Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Joint Study Session

Thursday, March 10, 2011





March 10, 2011



Transportation Commission Chair Eric Heesacker called the meeting to order at 7:06 p.m. in the Pioneer Lodge.  


Planning Commissioners Present:


Transportation Commissioners Present:

Pam Marsh

Micahel Dawkins

Larry Blake

Melanie Mindlin

Russ Silbiger, Council Liaison

John Rinalid, Jr.


Eric Heesacker

Steve Ryan

David Young

David Chapman, Council Liaison


Absent Members:


Staff Present:

Debbie Miller

Thomas Burnham

Brent Thompson

Julia Sommer

Colin Swales


Mike Faught

Bill Molnar

Maria Harris



1.  February 24, 2011 Joint Study Session Minutes.


Correction to Michael Dawkins comment - he did not specify a roundabout for location of concern (Crocker Rd/Tolman Creek Rd) – he was highlighting that intersection as one of concern.

Eric Heesacker noted that Matt Warshawsky is no longer a Commissioner and should not be noted as absent in the minutes.


Commissioners m/s to approve the February 24, 2011 Joint Study Session Minutes. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.


Minutes approved.



Marc Butorac with Kittelson & Associates commented on the project’s status.  Mike Faught expanded further on the next steps for the white paper process.  The suggested approach from City staff is to take the next three months to further discuss and explore the white paper topics.  There was general consensus from the groups that this approach seems reasonable.


Comments and Input Received on White Paper Group #3:

Ms. Ferguson presented on the results of responses from White Paper Group #3.



Steve Ryan wants to make sure the summary of the initial white paper results identifies the things that were voted out.

David Young – Noted that most popular items were barely over 50%.

Larry Blake – Need to bear in mind the impact of one vote on small sample size.



No comments.


Will Dodge Way

David Young thinks that doing something should be in concert with business community and not just leave it to the business community

Michael Dawkins- Believes there would be a huge push back from the business community to do anything on Will Dodge Way

Larry Blake – Wants business owners to be considered but believes Will Dodge Way serves a larger group than just the business owners and therefore need to include property owners along Will Dodge Way.

Pam Marsh – Thinks an alley policy should be developed but agrees that maybe it should not be a part of a TSP but thinks everything should be on the table for discussion over the next 3 months.

Melanie Mindlin – Assumes the alley should be a lower priority in general if unfavorable to the businesses.

Michael Dawkins – Feels the alley is currently a very bad route for bikes.

Larry Blake – We need to be mindful of the need for the alley for truck delivery and as such should be a TSP discussion.


Safe Routes to School

Larry Blake – What can be done about congestion around schools due to parents dropping their children off at school?  What can be done to change behavior?  Erin Ferguson noted there are things that can be done from an engineering perspective but also need to consider what behaviors are more effectively addressed through education or community building activities.  Steve Ryan noted it could be opportunity to use congestion pricing creatively to discourage dropping off kids at school.

Steve Ryan also noted solving congestion around schools does not help encourage parents to have their kids walk

Melanie Mindlin– Are we going to discuss SRTS for SOU?  Larry noted that SOU did work with RVTD SRTS liaison in developing the SRTS for other schools within Ashland and that effort is documented.  Erin Ferguson noted that element can be incorporated into the TSP.


Commuter Rail and Streetcar:

Ms. Wright reviewed these concepts, answered related questions and then passed the floor to Tom Litster.


John Rinaldi Jr. - Do you have information on number of trips necessary to sustain streetcar relative to commuter rail?  Susie Write explained we do not have those numbers primarily because Streetcars are done more for value capture and economic redevelopment than ridership purposes.


High Density Housing:

Mr. Litster reviewed this concept and asked for commissioner’s input.


Larry Blake – The dwelling units noted in the table - is that within a corridor or a wider swath?  Tom Litster -  Numbers in table refer to area near the station.  One of the differences between Commuter Rail and Streetcar is that Commuter Rail does not require high density for support.  Streetcar and Light Rail rely on walk on passengers and therefore higher density housing.  Commuter rail does not rely on walk on trips.  That is why the ridership comparison between Commuter Rail and Streetcar is more like apple and oranges.


Maria Harris – What is the distance around the station that the densities are being discussed are applicable?  Tom Litster - It is usually considered the 5 minute to 10 minute walk.


Bill Molnar – If this is a stop in an employment area is there a similar number of employees/acre rule of thumb?  Tom Litster noted there are some rules of thumb or numbers but they are treated differently because it is a destination rather than an origin trip.


David Young – Assume the elderly factors into the higher density.  Tom Litster noted absolutely that is a critical piece to higher density.


Michael Dawkins – You had an interesting comment this morning – it had to do with why the development along MAX did not happen as quickly as anticipated.  Can you please share that with this group?


Tom Litster - Yes, certain parts of the eastside MAX station was the first line and there are about six or seven stations along the line that are sort of lost out there – the redevelopment anticipated for those locations never happened.  It is proof that it won’t happen simply because you build it.  The lack of value capture or redevelopment at those stations was due to a few different reasons – location, area was over-zoned for buildings/uses not feasible for the market, a reverse gentrification occurred and lower-income households ended up near these stations.  They also did not have a good design overlay and as a result the infill that did occur looked unattractive.  Otak did some conceptual plans to revamp the area and the cost analysis between what could be taken in via revenue had a huge gap relative to the investment in stations and rail line.  That is why it is important to understand what is occurring in the corridor before simply building.  Portland has learned they need to do more in terms of tax incentives.


Maria Harris - Where the ridership levels low?  Tom Litster - No they actually had the some of the highest on the line but the redevelopment catalyst aspect did not occur.  Could argue the BRT or dedicated bus-ways would achieve the ridership benefits without the cost of light rail.  Light rail is not just about the ridership – it is about value capture and redevelopment.  It is a lesson in what you need to do if you expect to transit to recapture the value.


Marc Butorac– WES commuter rail is a good example of the reverse where they don’t have the ridership and need more of a redevelopment tool such as light rail.  Need to make sure expectations, goals and the tools you’re using are in alignment.


Incentivize Incentives


Steve Ryan – You mentioned incentivizing density and the other side is penalizing non-density.  The tails side is to make everything else more expensive.  Does that work?  Tom Litster– It is real and could work.  It is a combination of regulatory things that can be done to penalize it.  To get a streetcar in any city is not an easy thing to do – it requires understanding what the best incentives and disincentives are as well as what is the political will to carry through.  Steve Ryan – Can we look how we can push development patterns – currently the economy is encouraging more dense development anyway.  Can we make the less dense housing more expensive to try to encourage increasing density?  How do we broach this topic without creating too much controversy?  Tom Litster -  To some extent the market and real estate market sorts it – traditionally what has happened over the last 20 or so years – however, when the market place is there for those types of housing developers or business community will find it if you provide the opportunity for the development.  Michael Dawkins – Tom can you also discuss the development recently in Portland that does not have parking?  Tom Litster – Yes, there are two locations one close-in on the east side and the other is in the Pearl District – these are efficiency apartments that have space for bicycle storage but no off street parking.  Neighborhoods did not push back regarding no off-street parking and developer is moving forward with it.


Marc Butorac – Interesting balance between the different elements.


Downtown Plan:

Ms. Ferguson reviewed this concept and asked for commissioner’s input.


Michael Dawkins – Problem with Lithia way bike lane being on the right side of the street and bikes frequently need to make left-turns, also interested in reducing commercial and increasing housing on Lithia Way

Larry Blake – Curious if bump outs on corners were part of the Downtown Plan. Maria Harris and David Chapman confirmed some of the bump outs had been constructed; however, those improvements were made in response to a fatal crash that occurred several years ago when a woman on-foot was crossing the street and was hit and killed by a motorist.

Mike Faught – Asked if there were concerns about engaging the Chamber further in discussions about the Downtown Plan, there were no objections.


Access Management Plan:

Ms. Ferguson reviewed this concept and asked for commissioner’s input.

Mike Faught – The City does currently have access consolidation policies in the TSP, this provides good implementation language

Maria Harris– Currently, there are requirements within the development code for developers to explore shared access.


Safety Focus Intersections:

Ms. Ferguson reviewed this concept and asked for commissioner’s input.


Pam Marsh – Roundabout should be considered at Oak Knoll.  Erin Ferguson – We will look into the feasibility of that location along with the others that were identified as potential roundabout suitable locations.

Michael Dawkins - Should add intersection of Crocker/Ashland to safety study intersections.

Steve Ryan – Clay/Ashland should be considered as well.

Michael Dawkins – Have discussed refuge islands near Clay Street on Ashland.

Mike Faught – Also consider Faith Street/Ashland Street.


Upcoming Work Activities:

Mr. Butorac provided an overview of the upcoming key near term dates and outlined the upcoming process for the TSP to develop the preferred plan and ultimately the cost constrained plan.


Maria Harris - Do you put some things into the preferred plan that may be covered under grant opportunities?  Marc Butorac – Yes, the preferred plan is the wants.


Pam Marsh – The white papers are isolated boxes.  How do we begin to synthesize these into a plan?  The level I need to get to is - how does it all fit together?  Do we [the PC and TC] do this or do you [the consultant team] fit all the pieces together?  Marc Butorac – One option 1) you tell us what you really want and we can put it together and you can push back a us/the synthesized system plan; or 2) you can pull it together into a system plan.  We can approach it either way based on what you’d like to do.


Marc Butorac – Provided an updated on the road diet temporary project.  The three next steps: 1) Finalize the plan for the temporary project; 2) Find funding for start on June 1st – ODOT may have pedestrian and bicycle funds they can use to fund the project; and 3) In early September City Council and the Community decides if the road diet stays or goes.  The temporary road diet project is not a given – Mike Faught will be doing a public involvement process.  Mike Faught – I would like to get these groups the draft plans for road diet and then send out notices to properties along North Main Street to inform them and get input from them.  If the pilot works and we want to keep it, we won’t be able to build the full project for a while therefore we are going to use thermoplastic striping for the temporary project.  David Chapman – Also consider larger reach out than just the property owners along North Main Street.  Mike Faught – Agree we’ll need to use some other mediums to reach out to the broader community.








Meeting adjourned at 9:10 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Erin Ferguson and Susan Wright Kittelson & Associates, Inc.

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