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Planning Commission Study Session Agenda and Minutes
Monday, March 26, 2018
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:
Patrick Miranda, Chair
David McFadden, Vice Chair
E. J. McManus
Joe Foley, Excused Absence
Matt Brinkley, Planning Director
Kelly Akin, Assistant Planning Director
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner
Eric Mitton, Deputy City Attorney
Alex Georgevitch, City Engineer
Karl MacNair, Transportation Manager
20.1 CP-16-036 Transportation System Plan List Prioritization
Matt Brinkley, Planning Director, reported that staff has the Transportation System Plan project list and it needs prioritization. There are more projects than money.
The project list is important. Tier 1 projects have to be financially constraint with local and other funding sources. It has to be shown as funded. There is approximately $72.4 million that can be counted at the local level such as SDCs, user fees, etc.
Mr. Brinkley took the Planning Commission through the City Council study session presentation on Thursday, March 22, 2018. He will catch the Planning Commission up where the City Council ended up. They made significant choices that staff will bring back to the joint City Council and Planning Commission study session on Thursday, March 29, 2018. The goal of that meeting is to have the information of the project list for the draft Transportation System Plan. Staff would like to be done with the document preparation by June. Deliberations will take place with the Planning Commission forwarding a recommendation to the City Council and then City Council reviewing it and approving it by September.
The City Council study session presentation consisted of the Transportation System Plan update and background, discussed project prioritization and the City Council direction.
There are three to four key decisions that the City Council and Planning Commission need to make regarding the project list. Will the level of service City wide change from “D” or “E”? Level of Service “D” is a 55 second delay on average during peak hours. There is a problem maintaining Level of Service “D” at Stewart Avenue and Highway 99 and at Highland Drive and Barnett. To maintain Level of Service “D” at those two intersections would cost an absorbent amount of money. Staff recommends going to Level of Service “E” for those two intersections.
The next decision staff asked the City Council is the Foothill/Phoenix corridor. This has been the highest transportation priority for the City Council. All the improvements from South Stage and Delta Waters would cost approximately $66 million. There is a small piece of foothill north of McAndrews with a substation. Improving that section is a $14 to $20 million project.
The last item staff asked the City Council was to consider other funding options.
Staff has the draft Transportation System Plan. They are waiting on revisions from the consultant. Staff has given them their comments and waiting for Kittelson to return a revised document. Staff needs to get the project list completed.
Staff has had to revise local funding several times. They started out at $75.4 million. The memorandum that went to City Council took it down to $66.5 million and now it is back up to $72.4 million on the revised memorandum last week. The reason for the discrepancy is how much contingency a three month operating budget has to be maintained in each of the periods making up the twenty years for the Transportation System Plan. The $66.5 million is reflected of having to maintain three month contingency for all three periods. There is no policy that requires Public Works or the City to hold months of operating in its contingency. That is a City wide policy for the general fund. It gives the City a good credit rating.
The Transportation System Plan is a high level document that is flexible. It was amended last year to address and issue with Foothill where it was described differently in the Transportation System Plan than what was being built.
When staff did the Urban Growth Boundary amendment staff reviewed all the expansion areas. Part of the process was reviewing the sufficiency of urban infrastructure including transportation. Those were reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission and subsequently the City Council. The proposed classification map for the Transportation System Plan assumes that the City has a build out of those Urban Growth Boundary areas that are coming in to the Urban Growth Boundary now over the next twenty years. That Urban Growth Boundary amendment was based on the assumption that the City would have 128,000 population. What has been programmed into the Functional Classification Map should be sufficient meeting the level of service to carry as much traffic for that population.
There are 251 proposed projects in addition to the project that the City has to do in order to meet the Level of Service to 2038. The total cost for the 251 projects is $800 million. Staff came up with four scenarios that make intersection improvements needed to meet a Level of Service. None of the scenarios include any part of South Stage. South Stage is crucial to the future transportation network if expanding as much as proposed in the southeast area. If the City does not have South Stage it will be a constraint on development to occur in that area.
Scenario 1 maintains Level of Service “D”. A full build out of Foothill/North Phoenix for a cost of $106,235,000 leaving a $42,080,000 deficit.
Scenario 2 maintains Level of Service “D”. Intersections only for Foothill/North Phoenix corridor for a cost of $46,645,000 leaving a surplus of $17,510,000.
Scenario 3 changes the Level of Service to “E”. A full build out of Foothill/North Phoenix for a cost of $70,575,000 leaving a deficit of $6,420,000.
Scenario 4 changes the Level of Service “E”. Intersections only for Foothill/North Phoenix for a cost of $10,985,000 leaving a surplus of $53,170,000.
The largest drivers of cost are the projects of Foothill from McAndrews to Cedar Links that costs $50 million and intersection upgrades at Barnett and Highland and Stewart and Highway 99 cost $20 million each.
The City Council decided to lump all major projects on the east side together. That is the Foothill/North Phoenix corridor and South Stage. The directed staff to commit $15 million in City resources to that project. To maintain Level of Service “D” throughout the City except for the intersections mentioned above. There was additional direction to continue researching means to mitigate the traffic impacts at those intersections.
Chair Miranda asked, what is the average time difference between Level of Service “D” and “E”? Mr. Binkley reported it is approximately 25 second difference. Alex Georgevitch, City Engineer, reported that is an average controlled delay.
The project list has 251 projects costing $800 million. That is significantly more than the previous Transportation System Plan. The reason for that is things have changed at the Regional level for funding. Staff wanted to make sure they covered all the projects. The previous Transportation System Plan had approximately $100 million in Tier 2. There will be a project selection process. Through that process any segment of roadway can be included. It does not have to be constrained. When they go for funding the project can be on the constrained list or Tier 2 list. There will be $730 million of unconstrained and $70 million for constrained.
Commissioner Mansfield asked, doesn’t Public Works include SDC’s automatically? Mr. Georgevitch reported that they have $70 million to fund projects. They may have a desire to do more than $70 million worth of work. There are several ways to do that. They can find new funding sources or go internally. There will be several options depending on how much they add to a project in Tier 1.
At Thursday’s joint study session staff will present two options. One will be the Engineering Section from Public Works recommendation list. Another list that the City Council and Planning Commission can take $15 to $25 million off for Foothill/North Phoenix and South Stage and add other projects independent of the list that Karl MacNair put together. The other option is for the City Council and Planning Commission provide a recommendation on the Level of Service leaving the intersection at Barnett and Highland at its current Level of Service “E”.
It seems to Vice Chair McFadden that the City Council has already made commitments. They have committed to the Foothill/North Phoenix bike paths because everything from Cascadia to UGB. That uses most of the available funds. Mr. Georgevitch reported that is only $11 million because that is the amount it takes to maintain the Level of Service.
Commissioner McManus asked, with the $15 million the only leading assumption is that Phoenix comes to the table with alternative funding? Mr. Georgevitch reported that when the City reviews their budget and revenues that is how they will get a refinement plan of build out. It is going to take a significant effort amongst the partners throughout the community which does include Phoenix. It also includes the County and the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Mr. Georgevitch’s vision and how to fund this project and where Regional funding is going to come from. It is going to come from the Metropolitan Planning Organization. They have discretionary funds that are flexible funds allowing to do anything. There is $1 million available a year at the Regional level. There is also Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funds at a Regional level that staff will have to go out several cycles and if they have a Regional commitment this project will rise up and they will have the support.
Commissioner Pulver stated that earlier Mr. Georgevitch mentioned the south interchange and I-5 that if something was not done the Oregon Department of Transportation would restrict the City as to what they can do. Mr. Georgevitch reported that this is a safety concern. The Oregon Department of Transportation needs to either slow down the development in Medford or look for improvements. When development stops in Medford it does not stop the transportation problem. It exasperates the problem. Like Foothill/North Phoenix. It is a two-lane County road moving over 11,000 vehicles a day. Driving development outside of Medford still kept Medford as where people shop and are employed.
Commissioner Pulver asked regarding two projects in the old Transportation System Plan, is Delta Waters to Foothill and Columbus Avenue to Sage making a connection? Mr. Georgevitch stated they are committed projects from the 17 project list. Public Works collected all the funds for the 17 project list. They are down to the last two projects and have not had time to build them because they keep getting federal projects that have a timeline.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:58 p.m.
Terri L. Rozzana