Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Joint Study Session

Thursday, March 17, 2011





March 17, 2011



Transportation Commission Chair Eric Heesacker called the meeting to order at 7:11 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.  


Planning Commissioners Present:


Transportation Commissioners Present:

Micahel Dawkins

Larry Blake

Eric Heesacker

Steve Ryan

David Young

Tom Burnham

Corrine Vieville

Brent Thompson

Julia Sommer

Absent Members:

Staff Present:

Debbie Miller

Colin Swales

Pam Marsh

Melanie Mindlin

Russ Silbiger, Council Liaison

John Rinaldi, Jr.

David Chapman, Council Liaison

Mike Faught

Maria Harris



1.  March 10, 2011 Joint Study Session Minutes.


Postponed approval of the March 10, 2011 minutes to next meeting.


Commissioners m/s to approve to postpone the approval of the March 10, 2011 Joint Study Session Minutes. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.



Susan Wright with Kittelson & Associates, Inc. commented on the projectís status.  Susan discussed the next steps in the white paper process as well as the upcoming TC/PC discussion project to further discuss and explore the white paper topics. 


Comments and Input Received on White Paper Group #4:



No comments provided.


Commuter Rail

 Eric Heesacker provided an update and overview on the OR 99 Multi-Modal study being prepared by RVCOG .  The study project area extends from the north Central Point interchange and extends south 22 miles to Tolman Creek.  The study focused on land use density along the corridor and included a minimum of 0.5 miles east and west of the corridor.   The purpose of the study was to explore and potentially justify a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system through the FasTracks program of the Federal Transit Administration.


The study found that the density along the entire corridor currently and in the future would not support BRT.   However, the study did see the potential for express bus service.


RVCOG and RVTD is now exploring express bus service with the implementation of transit signal priority.


Julia Sommer asked whether or not express service could utilize the freeway.  Eric stated that express service would require park-n-ride or circulator bus service to support.  Ms. Sommer asked if you could have a bus go directly between Ashland and Medford.


Brent Thompson asked if the findings of the report regarding lack of density would be forward into the Regional Problem Solving (RPS) process.  Eric stated that it would; however, the finding would not likely change the RPS density allocations recommendations.  Michael Dawkins stated that the city should consider pushing the density issue further through the RPS process.


Eric said hypothetically that the density would need to move from 4 units per acre to 12 to 14 units per acres to support the needs of BRT along 99.  RPS is typically trying to achieve roughly 6.2 units per acre.


Commissioner Young and Thompson discuss the ability of the region to achieve the necessary density.  He also mentioned that the state legislature is in essence mandating additional density through the greenhouse gas requirements.


Eric states that most of the agencies in the valley only have a maximum density requirement, but that minimum densities would be necessary to achieve the ultimate goal.


Commissioner Dawkins stated that increased density efforts should support on the 99 corridor first.


Tolman Creek representative discussed their concern regarding the extension of Clay Street by their properties.    


High Density Housing

 Commissioner Thompson asked what high density housing represents.  Susan said a minimum of at least 7 to 10 units per acre.


Commissioner Ryan stated that we donít have the population demand to drive the desired density. 


Downtown Access Plan

No comments provided.


Access Management

No comments provided.


Safety Focus Intersections

No comments specific to the safety focus intersections.


Mike Faught wanted to revisit the Road Diet Pilot Project.  Commissioner Young expressed concern regarding the road diet pilot project.  Mike suggested that a special TC meeting be convened to formally discuss and vote on the pilot project prior to it going to council for discussion and consent.  TC members concurred that a formal process needs to be followed


Jenna Stanke stated that she is excited about the project from the bicycle and pedestrian point of view.


Commissioner Ryan asked for clarification on the timing issue.  Mike Faught talked about the need for timing.  Commissioner Ryan said the city needs to clarify the elements of the project for the public.  TC requested a summary of talking points on the road diet project.


White Paper Group #5


Addition of an I-5 Exit:

Ms. Wright reviewed these concepts, answered related questions.


Brent Thompson asked if the state would consider the needs of offloading.  Ms. Sommer asked where this subject arose.  Mike indicated that this question came up from the scoping exercise held by the TC and PC.  Mr. Young asked if the city once planned for roadways to handle a third interchange.


Mike mentioned that he would explore the pedestrian crossing opportunities to move from one side of the freeway to the other.



Ms. Wright reviewed these concepts, answered related questions.


Commissioner Ryan asked if the city could cater to the trucks during inclement weather conditions.  Commissioner Sommer asked whether or not we could make the rail work for freight hauling needs.


Ashland Municipal Airport:

Ms. Wright reviewed this concept and asked for commissionerís input.


David Wolske spoke about the importance of the airport to the economy and is a great resource to the city.  The airport is also used as part of fire suppression system to fight forest fires.  It also serves as an alternative landing site for Rogue Valley International airport.  David expressed the need to provide access to/from the airport to downtown during the high tourist season.  All modes of access need support including sidewalks, bicycles, and transit.


Commissioner Sommer asked if airport users would actually utilize improved accessibility.  David stated that the existing six businessesí employees could benefit from the system.   Commissioner Burnham asked how many people would fly in and use these facilities.  David Wolske stated they have four to five parties that arrive each day and could benefit from these services.


David Wolske suggested maybe an enhanced dial-a-ride option might be helpful.


Susan Wright illustrated how the draft multi-modal plan may address these issues.


Commissioner Ryan asked what type of support facilities could be leveraged to move in the right direction.


Mike Faught agreed that a safe route for pedestrian and bicyclist needs to be provided in the future.


David also stated that the two creeks paralleling the airport could be used to provide enhanced pathways.


Special Transportation Areas:

Ms. Wright reviewed this concept and asked for commissionerís input.


Eric asked if there was a down side to an STA or alternative mobility standard.

Susan confirmed that there was not. The primary benefit of an alternative mobility standard in Ashland would be at Tolman Creek Road to eliminate the need for widening the intersection.

Ron asked if a roundabout was an option for that intersection and Mike Faught confirmed that the IAMP was looking at that to deal with truck u-turns.


Alternative Approach to Development Review:

Mr. Butorac reviewed this concept and asked for commissionerís input.


Ron asked about SDCs paid by low income housing and if there was enough developable land to get excited about collecting SDCs. Maria clarified that the City has enough land for the projected jobs and housing growth. Julia asked if other cities have done this. Marc explained Washington Countyís experiences.



Jenna made an announcement about an upcoming Active Transportation Event in Salem on March 29-30th.





Meeting adjourned at 9:10 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Susan Wright and Marc Butorac, Kittelson & Associates, Inc.

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