Agendas and Minutes

Downtown Parking Management and Circulation Ad Hoc Advisory Committee (View All)

August 13, 2014 meeting

Wednesday, August 13, 2014



August 13, 2014
CALL TO ORDER The meeting was called to order at 3:30 p.m. in Pioneer Hall, 73 Winburn Way
Regular members present: Pam Hammond, Michael Dawkins, Rich Kaplan, Dave Young, Craig Anderson, John Williams, Emile Amarotico (left at 4:55), Joe Collonge, Lisa Beam, Marie Donovan, Liz Murphy and John Fields (arrived at 3:42)
Regular members absent: Cynthia Rider
Ex officio (non-voting) members present: Sandra Slattery, Bill Molnar, Rich Rosenthal, and Lee Tuneberg
Ex officio (non-voting) members absent: Mike Gardiner, Katharine Flanagan, Mike Faught and Dennis Slattery
City of Ashland Staff members present: Tami De Mille-Campos
Minutes of July 2, 2014
Minutes approved by unanimous consent.
Email dated 8/6/2014 from Barb Barasa (included as attachment to minutes)
Note: Detailed survey results may be found on the City’s website under City Commissions “Downtown Parking Management and Circulation Ad Hoc Advisory Committee”
Survey Context:
Evaluated community support for various policy options
Administered May-June 2014
Distributed via e-mail, City’s website, and through City Source newsletter (utility bill)
239 Total Respondents
Characteristics of Respondents:

#1 Focus on incremental short-term strategies
  • Respondents supported increases and improvements in wayfinding signage
  • Respondents did not express clear support for one type of wayfinding signage
  • Informational campaign should be coordinated and available through a variety of mediums
  • Respondents support outreach programs to educate downtown employees about the value of parking
# 2 Effective Transportation Demand Management strategies will need to integrate a number of approaches
  • Incentive programs are supported but responses suggest they may not be effective
  • Majority supported satellite parking lots with trolley service
  • Respondents did not express strong support for pedestrian infrastructure improvements
#3 Respondents think multi-modal infrastructure improvements should be focused on bicycles
  • Bicycle infrastructure improvements are the preferred method for encouraging bicycling
  • Many respondents indicated they would not use bicycle infrastructure improvements
#4 Regulatory, enforcement, and pricing strategies will be controversial
  • Respondents were not supportive of increased regulation and enforcement
  • Respondents supported changes to loading zone restrictions
  • Respondents supported the development of another parking garage, though with varying support for time frames
  • Metered parking strategies are not supported; many respondents said it would deter them from visiting downtown
Discussion: John Williams stated he wasn’t surprised by the responses. They seemed somewhat unrealistic in several cases. Such as, having visitors pay for the shuttle, educating employers to get their employees to not drive to work etc. Rich said he was interested in the responses to the paid parking; specifically that paid parking would deter some people from actually visiting downtown.
CIRCULATOR TROLLEY (see attached trolley white paper for details)
Trolley Context:
  • Discussions of trolley feasibility studies since 2001 Downtown Plan
  • Initial route and cost estimates outlined in the 2012 Transportation System Plan (TSP)
  • CPW conducted their own analysis of case studies and back of the envelope estimates based on survey data
Questions for Consideration:
  • Who will the trolley serve?
– Residents, visitors, employees, students
  • With what frequency and where will the route run?
– Dependent on riders
  • How will the trolley be financed?
– Initial (capital) costs
– Operating Costs
– Cost of ridership
  • Who will oversee the operation of the trolley?
Needed New Route:
  • Examined possibility of neighborhood circulator
– Too many stops, too much distance to travel, and not enough riders for cost effectiveness
  • Decided straight line from Exit 14 to Exit 19 is the best “bang for the buck”
Proposed Route Details:
  • Would serve employee commuters, visitors, students and some residents
  • Could serve the construction of satellite parking lots
  • 11 mile round trip, frequency of 15 minutes
  • Similar to Coral Gables and West Palm Beach trolley lines
Annual Costs:
  • Didn’t examine initial start up (capital) costs
  • Operating costs estimated at $1 million
– Based on route length and number of stops from case studies
  • Calculated how many riders are needed for a specific fare to cover operating costs
Revenue Estimates:
Approximate Ashland visitors 350,000
Approximate Ashland employees 2,839
Fare per round trip
50% Ridership taking 3 trips per year
75% ridership taking 2 trips per year $1,050,000
Sources: Ashland Chamber of Commerce, Oregon QCEW, CPW Policy Options Survey
CPW Recommendation:
  • Is it a feasible option?
– Yes
  • Does the math pencil out?
– Maybe
  • Recommend a full feasibility analysis be conducted
Creative Funding Strategies:
  • Revenue from naming rights goes to endowment to pay annual operating costs
  • Employers whom benefit help offset operating costs
  • Saving money through trolley rentals instead of ownership
  • Charter  services can be used to help offset costs if  trolleys are purchased
Discussion: Question was raised regarding how this might interfere with RVTD’s bus route and it was stressed that it isn’t intended to have any effect on RVTD; hopefully it would complement RVTD and provide another mode of transportation. The committee also raised concern regarding the trolley being able to handle, at times, approximately 2,000 attendees coming out of the Shakespeare shows around 11:00 pm. It was pointed out the trolley doesn’t have to be designed to handle shuttling 2,000 people at a time. Many of the festival goers walk to their hotel/bed & breakfast. It is designed to provide another mode of transportation. There was some concern with the capital cost of the trolleys which the Transportation System Plan (TSP) estimated at close to three quarters of a million dollars each. Emphasis was given that the trolleys could be designed however they see fit. The Committee questioned whether a subcommittee might be necessary to vet the trolley details. A comment was made that this trolley idea keeps coming up and then it ends up fizzling out for a variety of reasons; Ashland doesn’t seem to really support mass transit. If the City moves forward with the feasibility study there is hope that some research would be done to see why that is & why RVTD hasn’t been very successful even when it was free. Also, what evidence is there that there is a tangible return on the investment to purchase and operate a trolley system. CPW remarked the feasibility study would get to that level. Chair Young pointed out the intent behind this trolley wasn’t to be cute and fun. He said the committee hasn’t even looked at the public/private partnerships which he had hoped they would. There may be hotels interested in participating in a partnership in lieu of running their own shuttles. Joe stated he would ride the trolley everyday if it were an option. Members of the committee are open to the idea of having an alternative mode of transportation but are concerned with cost, ridership etc. Michael added that during the Transportation System Plan (TSP) process there were a number of them that felt that what Ashland needed its own separate circulation system and use the bigger bus system to get people to the outlying cities. The committee would like to see data on how many fewer cars would be parking downtown if the trolley was implemented. CPW said they hadn’t explored the impacts, but they can. The committee questioned what CPW thought about doing a pilot study in order to measure the success. CPW stated the challenge of doing a pilot study for something like this is the capital cost involved. Lee pointed out that when we looked for comparatives, we didn’t find any. He said it doesn’t mean there aren’t any out there but if nobody our size can afford one of these then we are already started up a hill. He also pointed out that when the City was spending a few hundred thousand dollars a year subsidizing RVTD it didn’t make the parking problems go away. He said if you want to do a feasibility study that is great but he doesn’t think it is going to be financially viable here with all of the conditions Ashland has. Rich Kaplan hopes that nobody will think the can is being kicked down the street. It is more about trying the low hanging fruit first (incremental changes) and then move on to the other options, if the low hanging fruit isn’t sufficient. Craig is supportive of what the committee has been talking about but he would like to see employee parking incorporated; such as creating districts, where employees pay a monthly fee for parking. 
Lisa/Marie direct CPW to move forward with strategies related to informational resources, wayfinding and regulation (this also includes creating benchmarks for measuring success) and defer the trolley and pricing (paid parking).
Pam, Rich, Dave, Craig, John Williams, Emile, Joe, Lisa, Marie, Liz and John Fields YES; Michael NO.
Motion passes.
Michael stated he voted no because he is a strong proponent of paid parking.
CPW explained they will come back in September to discuss informational resources and hopefully wayfinding in October. Lee added in order for the upcoming biennial budget to include any budget implications associated with these changes they would need to be included when the budget discussions take place around March, 2015. CPW added that by the end of the year they are hoping to have the finished report to present to the committee by November/December with the hope that it could be presented to the Council January/February, in time for the budget process.
Meeting adjourned at 5:30 pm
Respectfully submitted,
Tami De Mille-Campos, Administrative Assistant

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