ASHLAND DOWNTOWN PARKING MANAGEMENT & CIRCULATION AD HOC ADVISORY COMMITTEE
December 2, 2015
CALL TO ORDER The meeting was called to order at 3:44 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1175 East Main St.
Regular members present: Pam Hammond, Emile Amarotico (arrived at 3:44), Dave Young, Cynthia Rider (arrived at 3:44), Marie Donovan, Lynn Thompson (arrived at 3:40), Michael Dawkins, Joe Graf, and John Fields (arrived at 3:44), John Williams (arrived at 3:44)
Regular members absent: Lisa Beam, and Joe Collonge
Ex officio (non-voting) members present: Bill Molnar, Katharine Flanagan, Michael Faught, Pam Marsh, Rich Rosenthal, and Lee Tuneberg
Ex officio (non-voting) members absent: Mike Gardiner, and Sandra Slattery
City of Ashland Staff members present: Tami De Mille-Campos
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Minutes of November 4, 2015
Approved as corrected.
Review Downtown Strategic Parking Management Plan
Williams said we want to continue to make comments on phase 1 of the draft but also focus on phase 2. His intent is to leave the meeting and put a final version together and have his editor go through it before bringing it back to the committee for a vote at January’s meeting.
Young reminded the committee about what was said at the previous meeting which was they are approving more of a process as a whole bearing in mind there may be certain elements that each individual disagrees with. He asked the committee how they can all get to a consensus on this.
Williams said what they want this committee to do is approve a concept and process that then gives it to another group (which could include this group) who will then get down into the weeds. In that process he said you may find opportunities that arise and you may find challenges that arise which could cause the steps to be re-ordered.
Williams began stepping through the December PowerPoint presentation.
Williams emphasized once they get to phase 2 the assumption is a lot of the ground work and consensus building will have already been done in order to get to that point. Also, they will have collected data, tested sites and began some basic reformatting of the on-street parking program. Concurrent with that process is to do due diligence with the residential communities adjacent to the downtown letting them know they have an option to explore a permit program. He reiterated that this isn’t something that can just be imposed on a community. These discussions would occur early on as pricing is being evaluated.
Williams noted a few changes he would like to make to the draft plan: step 17 becomes 16, step 18 becomes 17 and step 16 becomes 18.
Young pointed out that the committee will be following the steps but also adjusting as they move forward. Williams agreed and said it is difficult to put these in sequence because a lot of these are going to run concurrently.
John Williams is concerned about having any sort of step order.
Williams said another way to do it is to not list these as steps but rather as strategies.
John Williams would like to see, for example, after the marketing plan something to the effect of “here are a variety of strategies that can all be looked at simultaneously” rather than listing them in numbered order. His main concern is that someone reading the report might misinterpret this as needing to do things based strictly on the order of the steps listed in the plan as opposed to the real intent of the document.
Williams suggested modifying the introduction to set the expectation and make the intent more clear.
Graf shared that he feels steps 16,17 & 18 are really nested, rather than being separate steps. He also pointed out that step 16 “Go live with on-street pricing) could be read as [liv] or as [lahyv] which have totally different meanings.
Williams said he may change that to “implement” rather than “go live”. He also said what they could do is combine steps 16, 17 and 18 and the committee seemed to agree with that change.
Williams said then the strategy becomes identifying new garage opportunity sites and exploring shuttle/circulator connections which is a process of getting into the weeds. He said it could even involve a transit committee and a parking committee working simultaneously and then bringing it back to the full committee. There should be a very good sense of location, cost and feasibility of a parking structure at that point and at that time a transportation expert could be brought in to cost it.
Williams said he put in a lot of detail for funding options, of which none of them are self supporting. They always come together with multiple funding sources. He added that process can happen sooner rather than later.
John Williams asked a procedural question regarding whether their scope as a committee should include removing steps from the plan if the committee as a whole disagrees with a particular step?
Williams said the idea is the guiding principles show that all of the steps in this plan are reasonable and therefore should be pursued. However, the Parking Advisory Committee (PAC) will ultimately make those decisions along with City Council. The adding/removing of steps would really be the role of the PAC.
John Williams said that makes sense he just wants to make sure everyone understands exactly what the scope of this committee is. What he heard is that this committee is really here to provide the PAC with guiding principles and a variety of options that do have some order to them and some general time frames.
Fields said the only thing missing is some sort of cost estimate that shows time and cost associated with staffing.
Faught said this goes back to him wanting the committee to be completely comfortable with the plan before approving it. He will put together a budget for them to see before they approve the document.
Thompson made a suggestion to change the 4th bullet under “The role of Parking in Downtown” which reads “Ensure that parking in a district is
for managed to meet the needs of priority users of in the district”. She also pointed out the typo in bullet 5 which reads “Provide reasonable and safe parking for employees and long term visits”, it should read visitors rather than visits. Upon talking that one through it was decided to eliminate “long term” and leave it as “employees and visitors”. Also in that section in the paragraph just below the bullets it states “In the case of Ashland, the priority user for the City owned system of parking has been identified as the customer and visitor…” Thompson was confused by that and Williams clarified that was the priority for the downtown. He will correct that. She also noted at the top of page 8 under “Priority Customer” it states “provide sufficient parking to meet employee demand, specifically in conjunction with other reasonable travel mode options”. She feels this implies that the city is assuming responsibility. Williams said that was a great point and that was not the intent. The intent was it is a partnership. He will reword then intent of this to include something along the lines of “this effort should be pursued as a partnership between the city and private sector businesses”.
On page 8 under “Active Capacity Management” it states “Manage all public parking using the 85% occupancy standard to inform and guide decision-making”. Thompson asked how you factor in those shared use agreements with private property. She wonders if that factors into the 85% rule or not. Williams said the underlying tone here is that the city should never force the private sector into doing anything, if they don’t want to share their parking they aren’t required to. He thinks the better way to say it may be “manage the public parking system…” because the city may not be the owner, there could also be shared use agreements.
On page 12 under step 1 it states “Formalize the guiding themes and principles as policies for downtown access within the transportation code”. Thompson said she mentioned it previously and wanted to ask again if he would like to see the City Council adopt an ordinance adding the guiding principles to the code so they would become law which compliance then becomes a law enforcement issue. She understands the desire for the plan to be adopted but she is struggling with changing the code itself. She wonders if that is something they should consider talking to the City Attorney about. She isn’t sure these guiding principles are something we would put into the city code as opposed to just adopting the plan. Williams said he tried to address it but missed it in the last sentence of that paragraph. He will remove the word “code” from that sentence and the same thing on page 44 under step 1 of the Policy Action Steps chart. It was also decided to replace the word “codifying” in that sentence with “formalizing”.
Graf said he wasn’t sure he fully understood the 85% rule and asked if it applies to the whole system or just to parts of the system? He always thought that if the 85% was exceeded in one particular area that it would trigger the changes even if the other areas were below 85%. Williams responded by saying yes and yes. He said it is more about the weeds discussion. You can actually manage the parking within specific zones. The 85% rule is generally never applied to an entire downtown because the bell curve never gets there. He said the intent is that we still need more data and analysis of data in order to say how the 85% rule will be applied. The private sector applies it lot by lot. Whatever the decision is on how to apply it, it needs to be done strategically.
Graf also brought up “Figure B” on page 24. He said that is what he was referring to at the November meeting. Williams said he will remove the figure from the plan.
Fields said about the time the committee switched consultants there was a lot of discussion about loading, unloading, traffic configurations etc. and he wondered where that is within the plan. Williams said their recommendation, within the context of the traffic and circulation plan is that is something that will need to be dealt with. It is more of a traffic issue in which he as a consultant doesn’t have a recommendation on because they don’t know enough about the long-term planning, the narrowing of the streets, load volumes etc. He added within their current scope of work it isn’t doable.
Faught clarified that Williams’ role is strictly the parking component and then there is another consultant that will be working on the other piece. Which will
The next meeting will be held on January 6, 2016 at 3:30 p.m.
Meeting adjourned at 5:22 pm
Tami De Mille-Campos, Administrative Assistant