ASHLAND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
December 15, 2016
CALL TO ORDER
Graf called the meeting to order at 6:02 pm
Commissioners Present: Joe Graf, Danielle Amarotico, Dominic Barth, and Sue Newberry
Commissioners Absent: Alan Bender, Corinne Viéville, and David Young
Council Liaison Present: Stef Seffinger
SOU Liaison Absent: Janelle Wilson
Staff Present: Scott Fleury, Mike Faught, and Kyndra Irigoyen
Staff Absent: Steve Mac Lennan
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Approval of November 17, 2016 minutes
The minutes were approved as amended.
ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Don Stone 395 Kearney St
He said he might be considered as an advocate for automobiles. He said he read through the downtown strategic parking management plan. He found that the proposal to narrow Main St from three lanes to two lanes is part of the package… Graf said that was a mistake because the multimodal part of the downtown plan was not approved by the Downtown Committee. It is not being considered until the next committee moves in to work on that project. Stone said he is happy and thanked the commission. He said he sits on the board of the Rogue Valley Transit District. Members have commented on the issue of reducing lanes and have had problems making headways for the buses because traffic is held up on the road diet.
Louise Shawkat 870 Cambridge
She said Grants Pass is looking seriously into electric buses. Electric buses take a good gas powered bus and strip it down and convert it to an electric bus. They will be having a demo that will come to Ashland and Grants Pass. She would like for the commissioners to go look at the electric bus when it comes to town. The results of a survey that GEOS did had a great response. The date of the demonstration is on January 10th.
Susan Sullivan 305 Stoneridge Ave
Read from attached letter.
Newberry asked about Sullivan’s public involvement. Sullivan said she is asking for an opportunity to see a design before the meeting occurs for real review and input.
Downtown Parking and Multi Modal Circulation Study
Faught said the Committee and Council has decided to not move forward on the multi-modal portion of the plan. There will be a future committee who will work on it. He said there was a public forum meeting for the downtown parking plan in December where about 80 people came. They will have a meeting in January, which will probably be their last meeting. He reviewed the attached PowerPoint presentation.
Barth asked if Faught had any updated estimates on when the new parking manager would be hired or update their contract with Diamond Parking. Faught said if the Downtown Committee approves this in January it will go to Council in February and he will recommend for it to be rolled into the next budget process to be included and start July 1st with the new position, if approved. It has to be approved by Council and the Budget Committee, so this could be in July or August. Barth asked if he was understanding correctly that Faught is encouraging merchants to encourage their employees to use the existing parking and if that changes it from the 85% capacity then it might not be necessary to go to paid parking, is that correct? Faught said he does not want to leave it at just that. It may not, but we are starting on the list of strategies, the next strategy is the paid parking, it just means we do not need to do that right away. We are already at the 85th percentile, so we need to take that action now. If we are able to put these agreements together and that drops us below the 85th percentile, we have completed our work in terms of current parking. That group will be working on future strategies so they are more fine-tuned when ready to implement.
Barth said going forward, it would be a Council issue, and the alternative parking spaces, it came to paid parking, would that also be a Council issue or similar to the downtown plan where every parking space potentially removed is contested by interested parties in the downtown. Faught said what he envisions happening is that the downtown parking group is in tune with the issues and strategies and be ahead of any issues. Roll out of metered parking will be something that is worked through with the community. From a multimodal perspective, the downtown visioning committee will be working on that. Barth said the income necessary for a shuttle to actually function might rely on some paid parking. Faught said it could, but when he talks about potential strategies and revenue it is really important to roll out the strategies the way they are outlined because we all have to agree that the 85th percentile is a trigger for the next step. The potential revenue is part of the strategy, if one does not work, move to the next one. Barth said the City of Portland receives a portion of tax revenue through the state that is dependent on, a merchant tax. Faught said from a revenue standpoint, if you are looking at funding other types of things, we could start having those conversations, but that is not included in the parking strategy for other tax. Barth said it was in the packet for some sources of funding. Graf said all the possible sources of funding are in there if you are going to build new parking.
Graf said his understanding was that this downtown plan was going to be an addendum to the TSP and the TSP is basically the Transportation Commission and the Planning Commission working together, so it is not coming back to the Transportation Commission or the Planning Commission because it is going to directly to the Council. So, is this not part of the TSP? Faught said if the Council approves, to add it to the TSP it will have to go through the Transportation Commission and the Planning Commission. That process could happen before July 1st. Graf said the business survey showed that two thirds of employees in Ashland do not live in Ashland. So they are coming in and parking or riding their bikes, if you figure there are three thousand employees downtown, that is almost two thousand people that have to find a place to park and find a way to get to town. If we are going to move those two thousand people out of the downtown core, we are going to need a shuttle or something already in place in order to help them get there. It feels like we have to wrap all this stuff together because it is more than finding a private parking lot to let employees park it in, we might have to do sidewalk work, shuttle work, and if we do not have paid parking how are we going to afford all that. Even for the phase one stuff. Faught said this new committee will have to struggle through to find this stuff. He said the consultant said if we clear just one hundred parking spaces that is a big difference in your parking supply.
Seffinger asked if this has been looked at as a seasonal issue and doing things differently during the summer months. Faught said the season is much larger than you think, summer is about six months and then December is high volume. It is not just a three-month window. Seffinger said some younger women employees are concerned that our city is different from a lot and a lot of night life, some employees feel uncomfortable. Faught said he agrees with that, which is why they have talked about lighting. These are key issues the committee will have to work on. Seffinger asked if they are looking at the impact of driverless cars. Also using apps like Uber, developing them for some community members so they would not have to drive downtown. Faught said these questions would have to be referred to the consultant.
Fleury said the italic bold is the step where we are. Barth asked for an estimate on the items of where we are. Fleury said he would put a range for within a couple of months for the items where a date is uncertain. Barth asked to include the month an item comes on the list. Newberry asked to read through the task list. She thinks there are better ways to organize this list.
1. Hersey/Wimer intersection signal warrant analysis – Fleury said Parducci has a draft memo on the signal analysis and started a final draft for the road diet. She can bring some visuals to show what it will look like if the signal is added and what issues it could create. Her reports will also include the cultural diet analysis, the timing, the gap analysis, the ADT’s, and corridor travel times. She will have everything ready to go for the January meeting.
2.Super sharrow analysis for downtown – Newberry asked about the solicitation document being drafted by staff. Fleury said they have contracted with Kittelson to perform the analysis, but we have not for the super sharrow itself.
3.Transit internal circulator analysis – Fleury said he has two drafts and the old TSP RFP documents; they are going to try to combine. He said he talked to Graf about it. Graf asked when will we find time to do it because the road diet and signal analysis is going to take a full meeting with a lot of public input. The bridge will take a full meeting. He said unless we do it as an informational item, and then be sure to talk about it in March. Fleury said he will get the draft as soon as he can and if you have time to look at it and think about it until we can have a formal action item discussion on it, so it would fall in the informational item stage to get you guys something as we process it. We will not fund it until the next budget year. Our expectation is to get it in line so we can start it when we get into the next fiscal year.
Newberry asked why the Transportation Commission does not have work-study sessions. It would be a good opportunity to take things like this that we do not have time for on a regular agenda or that we are not ready to bring to an agenda and work on it with citizen input. She asked if this commission has ever considered having one. Graf said there is no reason we cannot have one. Graf said it would have to be a formal meeting with minutes, but there is nothing that precludes us from doing that. Newberry said she was thinking mostly about being responsive to the public. Graf said we should have a work session with public input or we will not be ready or have enough background. Newberry said if Fleury develops a good scope of work, we will have a better understanding of what is involved and it will help our community advocates who have worked on it. Fleury said that was his intention that way we are not a few months into the next budget getting this going. Graf said the scope of work is critical. Fleury said the scope of work will be itemized but will not be supremely detailed because of how the selection process goes. With this level of solicitation, you have to do what is called ‘qualifications based selection’. A generalized scope will be put together for things we are looking for, for the feasibility study. It is sent out, we receive consultants’ formal response to it, grade them, then make a selection of the consultant team that we prefer, and then we enter the ‘true fee and scope negotiations’. That can be something we do with this group and members of the public can have input on that portion of it. Newberry said that seems reasonable that we will start broad and bring it more into point. She said if we could do it in a way that we engage our citizens, even if we do not start with all the details, she thinks that is workable. She said she thinks we need to create a subcommittee to work on this or have a study session to discuss it. Graf said he would prefer to have a study session instead of forming a subcommittee. Fleury said he will get the scope to the Commission for comments to compile a final document. He said he could get the document to the Commission in January, by March we could have a formal study session, which would give him some time to compile everything for the formal document. He said he is looking to release it to coincide with the next fiscal year; it will be released in the middle of May or June potentially to start the process. Graf said we are thinking of having a study session in the first part of March and then having our regular meeting in March which also follows up on it. Newberry said she suggested a study session is because we told the public would be addressing this in January. She would like to have a session in late January or mid-February to meet with people who have input on this issue and to refine our ideas to reflect the input we receive from them. Graf asked if February was too early for Fleury. Fleury said no because he will already have the draft document to the Commission. Graf asked to get the draft document in January and have a study session in mid-February, then have a regular meeting to deal with the bridge, then we talk about the shuttle in much more detail in our March meeting.
Fleury said he took Portland’s permit and made some modifications and sent to legal. Legal reviewed and had some additions to it, which are appropriate. We had feedback from the Public Art’s Commission. The feedback we received that was when someone does a public art project for the City of Ashland, it is approved and becomes property of the City of Ashland. Our intent to for this is for the citizens in that area who do this, take ownership of the intersection repair. The Public Arts Commission thought it was great, but did not see a need to become directly involved with the process itself. He said he has not talked to planning or the Historic Commission about it yet. He said he will finalize the development of the petition to use for signatures of residents and the group will follow the permit process, even if the permit has not been finalized; the group can go ahead as a pilot project if the permit is not ready. He said he contacted Portland about the type of paint they use. One is a general street marking paint and the other is a stain. Portland requires them to add ground coconut shells to the mixture, which is the anti-slick surface they require to be added. He said we need to define the process of obtaining the permit and finding out if the name will be changed to something different.
Vegetation Maintenance Program
Fleury said that Irigoyen has put together some information and made a brochure. We worked with Newberry to develop a general outline of what we need. He said currently there are no brochures for this at the City. We are working on cleaning this up and will bring it back to the Commission in January or February as an informational item. He said we want to get the brochure out sooner than later. Barth asked about the app. Fleury said we are still working on the app and will demo it to the Commission when ready. We might try to correlate the existing MyAshland app if possible.
FOLLOW UP ITEMS
CMAQ Grant Application
Fleury submitted the application. He did a presentation to the TAC group for initial vetting for input. There was not any voting. He will know more in a couple of months. Newberry asked if chip sealing triggered ADA improvements. Fleury said if we are doing a shared road, they will have to maintain a two percent cross slope. Newberry asked if they will have to add sidewalks. Fleury said no, the shared road is without sidewalks, the accessibility would have to be maintained on the road surface itself. Barth asked if this grant would apply to the Glenview ideas. Fleury said yes that will be included. He said the petition will be included from Glenview. If we had to lower the dollar amount that probably would be the area we recommend to be chip sealed. The public hearing is being planned for March. He said the public hearing will be both on the chip seal and the shared road. We have a consensus that the people who live along the dirt road would like to see the chip seal done for dust pollution reduction. Graf asked if this could be moved to April because we are talking about transit in March.
Grandview Shared Road Improvements
Fleury said it should have been done but we hit bad weather for the rest of the paving. He believes it will get finished next week if the weather allows it. We are still waiting for the road signs to go in the appropriate locations. As soon as they arrive we will work with Parducci to install them in the appropriate locations. We are still working on the final design which goes from Grandview to Grandview and down to Scenic. Graf asked about the rumor of work being done on the guardrail. Fleury said more guardrail was added to protect the transformer.
Commission Business-Individual Meetings Discussions
Newberry received an email from someone asking them to go to their home about the E Nevada St bridge project. She said she felt uncomfortable about this so she contacted the city attorney for advice. The attorney said it was ok for her to do that but also reminded her that it is important to remember that when we have a meeting or study session here, everyone is getting to hear what everyone is saying. She said you are able to hear what your neighbor and the guy down the street is saying and what the Commission has to say, which puts us on the same page. She said whereas if she was to go and meet with these people and later they said, “Well Sue said when she met with us at her house…” She said she did not feel comfortable with that and the attorney said this is something the City has been talking about in general about right now. She said we should decide as a Commission on how we want to respond. She feels uncomfortable when she receives an email from people, she wants to write back and respond but is never sure, so far she has been emailing back saying “thank you for your input” but she wished she knew what to say. She wants to encourage people for public input, but would like to know how other Commissioners are responding. Barth said he appreciates how Newberry responded to that sender by inviting them to public forum to share their views. Fleury said in general, as a member, he does think they are not supposed to say anything without the consent of the Commission as sort of what the Commission’s mentality is. As an individual citizen, he thinks you have to make the declaration, that this is my opinion as an individual citizen and not representing the consent of the Commission itself.
Newberry asked about receiving letters and that she copies Irigoyen on everything she receives. She asked if they are able to respond, not with an opinion on what the Commission thinks, but with a response in some way, and then send that to everyone else. She asked how the City Council handles that. Seffinger said if it is to all City councilors, the city administrator is generally the one that responds. She said what she does is responds with a “thank you” and lets them know when the next Council meeting is. She has met with people to hear their input and said in advance that she is only coming to hear their input, but does not express any opinions. Newberry said so we could write that some way, copy Irigoyen and Graf. Fleury said anything that comes to the Commission that you believe is valid should be submitted to the packet for it be on the record. Graf said you have to be careful to say you are not speaking from the Transportation Commission, but my own personal opinion is I would like to know more about such and such. Graf said he handles them very tersely. Seffinger said she thinks sometimes the other part of it is if you agree to meet with one side and you do not with the other side then it looks like you are favoring one or the other. She said sometimes she will say that she needs to listen to both sides of the issue, especially if it is a hot issue and there are people from both sides wanting to meet.
Making an Impact Newsletter
COMMISSION OPEN DISCUSSION
Newberry asked what their role will be in the development of a process for the street maintenance priorities for the new monies allocated in the last vote. She asked if they will have a role in the process or just see a final list. Fleury said a little bit of both, it is partly looking at the CIP. He said he has preemptively started to plan, our issue is that we have some historic overlays that have been postponed and we have engineering plans for those. He thinks those will be the first couple that come out of the gate. We are looking at new projects for next summer right as the new budget year breaks. In order to facilitate and get some overlays on the ground, that will be one of things we will use, some of the stuff we already had done that has put on the shelf. In general, we are looking at N Mountain from Hersey to the overpass as an overlay project and adding a couple of ADA ramps that do not exist right now. The other one we are looking at is the overlay on Whiteman from Siskiyou to Quincy. Part of the strategy is to hit roads where we can maintain the pavement condition index up to our threshold level. The pavement condition index is essentially already defined where they are at, what is not defined is which streets within that are going to come first. That is something staff will decide. Newberry said she does not need a list she was just curious if we had a role. She said she is primarily interested in what ADA will be triggered, how much ADA retrofitting will done in those projects. Fleury said anything with an overlay where there is no appropriate ADA at the intersection will have to be solved. Newberry asked about sidewalks. Fleury said sidewalks will have to coincide with existing projects in the TSP. This is only to fund the overlays themselves; there is no additional money for sidewalks. Newberry said that ADA has some requirements for when you do certain things to roads; often overlays will trigger a requirement that pedestrian facilities be provided. Fleury said the main effect is the accessibility at the corners for an accessible route. A lot of our streets have sidewalks but the sidewalks do not have an accessible curb. So that is part of planning and selecting those roads because that is a cost impact we have to do. He said how he looks at it is that some of them are in conjunction with predetermined sidewalk projects we have in the TSP and whether those are City or development driven. Newberry said it would be nice along the bus route to have a completed network of sidewalks. Fleury said that would be a discussion where the Commission sees priorities if it is a bus route, a collector, or arterial. The first round of this overlay is just for arterials and collectors to manage the major portions of our street and infrastructure. The next phase will move into the lower order streets, residential collectors. Barth said when you address these overlay possibilities, we had a letter about Hersey and the possibility of speed reduction humps, on N Mountain there was a flashing light stop sign consideration, so those things might be brought forward. Fleury said he thinks if we are doing something like that based on the letter from Hersey and if we are looking at traffic calming and changes to Hersey as part of that, we would have a hearing about it. Newberry asked if we had a traffic calming program. Fleury said no. Newberry said there are more ways to do traffic calming other than speed humps. She said if we do not have a traffic calming policy, would it behoove us to consider doing that. Relying only on speed humps is not the most effective way to do that. There has been some great traffic calming done in this town without using speed humps. Fleury said that could be a fundamental component of the TSP update that we could work on to define that we could use in perpetuity. Barth said at the top of Mountain, a left on Nevada, which makes the shared road width turn, but if one rethinks it, it could be already a calming thing, instead of increasing it to a highway turn.
Newberry said the normal process for us is that people will show up for a meeting without seeing a plan or discuss their opinions or have their questions answered in an environment before we get to the formal thing where they have already prepared their remarks. She asked if we ever have a meeting before the formal public hearing where people are able to look at the plans, an open house style, or workshop style, where they can look at the materials that are being presented so they can get an idea. She said in bigger cities they have engineers there and people can ask them questions. Fleury said in the past we have done design charrettes with design options, where there are engineers there with options on posters, where you can go around and ask questions. Newberry said it is challenging within the constraints of a two hour meeting to bring back something that is important to many people and present new options and answer many questions that have been asked in the interim. She asked if we could consider that some pre-meeting might happen, some kind of educational event. Graf said he would like to have an educational event for the Commission because none of us were on the Commission when the studies were done in the TSP. He said he has talked to Faught about this, that we need to go through and find the problems.
FUTURE AGENDA TOPICS
TSP update process
North Main Crosswalk Analysis/Post Road Diet Analysis
Meeting was adjourned at 7:56 p.m.
Public Works Administrative Assistant