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Transportation Commission (View All)

Transportation Commission Meeting Agenda & Minutes - September 25, 2019

Wednesday, September 25, 2019


September 25, 2019                                           
12:30 P.M.                                                                            
Medford City Hall, Medford Room 330
411 West 8th Street, Medford, Oregon
10.   Roll Call                                                                                                                          
 20.  Citizen Communications
 30.  Approval of Minutes from August 28, 2019
 40.  Agenda Items
         40.1       Zone Change Trip Rate Policy (R)                                                                 
         40.2       Medford’s Pavement Management Strategy (I)                                        
         40.3       2019 Institute of Transportation Engineers Conference Recap (I)         
50.  Other Business                                                                                  
 60.  Planning and Public Works Department Update (I)                                                 
 70.  Comments from Commissioners and Other Committees (I)                                 
 80.  Next Meeting: 

October 23, 2019 – 12:30 P.M.
90.  Adjournment                                                                                                    
(R) = Commission Recommendation Needed
(D) = Discussion Item
(I) = Informational Item    

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(800) 735‑1232.
September 25, 2019                                                         
12:30 P.M.                                                                            
Medford City Hall, Medford Room 330
411 West 8th Street, Medford, Oregon
Call to Order: 12:34 pm
10.   Roll Call                                                                                                               
Commissioners Present:
Al Densmore, Chairman
Dennie Conrad, Vice Chairman
Tim D’Alessandro, Council Liaison
Jaime Jordan
Kim Parducci
Jared Pulver
Suzanne Shroeder
Commissioners Absent:
Peggy Penland
Kay Brooks
Staff Present:
Cory Crebbin, Public Works Director
Karl MacNair, Transportation Manager
Eric Zimmerman, Deputy City Manager
Peter Brown, Engineering Tech IV
Luke Anderson, Public Works Supervisor
Debra Royal, Recording Secretary
Staff Not Present:
Alex Georgevitch, Deputy Public Works Director/City Engineer
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner
Citizens Present:
Paige West
20.   Citizen Communications:
30.   Approval of Minutes from August 28, 2019:
There being no additions or corrections, the minutes for August 28, 2019 were approved as submitted.
40.   Agenda Items:
40.1    Zone Change Trip Rate Policy (R)
We are seeking input on a new zone change trip rate policy which was discussed at the last meeting on concurrency. This formalizes trip rates that the city has been using for a long time. The only proposed change to the historic rates is for commercial zoning. Commissioner Kim Parducci and Jay Harland of CSA Planning conducted work on the rate we apply for commercial zoning in Medford. They looked at different lot coverages with commercial zoning rates from the Institute of Transportation Engineers Trip Generation Manual and proposed a rate to the City that would step as the zone changes increase in size. Basically, all were in agreement that 1,500 trips an acre is good for small sites, but as the site sizes increase i.e. large commercial sites, the numbers increase significantly. Some traffic studies would then become very large due to tracking out trips of less than 25 trips impacting an intersection.
Staff of both Engineering and Planning departments reviewed the proposed rates and compared them to existing developments in Medford with the ITE rate applied. The proposed rate is much closer to the calculated rates from actual developments in the City of Medford. It is still slightly conservative, which accounts for the potential of denser development allowed by the code.
Commissioner Jared Pulver commented that the zone change rates are needed because the City of Medford studies traffic impacts at the time of zone change when the specific uses that correlate to the ITE rates are not known. Cory Crebbin, Public Works Director, commented that the specific uses come later in the develop process. Mr. Crebbin added that the development community has told Public Works they prefer to study traffic at the time of zone change because then they know what they can do with the land earlier in the development process.
Chair Al Densmore questioned whether this would be a department policy or a code change. Karl MacNair, Public Works Transportation Manager, confirmed it would be a department policy.
Mr. Pulver questioned if neighborhood commercial (CN) was looked at for a potentially lower trip rate since the uses are limited in that zone compared to some other commercial zones. Mr. MacNair responded that it was not studied. Only the service/professional commercial zone (C/SP) has a lower rate, which was changed some time ago. CN zoning allows some of the higher generators such as fast food.
Commissioner Dennie Conrad asked what the impact of this new policy would be. Mr. MacNair stated that for a large commercial zone change, the traffic study would be smaller. It would be more manageable.
Commissioner Tim D’Alessandro asked if this policy would be going to the Planning Commission or City Council, or if it is just an administrative decision. Mr. Crebbin confirmed that it is administrative.
Commissioner Kim Parducci stated the changes would make the traffic study a better representation of what will most likely be developed, rather than evaluating something at a much higher level of intensity.
Mr. Pulver moved to recommend that the Public Works Department adopt the policy. Ms. Parducci SECONDED.  The MOTION passed.
40.2 Medford’s Pavement Management Strategy (I)
Mr. Crebbin provided introductory comments including the history of Medford’s Pavement Management Strategy. Essentially, over 15 years ago, the Public Works Operations Division brought a request for more money for pavement maintenance because the City was falling behind. At that time, Operations staff could not say how much more money was needed. Since then, they have developed the Pavement Management Strategy.
The condition of all the pavements are measured every two years. This provides insights as to the deterioration levels and whether or not the City is keeping up with maintenance. In 2011, the Council changed the street utility fee to fully fund pavement maintenance. We now avoid the situation many other communities such as Portland that are facing huge pavement maintenance backlogs. The City is in excellent shape as a result of its Pavement Maintenance Strategy.
Mr. MacNair presented details of the Pavement Maintenance Report. The primary principal of pavement management is that it costs much more to reconstruct a street than it does to appropriately maintain it. If maintenance is ignored, the long-term costs rise significantly. A relatively small amount spent today extends the life of pavement, thereby, saving much more money down the road.
The City hires a consultant who uses lasers to numerically determine the Overall Condition Index (OCI) of the City’s streets. This occurs every two years. The Operations Division then uses the data collected to plan where surface maintenance is needed. The City’s average OCI is currently 76 which is considered good. The City’s goal is 75.
Mr. Crebbin offered an explanation of why the goal of 75 was chosen. Seventy-five is the level where, theoretically, the lowest life-cycle cost is achieved. If a city is able to fund that minimum level, it will spend less over the life of all pavements than if the level was permitted to drop below 60. This would invite much more expensive repairs. If the level of 85 is maintained, more than is necessary is being done. Seventy-five is the optimal level for life-cycle costs.
Mr. MacNair stated that the City’s streets are about 2/3 residential and 1/3 collectors and arterials.
Mr. Pulver asked if the City only maintains arterials and collectors or if it maintains residential streets, too. Mr. Crebbin stated the City maintains all streets. Mr. MacNair stated that arterial and collector streets carry higher levels of traffic so those degrade faster than residential streets.
The 2015 report recommended $2.5 million in annual funding to achieve an OCI of 74 after 5 years, which is very close to the 75 target. The most recent measured OCI was 76 in 2018.
Mr. Crebbin stated that the OCI has stayed fairly steady. In 2011, the Council established the street utility fee based on funding this program. It was funded until approximately 2013 when the federal government changed the rules on curb ramps. Before 2013, the City considered an overlay maintenance that did not include upgraded curb ramps. The Department of Justice and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released a joint technical memo stating that an overlay is an alternation, which triggers the upgrade of curb ramps. Approximately $750,000 to $800,000 per year of the City’s pavement maintenance budget is now spent on curb ramps. Medford’s pavement OCI has not been affected, as yet, but it is quite likely to be within the next few years.
40.3 2019 Institute of Transportation Engineers Conference Recap (I)
Mr. MacNair presented a report on the 2019 ITE Conference, which he attended in July. The theme of the conference was Transportation Transformed. It wasn’t hard to understand why Austin, Texas was selected as the conference’s host city. The streets of Austin were living examples of micro mobility. There were a lot of people all over the city using dockless scooters and bikes. 
At the conference, there was discussion on the pros and cons of these services. Usually tourists love them as it’s an economical and easy way to get around. Sometimes, however, the residents of the cities have a different opinion. Many larger cities that have embraced micro mobility are now dealing with negative impacts and are working with companies such as Uber to solve some of the problems. One issue is that a user must take a photo of where they park the scooters to show it is parked in a reasonable place otherwise an extra fee is tagged onto the rental later.
Chair Densmore asked if Medford has been approached by any of these companies. Eric Zimmerman, Deputy City Manager, stated that a company had made contact last year. There were some questions about regulations, but it hasn’t gone any further than that. Mr. Zimmerman added that someone was investigating to see what the local regulations were. Mr. MacNair stated that there used to be a bike share program in Medford, but now it’s only in Ashland. It was throughout the Rogue Valley, but the size of the program was reduced to support where it is being used the most. 
Another key theme of the conference was technology. There was much discussion of micro mobility, mobility as a services with Uber and Lift, navigation aps, and ways and how these advances are changing people’s choices. But, there were many at the conference pushing to get scooters off sidewalks. The bike lanes are a better place for scooters, but a lot of new scooter riders are not confident so they end up riding on the sidewalks. If there were better bike lanes/facilities for those who are not as experienced with riding in the street, they may be more inclined to stay off the sidewalks. There was discussion about how to handle the differing speeds between scooters and e-bikes with conventional bikes. A lot of larger cities are working on this. There was also discussion of helmet use.
As far as personal automobiles, there are a lot of new safety features: blind spot detection, lane assist, and driver assist functions like adaptive cruise control. There’s a lot of exciting technology coming to make cars safer and changing the options available on how to get around. There are also technologies that are more in the government realm like the red light cameras and automated speed enforcement, which are both used in Medford. Advanced traffic controllers are also being evaluated for Medford.
One technology that is not available yet is self-driving cars. There have been many news stories saying they are a couple years off, but that is an exaggeration according to many industry experts. It is more like 50 years off. There are some being tested now, but none have made it to production. The technology that is out there today, like lane assist and adaptive cruise control, will not saturate the market for probably 30 years. The point is, we should use what is available now and not wait for technology to fix things. Do what can be done to prepare for what’s coming, but stay focused on where the industry is today.
Which way the industry is growing was also discussed. Mr. MacNair mentioned Uber and Lift. Those companies own much of the rental electric scooter and bike business in Austin, and they are incorporating those into their existing ride share apps. There are other companies finding their way into that market, too. A Ford employee spoke at the conference. She joked that she couldn’t speak to the F150, Ford’s biggest selling item, but she could at length about the new full division Ford created to look at other types of mobility and single occupancy vehicles. They have been working in certain jurisdictions to lower the rates for low income people. Those are some of the changes coming.
Questions conference presenters asked questions of the attendees as they shared insights: “Do you think about technology in your city? What do you want to get out of the technology? The Industry is creating all of these new gadgets, but the challenge put to public agencies is, “What do you want from these technology companies? How can they help you achieve your goals? Don’t just sit back and wait for them to come up with something new that doesn’t really help you achieve your goals. You should be proactive and pro-change, collaborating with private industry and figuring out how they can help cities achieve goals.”
Other key points presented included a Harvard study that found commute times is the number one factor in a community’s economic mobility, and much of the new technologies are focused on the first and last mile of trips. The study found that across the nation, 40 percent of the trips taken are less than 2 miles. So, a lot of shorter trips are being taken. Another area where Uber and Lift are helping is drunk driving. Drunk driving claims 29 lives a day and distracted drivers take nine lives a day. We should focus on what we can do to lower some of these statistics.
Other common themes included leveraging partnerships with tech companies, higher education, and health care professionals to see where we have common goals, and try to work together toward accomplishing those goals. There was an example where a group of brain surgeons who had been treating trauma patients from motorcycle crashes helped advocate for helmet laws and had a very successful campaigns. Another big point was reaching out and listening to communities when creating new projects. Another is do adequate analysis. There were a few roundabout presentations that discussed peer review roundabout studies. One point of discussion was if roundabouts are over designed for too much capacity, they are not as safe, thereby losing their benefits.
There was discussion about transit signal priority (TSP) as another technology that is here now. RVTD is currently completing a plan for a TSP project.
Chairman Densmore mentioned that we’ve seen significant changes in the RVTD bus system. There’s a lot of new things happening in transit, and he asked that staff schedule a time for the Commission to receive an update from RVTD.
Mr. MacNair asked the commissioners, “What can we do next? What are the goals you think technology can help us achieve? If tech companies want to use the public right-of-way, what can the City get from allowing that to happen? What are the things we should be measuring as far as goals?” You get what you measure, so be careful what you measure.
50.   Other Business                                                                                                        
         No other business was presented.
60.   Planning and Public Works Department Update (I)                                               
The Larson Creek Trail is under construction and it’s scheduled to be complete mid-October. Planning is doing an open streets event Oct 12. The Foothill project is close to 60% design completion. The Springbrook from Cedar Links up to Pheasant Lane is at 30% plans. The signal at Crater Lake Avenue and Owen, the civil work is nearly complete, and signal poles will be installed soon. Delta Waters and Crater Lake had the eastbound right lane converted to a right turn only.
There was discussion about finishing the Larson Creek Path out to North Phoenix Road and how the Commission could prioritize that. Mr. Zimmerman stated that during some upcoming meetings the Commission will be looking at the TSP project list and the six-year capital improvement plan. That would be a good opportunity for the Commission to establish its priorities.
Chairman Densmore stated that Larson Creek is an important corridor since it provides an alternate to Barnett.
70.   Comments from Commissioners and Other Committees (I):

No Comments were presented.

80.   Next Meeting:

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 23, 2019 – 12:30 pm and will be held in the Medford Room #330 in City Hall. 
90.   Adjournment: 1:45 pm
           Respectfully Submitted,
           Debra Royal
           Engineering Administrative Support                 


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