignation, noting that he has lived in Ashland his whole life and would like to see a commission that is little more diverse.  Young acknowledged his resignation and appreciated his service. Bender also appreciated his service and his knowledge of the City.
 
Young stated he would be out of town for the Mayor’s brown bag lunch on Friday, April 24th at noon. Graf said he would try to make it in Young’s absence.
 
ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 8:20 pm
 
Respectfully submitted,
Whitney Dennis, Administrative Assistant
 
 
Attachments: 
Exhibit A - Clay / East Main / Normal
Exhibit B - Normal Neighborhood Plan Presentation
 

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