Agendas and Minutes

Planning Commission (View All)

Joint Study Session

Tuesday, October 26, 2010





October 26, 2010



Prior to the Joint Study Session, Tom Litster with OTAK provided the Planning Commissioners with a short facilitation training session in preparation for tomorrow night’s Pedestrian Places Public Workshop.



Transportation Commission Chair Eric Heesacker called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street.  


Planning Commissioners Present:


Transportation Commissioners Present:

Larry Blake

Michael Dawkins

Dave Dotterrer

Pam Marsh

Melanie Mindlin

Mike Morris

John Rinaldi, Jr.
Eric Navickas, Council Liaison


Thomas Burnham

Eric Heesacker

Steve Ryan

Julia Sommer

Colin Swales

Brent Thompson (arrived at 7:25 p.m.)

Matt Warshawsky

David Chapman, Council Liaison


Absent Members:


Staff Present:

Debbie Miller

David Young



Bill Molnar, Community Development Director

Michael Faught, Public Works Director

Maria Harris, Planning Manager
Jim Olson, City Engineer

April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor



1.  August 24, 2010 Joint Study Session Minutes.


Commissioners Marsh/Dotterrer m/s to approve the August 24, 2010 Joint Study Session Minutes. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.



Marc Butorac with Kittleson & Associates commented on the status of the Transportation System Plan Update. He stated in the next two months they will be done with the baseline documentation and in January they will be ready to start developing and evaluating ideas and move towards a final plan. He noted this item went before the City Council earlier this month and some of their feedback focused on setting measureable goals and benchmarks.


Erin Ferguson with Kittleson & Associates addressed the commissions and provided an overview of Technical Memos #3 and #4. She explained these memos create a foundation for the analysis that will come later in the project, and explained the purpose of these memos is to capture the system inventory and existing conditions for: land use and population, public transportation, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, roadways and traffic operations, collision analysis, and funding. Ms. Ferguson provided a presentation that highlighted specific information contained in the technical memos related to these six categories.


Mr. Butorac clarified these memos set a benchmark and asked the commissioners to report any errors they observed before they move forward. The following suggestions were made by the Transportation and Planning commissioners:

·         Instead of “Hwy 63” and “Hwy 21”, request was made for documentation to use the commonly used names instead.

·         Request was made for the consultants to include a context page so that readers can easily locate information in the documents. 

·         Suggestion was made for the consultants to consider the Trails Master Plan.

·         Comment was made that Ashland has three elementary schools, not four.

·         Suggestion was made for the consultants to consider the Talent Irrigation Ditch, which is a route above Siskiyou Blvd that has the potential to move through the neighborhoods above the boulevard.


Mr. Butorac noted the first Pedestrian Places public workshop is scheduled for tomorrow and they are hoping for a large turnout. He also reviewed the upcoming work activities, including the future conditions analysis and incorporating multimodal level of services.



Mr. Butorac noted the Work Session packet that was distributed and commented on the need to set goals and benchmarks that result in the desired mode split shifts. He provided examples of TSP goals for the Commission, such as increasing free transit service over time and constructing a certain number of miles of sidewalks.


Free Transit Service Goal

The commissioners discussed the possibility of a free transit service goal. Councilor Chapman commented on what it used to cost the City to provide this service. He stated the cost was $300,000 a year, but with the ADA restrictions it raised the cost to $800,000 a year and the City was no longer able to subsidize this. Chapman provided some background on the Council’s decision and stated at that time RVTD convinced the Council that the frequency of service was more important than the cost. Mr. Butorac clarified that once they agree on the goals, they will come back and talk about the costs before deciding to move forward. The commissioners shared their feelings about free ridership versus having more services. Public Works Director Mike Faught noted the City is submitting a grant to the state to pay for transit service and clarified staff will continue to pursue these types of funding opportunities as they become available.


Increase City Sidewalk Goal

Mr. Butorac asked if this is something the commissions are interested in pursuing and the commissioners shared their thoughts about this possible goal. Comment was made that prioritizing sidewalk installation based on whether it is a boulevard or a street is a car-centric way to think. It was also noted that people drive differently than they would walk, and people who travel on foot or on bicycles like to use alleys and side streets. Suggestion was made to broaden this topic to include walking spaces and pathways in general.


Alternative Level of Service

Mr. Butorac asked the commissions if they are open to exploring options that move the City away from the standard level-of-service model. He commented on the possibility of a multi-modal systems development charge and stated this could provide some certainty to developers and funds could be used for improvements system-wide instead of for a specific development location. He clarified the TSP would set the baseline and safety issues would take priority in how the funds are used.


Pedestrian and Bicycle Toolbox

Innovative pedestrian and bicycle facilities treatments were presented and the commissioners were asked for their input. In particular, whether there are any they would like to explore further and whether they are any they feel are inappropriate for Ashland. The commissioners voiced a variety of opinions. Comment was made voicing concern with Bike-Only Entry and that in a small town like Ashland, if you restrict vehicle connectivity it moves more vehicles to the main boulevards, which then becomes more challenging for bicyclists. Road Diets was suggested, as well as creating pedestrian/bicycle pass throughs in certain areas. Additional comment was made suggesting in-lieu-of-parking fees that could go towards multi-modal development. Mr. Butorac commented on a “parklet” option and explained this could be a temporary alternative to completely removing on-street parking spaces. He stated parklets repurpose parking stalls and turn them into pedestrian spaces by building out a temporary platform into the parking lane so that the grade of the sidewalk gets carried out into the parking lane. Mr. Litster asked if the commissions would consider different options for the Plaza. He added if this is dedicated park space that might create some issues, but if not there may be some possibilities here.


Mr. Butorac concluded the meeting by reviewing key near term dates and asked the commissioners to forward their comments to Jim Olson in the Public Works Department.


Meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

April Lucas, Administrative Supervisor

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