Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, October 03, 2011




Monday, October 3, 2011

SOU Stevenson Union Arena, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd.


5:30 p.m. Study Session


Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.


Councilor Slattery, Lemhouse, Chapman, Silbiger, Morris, and Voisin were present.  


RVTD BOARD OF DIRECTORS:                         RVTD Staff:     

Connie Skillman


Julie Brown, General Manager

William Mansfield


Paige Townsend, Senior Planner

Sharon Kohlmeier


Luanne Spencer, Executive Assistant

Stan Littrell


Nathan Broom, TDM Planner

Wade Six


Tim D’Alessandro, Operations Manager

Joel Marks


Scott Eason, Transportation Manager

Rick Dyer



1.         Will the City Council and the RVTD Board agree on near and long term transit goals that impact Ashland?

Rogue Valley Transit District (RVTD) General Manager Julie Brown explained RVTD had been stable for the past three years and could continue to provide service at the current level through 2015 without additional funds or increased taxes.  However, a demand to extend bus runs in the evenings and have Saturday service prompted RVTD to apply for a $983,000 competitive Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) Grant.  If awarded, they could match the funds and provide the requested extended service for three years.  Additionally, RVTD could have a ballot measure in 2012 or 2014 to secure more funds through a tax increase.  Ms. Brown stressed the need for the region to work together to leverage more dollars and support projects.


Ms. Brown described how an enhancement or addition to the service RVTD provided pulled resources from other areas within the District and used reinstating Route 15 as an example. 


The City of Ashland needed to determine trip generators, resolve parking issues, encourage Southern Oregon University (SOU) Student Services and employers to create pass programs, prioritize bike and pedestrian transit, and commit to a three year plan with RVTD.  It was a cost and resource burden for RVTD to go through the contract renewal process annually.


She went on to provide a summary of the long-term Tier Plan that included: 

Tier One, Extended Hours and Minor Service Expansion


Major Destination

Southeast Medford

Barnett Rd  x N Phoenix Rd/RVMC

Expand service hours-4am 10pm

All Routes except low productivity routes

West White City

Table Rd x Antelope Rd

Saturday Service

Base service from 8am to 6pm

Tier Two, Tier One, Additional Routes, Express Routes, Peak Service


Major Destination

West and southwest Central Point

Twin Creeks TOD

East Medford

McAndrews Ed x Foothill Rd

Ashland Talent Phoenix Circulators

West of Hwy 99 in Talent and Phoenix/East of Hwy 99 in Ashland

4 Hour Peak Service

All Routes except low productivity routes

Southwest Medford/Jacksonville

Stewart Ave x Lozier Rd

Express Routes (15 min) to Ashland & White City

Front St to Ashland Plaza & Front St to Cascade Shopping Center

Northwest Medford

Sage Rd x Rossanley Dr (North Gate Centre)

Tier Three, Tier Two, Additional Routes/Grid System


Major Destination

Foothills Rd

Corridor from Barnett to Coker Butte

Table Rock Rd

Corridor from Midway Rd to Antelope Rd

Hwy 99

Corridor from Table Rock Rd to Scenic Ave

Delta Waters TOD

Region not yet defined

South Ashland

Region not yet defined

 Direct airport service was not included in the plan. RVTD currently served the airport through their Medford transfer hub.  Alternately, private shuttles effectively addressed airport service.  Saturday service was limited from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with hourly runs but could change in the future once RVTD better understood whom they were serving.  Council was concerned Saturday hours were not compatible with employees traveling to Ashland for work.  RVTD would conduct a rider survey fall 2011.  Mayor Stromberg suggested collaborating with the Ashland Chamber of Commerce to determine rider focus.  Senior Planner Paige Townsend added RVTD was in contact with larger businesses, hospitals, and SOU to tailor expanded service hours to hit key shift and class time changes.


Council suggested a cost study on Saturday service from 6:00 a.m. to midnight for people traveling to jobs in Ashland.  SOU had established a new research center in their Economics Department that could possibly help with the study.  Another Council concern was the City bearing the majority of cost and resources for a bus pass subsidy when participating organizations should contribute. 


Council and the Board discussed forming a team possibly consisting of Mayor Stromberg, Councilor Chapman, Ms. Brown, Ms. Townsend, and other Board members to strategize lobbying for RVTD to receive the CMAQ Grant.


Public Works Director Mike Faught noted the December 31, 2011 deadline regarding the reduced fare program and summarized three possible options.  One would end the reduced fare program and increase free fare for low-income riders at an estimated cost of $50,000.  The second option would create a new program to provide a 50% subsidy for Ashland businesses at an estimated cost of $20,000.  The third would subsidize private shuttles for Ashland tourists.


Ms. Brown thought the highest priority was subsidizing low-income constituents.  As for subsidizing bus pass programs for businesses, she suggested the City meet with RVTD TDM Planner Nathan Broom and work with a small committee to explore that option.  RVTD had funds and the City should only pay a small subsidy, if any.  An alternative would have businesses subsidize bus passes enough so the employee could purchase the pass at a deep discount.  She did not encourage developing a private shuttle service unless the City felt the need.  She thought the City should invest in Option 1 and Option 2 only if the amount allocated to subsidize business pass programs was lower. She reiterated the cost effectiveness of having a longer contract with RVTD.


Council supported subsidizing low-income riders.  There was a concern committing to a two year contract to buy down bus fares when there was no supporting data.  Additionally, some thought employers should develop their own bus pass programs.


Ms. Townsend explained Ashland could establish parking management policies through the planning process that require major trip generators to consider vehicular reduction strategies like car sharing, commuter resources, buss pass programs, and car pooling at no cost to the City.


If RVTD failed to obtain the CMAQ grant, they would maintain present service without Saturday runs or extended hours.  However, RVTD would continue to look for money to fund those services.


Meeting adjourned at 6:55 p.m.



Respectfully submitted,                                

Dana Smith

Assistant to the City Recorder






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