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Agenda & Minutes

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Planning Commission (View All)

Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes

Monday, December 11, 2017

The study session of the Medford Planning Commission was called to order at 12:00 p.m. in the Lausmann Annex Room 151-157 on the above date with the following members and staff in attendance:
Commissioners Present
Patrick Miranda, Chair
David McFadden, Vice Chair
David Culbertson
Joe Foley
Mark McKechnie
Jared Pulver
Commissioners Absent
E. J. McManus, Excused Absence
Bill Mansfield, Unexcused Absence
Alex Poythress, Unexcused Absence
Staff Present
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner
Eric Mitton, Deputy City Attorney
Karl MacNair, Transportation Manager
Kyle Kearns, Planner II
David Sevilla, Interested Citizen
Colleen Roberts, Jackson County Board of Commissioners and Guest (arrived at 12:40 p.m.)
20.1        CP-16-036  Transportation System Plan Project Updates – Revised Goals and Objectives
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner, stated that in the memorandum there was mention of the public outreach.  Kyle Kearns, Planner II will present that part.
Mr. Kearns reported that the outreach has been running since May 2017 with a focus in three areas, those being public events, open houses, and online engagement. 
Staff has had four different booths at local events:
•             Recreation Festival at Hawthorne Park in May
•             Movies in the Park held at Howard School Park in August
•             Concerts in the Park held at Pear Blossom Park in August
•             Multicultural Fair held at Alba Park in September
At the Recreation Festival and the Multicultural Fail staff hosted two different activities that provided support for online efforts.
Staff had an open house on August 29, 2017, regarding the Transportation System Plan goals and objectives.  The results included:
•             More communication to the public about the Transportation System Plan
•             Include public utilities with roadway projects
•             Integrate new technologies (i.e. electric cars, zip lines, improved transit
•             Allow for flexibility
Using the internet, the City has hosted several different avenues for online engagement:
•    (ongoing)
•             Online Workshop (June 22-July 31)
•             Transportation Survey (August 1-September 13)
Staff advertised outreach efforts via social media, radio, advertisements, email chains, physical flyers, professional networks, utility bills, and news media outlets.
The online workshop from June 22, 2017 through July 31, 2017, solicited comments tied to a specific location using ArcGIS software asking respondents to:
•             Describe the mode of transportation being used (ADA, pedestrian, bicycle, transit, automobile)
•             Provide comments regarding the transportation mode and location comment relates to
More broadly, a survey was used to gather the opinions of Medford’s transportation system users.  There were 19 questions aimed at understanding commute patterns, transportation preferences, and opinions on policy items.  A total of 1,042 surveys were received overall.
Ms. Paladino presented the presentation Matt Brinkley, Planning Director, presented to the City Council at the end of November.  As Mr. Kearns mentioned the draft goals and policies dates back to August 2017.  Since then there has been public outreach, meetings with the City Council, we’ve talked to the public in open houses, talked to the Technical and Citizen Advisory Committee.  Staff has reworked that information and now has the revised version moving forward.
Vision, goals, objectives and action items will lead to the project list where staff will implement projects.  The Joint Transportation Subcommittee also known as the Super Citizen Advisory Committee, Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Planning Commission and the City Council has reviewed the vision, goals, objectives and action items. 
The vision and goals define the outcome of a plan or a strategy.  The vision statement really tells the story, it illustrated the desired final outcome.  Because of this, the vision needs to be tangible, relatively detailed, it can be very aspirational, and it is situated at the end of the long term planning period of twenty years.
Objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound.
Actions are tasks, programs and policies.  They should be specific and detailed. 
City Council adopted a mission statement for the City.  The tagline reads, “A fantastic place to live, work and play”. 
The Vision reads: In 2038, the City of Medford will be served by a transportation system that is safe, efficient, and pleasant to use.  The City’s many different neighborhoods, districts, and destinations will be conveniently connected with another, just as this network connects the City of Medford with neighboring communities and the surrounding region.  In Medford, you will be able to walk, bike, drive, or use public transportation to reach stores, restaurants, parks, schools, work and other common destinations.  Streetscapes will welcome visitors and invite people to enjoy this fantastic City.
The Super Citizen Advisory Committee proposed three goals. 
•             Plan, manage and invest comprehensively and strategically
•             Make cost-effective investments
•             Support a complete multimodal transportation system
These goals should be designed to provide a basis:
•             To identifying deficiencies and problems, and propose solutions.
•             To prioritize efforts and the investment of limited resources.
•             To raise awareness and build support for shared solutions
•             Provide guidance for future decisions. 
Responding to public comment and comments received from City Council, staff decided to revise the goals so that they are more focused, a little more narrowly tailored to address a specific issue.  Reviewing the comments received, staff concluded that the goals and objectives for the Transportation System Plan address a variety of concerns but really focused on safety, connections or connectivity, fiscal environmental, economic, and neighborhood impacts.  The goals as they were written were too broad to express a commitment to address those specific issues.
The first new goal with the objectives are:
•             The transportation system shall protect public health and safety for users of all modes of transportation.
Objective 1: Whenever possible, replace, mitigate, or enhance transportation facilities and conditions where the safety of the traveling public is at risk.
Objective 2: Remove impediments to mobility for more vulnerable citizens including those with disabilities, children and older adults.
Objective 3: Promote active transportation as a means of improving public health.
The second goal and objectives are:
•             The multi-modal transportation system shall provide convenient, efficient connections throughout the City and beyond its borders for users of all modes of transportation.
Objective 4: Improve connectivity, reduce congestion, and improve traffic operations whenever possible.
Objective 5: Improve access for people to walk and bike to public places especially schools, parks, employment centers, commercial areas, and other public facilities.
Objective 6: Connect vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle networks with current planned public transportation routes and improve public transportation service.
Objective 7: Maintain active roles in regional planning efforts for the continued development of the Rogue Valley’s transportation system.
There are 17 actions to implement those objectives.
The third goal and objectives are:
•             Transportation system investments shall be fiscally sound and economically sustainable over the long term.
Objective 8: Systematically and regularly acquire needed public right-of-way in order to implement the adopted Functional Classification Map.
Objective 9: Deploy and promote new technologies that safely increase the efficiency of existing street facilities without unnecessary roadway expansion.
Objective 10: Reduce costs of constructing transportation projects by 50% by 2020. (Mr. Brinkley added this to see if anyone was paying attention.  It will be revised)
Objective 11: Partner with local jurisdictions, state and federal agencies, and private sector partners to maximize the City’s transportation investments whenever possible.
Objective 12: Support the development of stable and flexible transportation financing that provides adequate funding sources for Medford’s transportation system while support the Transportation System Plan’s economic development goal.
There are 13 actions to implement those objectives.
The fourth goal and objectives are:
•             The transportation system shall support economic development and vitality within the City and throughout the Region.
Objective 13: Maintain and improve the efficiency of the movement of freight and goods by ground, rail, air, pipeline, and transmission infrastructure.
Objective 14: Increase resilience of local freight and logistics network to natural disaster.
Objective 15: Identify and improve transportation facilities that support the Region’s tourism industry.
Objective 16: Support initiatives to redevelop Downtown, Liberty Park, and other existing neighborhoods through transportation infrastructure investments.
There are 8 actions to implement those objectives.
The fifth goal and objectives are:
•             The transportation system shall enhance the livability of the City’s neighborhoods.
Objective 17: Avoid disruption of existing neighborhoods and nonresidential districts, and minimize impacts to individual properties whenever possible when improving streets to current City design standards.
Objective: 18: Increase the number of walkable, bike-able, mixed-use, transit-oriented and supportive neighborhoods while promoting connectivity to existing neighborhoods.
There are 10 actions to implement those two objectives.
Objective 19: Reduce environmental impacts of the transportation infrastructure.
Objective 20: Adopt policies designed to reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled, reliance on Single-Occupant Vehicle trips, and roadway congestion throughout the City of Medford.
Objective 21: Reduce emissions of atmospheric pollutants including greenhouse gas emissions and particulate matter while complying with State and Federal Law.
Vice Chair McFadden did not see completing neighborhood circulation plans.  Something this specific does not need to be in the Transportation System Plan.  He was unaware of a City Arterial Ring program.  That made it into the Transportation System Plan.  Also, he was unaware of a Roundabout First policy.  He does not see anything he would disagree about.  Ms. Paladino reported that she did not go through the actions items but there are specific things in them.  On page 33 of the study session agenda packet, Goal 5, Objective 19, Actions 19-a reads: Complete West Main Transit Oriented Development (TOD) plan and begin developing TOD plans for established TOD districts including downtown and North Medford.  The City Arterial Ring program and Roundabout First policy surprised him because they were specific.  He would be interested in knowing more about both of them. 
Karl MacNair, Transportation Manager, stated that the Roundabout First Policy has not been an official policy.  It is something Public Works has looked at every time there is a new traffic signal.  Being in the Transportation System is to move it towards an official policy. 
Commissioner McKechnie reported that the traffic engineer, at the time of installation, fought against the roundabout at Highland.  Commissioner McKechnie thinks they are wonderful.     
Commissioner Pulver thinks the goals and objectives are fine.  He is on the Super Citizen Advisory Committee and struggles with the document.  He thinks there is not enough money to fund the current road system let alone a multi-modal system.  To fund the roads, additional bus lanes, a bus system that does not have adequate funding, bike lanes, etc. is going to be difficult.  It looks good on paper but in practice it is going to be a stretch.  It allows for flexibility but he is concerned with the practicality. 
Vice Chair McFadden stated it is not the overall plan that is the issue it is the prioritization afterwards. 
Commissioner McKechnie is intrigued by reducing costs of constructing transportation projects by 50%.  There are a lot of components to constructing a road, right-of-way being one of them.  Changing the width of the roadways, no planter strips, installing roundabouts instead of signals could save a lot of money becoming a realistic number.  Ms. Paladino reported that some of the action items talk specifically about technology.  The right-of-way gets into the aspect of livability. 
The plan for January 2018 is to discuss with the Planning Commission in a study session the level of service, level of traffic stress, and concurrency policies. 
There will be open houses in each City Ward beginning January 9, 2018.  Discussion will be on specific projects in each of the Wards.     
30.          Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 12:50 p.m.
Submitted by:
Terri L. Rozzana
Recording Secretary


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