MINUTES OF THE CITY COUNCIL STUDY SESSION
September 6, 2000
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Shaw called the meeting to order at 12:10 p.m.
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hanson, Wheeldon and Fine were present. Staff present included City Administrator Greg Scoles, Public Works Director Paula Brown, Community Development Director John McLaughlin, Fire Chief Keith Woodley and Code Enforcement Officer Adam Hanks.
PRELIMINARY PRESENTATION OF HOSLER DAM INUNDATION MAPS.
Public Works Director Paula Brown presented synopsis of Hosler Dam Inundation Maps. She explained the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requires any dam used for the production of electricity to have, as part of the Emergency Action Plan, a map of the inundation area in case of a catastrophic failure of the dam. The last inundation map was completed in 1993, and was only required for a full pool sunny day failure event. She explained the prior inundation map stopped at the edge of the City limits, and did not take into account the 200,000 cubic feet/section of water held by the dam. Brown explained the maps assume the worst, a catastrophic instantaneous and complete failure of the dam. She stated that at the public meeting, a 100-year flood situation will be used as a comparison to the dam breaking.
Brown stated the next step in this analysis is the notification procedure. The time it takes for the water to travel from the face of the dam, after an instantaneous break, to City Hall is only 9.4 minutes. She explained conventional warning systems are not practical. The only appropriate warning system is some type of siren or audible noise, but testing procedures have not worked. She stated the consultant is reviewing further options.
The maps, prepared in draft form by Harza Engineering, were presented as the first look of the overall impact of a catastrophic failure. Brown explained the two required scenarios; sunny day and flood stage analysis were satisfied; the first if the dam failed during a full pool fair weather period, and second, if the dam failed during flood times.
Brown explained the full project assesses the inundation areas and the seismic stability of the dam. The seismic analysis has been completed and staff is reviewing the document before forwarding it to FERC for approval. Staff is bringing this to the council for their information before it is presented to the public.
PRESENTATION OF REPORT FROM TRANSPORTATION, TRANSIT AND PARKING COMMISSION
Community Development Director John McLaughlin presented the Transportation, Transit and Parking Committee Draft Document to council for discussion. McLaughlin explained that the committee had met for the past five months to develop an integrated and comprehensive action plan meeting the demands in the community. Focus was placed on the three core areas initially identified by Council, Southern Oregon University and Ashland High School campuses and neighborhoods, Ashland Community Hospital neighborhood, and the Downtown area.
Chairperson for the committee, Alan DeBoer presented the draft report "Ashland in Action 2000: A Comprehensive Transportation Action Plan," and read the Mission Statement as developed by the Committee. DeBoer explained that the committee was not requesting action from the council, but seeking direction and input.
Traffic counts, clarified for the council, was also taken into consideration when drafting the report. McLaughlin stated these numbers were obtained from the State. The main part of the plan is a three-prong approach including: strong increase in transit services citywide, incentives/disincentives (paid parking in the downtown area), and increased efforts encouraging biking/peddling.
Committee Member Comments:
Michael Donovan/110 Westwood/Stated that this process had been a rewarding process for him. He voiced his concern regarding that the report will not have immediate action and noted that funding was considered during the drafting of the report. The $1.2 million plan identifies all modes of mass transit, and needs to be a composite funding base established in order for continuation. He concluded by asking for an endorsement from the council to move forward on the plan.
Johanna Fisher/77 Mallard/Noted that the 25-cent bus fare is not what the committee had in mind. She explained that the plan is more of a shuttle service, which is much more comprehensive than what is now offered, and that expanded hours and routes could fulfill more residents’ needs. She suggested rather than directing funds to RVTD, funding could be used for the shuttle service.
Ken Silverman/90 Helendale/Pointed out that the ideas were based on "real life" experiences of what had been successful in other communities. He encouraged the council to move forward on this in haste as he feels parking and traffic problems are only getting worse.
Shaw noted the recommendations brought forward by the Committee seemed to be based on models having worked elsewhere. She commented that she had attended the City of Aspen presentation, noting the very different set-up. She noted park-and-ride programs did not work for Aspen. Silverman explained the incentive/disincentive (paid parking) program did work.
Shaw also questioned how incentives for employees would work. Silverman responded he would be willing to pay for park-and-ride passes for his employees as an incentive. He has found that employees would rather not worry about parking problems and are open to other alternatives. Donovan noted parking problems have increased over the years. He agreed that incentives for employees to park outside the downtown core, or to use alternative mode of transportation would be a better way to go.
Rick Nagel/Chamber of Commerce/Voiced his appreciation of the Committee, stating the Ashland Chamber of Commerce is available for further need.
Sandra Slattery/1405 Elmcrest Terrace/Noted the extensive analysis completed by the Committee. Efforts were placed in securing information, as well as serious consideration for funding. She noted the importance of involving the community in realizing everyone is part of the problem and solution. She asked for direction from the council.
Peter Finkle/785 Beach/Noted the diversification of the committee and its ability to find common ground and goals. He noted the Transportation Element of the Ashland Comprehensive Plan. He concluded by stating the Committee focused on the future needs of the community while maintaining livability for all.
Bob Taber/97 Scenic/Stated the driving force for this project was the vision for the future. The draft plan is visionary in that it addresses the problems in a comprehensive way. He noted that the Committee listed short and long-term priorities stressing the importance of achieving these goals.
Kate Jackson/359 Kearney/Felt the Transportation Element in the Ashland Comprehensive Plan is the next step to improving bicycle and pedestrian traffic. She explained she has reviewed the plan, creating a table outlining goals already met, as well as future plans, noting some projects require funding. She feels additional work is needed from the committee in order to support and fund future goals.
Carolyn Johnson/Ashland Community Hospital/280 Maple Street/Recognized ACH has a commitment to neighbors in the area. ACH has taken the responsibility to encourage alternative modes of transportation for employees. She suggested a community-wide celebration encouraging everyone to find alternatives. Reid asked if ACH has contemplated building a multilevel parking structure for patients as well as employees for unplanned trips to the hospital. Johnson responded there is a recommendation within the plan to construct a multilevel parking structure at the existing terraced parking lot.
Paul Nicholson/Oregon Shakespeare Festival/Box 158/Noted challenges involved when determining needs for the community, including bicycling and the power of incentives/disincentive parking programs. He urged the council to move forward, suggesting the plan be phased, which would require a great deal of community involvement. Reid suggested involving school-aged children by encouraging their involvement in a similar fashion as the recycling program.
Ron Bolstad/Southern Oregon University/1250 Siskiyou Blvd/Acknowledged SOU as part of the parking problem, and noted the need for becoming part of the solution. He stated that more than half of the students and staff at SOU are commuters. SOU is identified six times in the draft report, showing a need for finding a balance of solutions, including incentive/disincentive programs. He noted the student ridership program with RVTD, adding the need to expand it to include faculty and staff. He described his recent trip to Europe and the extensive Transit System, noting the variety and extended hours. He offered his continued advocacy, and offered his staff assistance. Reid noted high taxes on fuel in Europe, adding that the tax money is then used to offer a wider range of transit options.
Shaw commented on a recent trip to Mexico and the transit offered there. Buses are consistently full, but mostly because many people do not own vehicles due to very high import taxes. Ultimately the success of the community is determined by the success of the plan. She also noted other college communities who do not allow freshman students to bring vehicles to campus, as it is their opinion that Freshmen learn more about the community by walking. Bolstad responded that the Freshmen who attend SOU are encouraged to live in the dorms, which makes walking more practical than driving.
Sherrin Coleman/RVTD/3200 Crater Lake Avenue, Medford/Noted the hard work and dedication of the Committee. She stated the funding of a transit plan can be very intimidating, but stressed the plan could be completed in increments. In April, a call center will be started, coordinating transportation between Josephine and Jackson counties. A recent plan includes minibus shuttles for seniors in order to do shopping.
DeBoer concluded by listing options including: professional studies, staff recommendations, or recommitting committee members. He suggested recommitting members for another year, as the six-month point has passed. He further stated subcommittees could be formed identifying specific issues (funding, parking overview, and transit systems).
Laws requested time to review Kate Jackson’s report, and time to digest the draft report from the Committee. He stated the committee may have a need for financial or staff support when breaking the group into subcommittees.
Fine offered his support of the committee, with the exception of a small element on page 14 of the draft report which states, "a paid parking system can result in greater availability of spaces within the downtown core due to changes in the demand for spaces." He feels it is a detriment to the citizens of Ashland to be forced to pay for parking on streets that their taxes have created. He suggested issuing parking stickers to Ashland residents which would allow them to park on the streets without paying. Reid stated council should not eliminate recommendations at this time, but should take the time to evaluate the plan more fully first.
Finkle stated the pay-and-display system is different from a parking meter as it allows for residents to have reduced-fee or no-charge parking, offering more flexibility. Secondly the group evaluating the plan has a lot of experience looking at these types of systems. He anticipates that the group will give more detail in fleshing out the plan.
Committee members engaged in a discussion on the concern voiced by Fine and agreed that flexibility of time and season needs to be taken into consideration when developing incentives and disincentives. It was noted that a managed parking plan is needed to determine the best alternatives for all those who park in the City of Ashland. Fine suggested signing on the committee for another year.
Shaw concluded the meeting, stating the council will review all the materials from the committee, and that the committee members would be contacted. DeBoer noted Kate Jackson’s materials would be mailed to all council members.
ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 1: 45 p.m.
Submitted by Barbara Christensen, City Recorder/Treasurer