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Agenda & Minutes

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Medford Urban Renewal (View All)

Medford Urban Renewal Agency Board Study Session Agenda & Minutes

Thursday, November 14, 2019

November 14, 2019   

Immediately following the City Council Study Session
Medford City Hall, Council Chambers
411 W. 8th Street, Medford, Oregon
The Medford Urban Renewal Study Session was called to order at 7:12 p.m. in the Medford Room of City Hall on the above date, with the following members and staff present:
Board Members Clay Bearnson, Kay Brooks, Tim D’Alessandro, Dick Gordon, Alex Poythress, Eric Stark, Kevin Stine and Gary Wheeler; City Manager Brian Sjothun, Senior Assistant City Attorney Katie Zerkel, Deputy City Recorder Winnie Shepard
Board member Michael Zarosinski was absent.
Initial Liberty Park Project Recommendations:
Medford Urban Renewal Director Harry Weiss outlined the evening’s topics.
Twenty MPH Speed Limit on Local Streets
Mr. Weiss advised that as of January 1, 2019 new legislation will allow cities to reduce speeds by five miles per hour. He provided information on Portland’s “Twenty is Plenty” program. Mr. Weiss recommended a speed reduction on Central and Riverside surrounding the Liberty Park area. Speed reduction can be approved through a City Council Ordinance, but Mr. Weiss recommended a review by the Traffic Coordinating Committee and the Transportation Commission. 
The Board extensively discussed this topic.  Lower speeds are safer and do provide traffic calming, but many Board members preferred the utilization of additional options in conjunction with the reduced speed, such as signage, the traffic speed van, additional police presence, etc.
Citizen Bob Shand noted that he worked with the Police Department regarding traffic in the Liberty Park area.  The police speed trailer determined there were approximately 850 cars using Beatty at different speeds each day. He suggested repeating that process after implementation to determine the success of reducing the speed and/or other measures.
Mr. Weiss requested direction.  Board member D’Alessandro reiterated that it appeared most of the Board preferred a speed reduction with other traffic calming measures.  Mr. Weiss to provide options and potential expense. 
If Board approved the speed reduction, it could be on the Council agenda for approval at the January 2 meeting. Mr. Weiss will bring something for Board adoption at the December 5, 2019 meeting.
Sewer Lateral Repair/Housing Rehabilitation
Sewer lateral replacement was discussed during the MURA substantial amendment. Mr. Weiss recommended incremental repair/replacement as part of housing rehabilitation. This could be a partner project with the Housing Authority.
Board member Brooks recommended increasing public outreach for the homeowner repair program.  She questioned whether working with the Housing Authority would place restrictions on the program.  Mr. Weiss advised that all restrictions were placed by the Board and not the Housing Authority.
There were no objections to Mr. Weiss moving forward.
Central Avenue Lane Reconfiguration
Mr. Weiss recommended reducing travel lanes on Central and Riverside to two lanes and adding a bicycle lane.  If approved, this lane reduction could be completed during a scheduled overlay in 2020.  He proposed a bicycle lane which would be separated from traffic through parallel parking and reducing lane width to 11-12 feet from Court and Edward to Jackson.  Any revision would be processed through the Public Works Department, utilizing Transportation Commission and perhaps ODOT. 
These changes would not impact bus stops and would improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Mr. Weiss clarified that the Board would like him to work with Public Works and Engineering, receive feedback from the Traffic Coordinating Committee and report back to the Board. There were no objections.
Bartlett Street Improvement Maple Street to Pear Blossom Park
Bartlett and Niantic Streets connect Pear Blossom Park to the Liberty Park area. Mr. Weiss had been researching improvements to Bartlett to increase safety and allow more pedestrian traffic, including improvements at the intersection of Bartlett and Jackson Streets. 
Board member Poythress spoke about connecting Pear Blossom Park to Liberty Park by transitioning Bartlett Street into a park.  The street is not well traveled, only a couple businesses would be impacted and the change would connect Liberty Park to downtown. The Board discussed the idea and liked it for a future project. Mr. Weiss acknowledged that this would be an extensive project, but he did not want to research it without support from the Board.  
The meeting adjourned at 8:39 p.m.
Winnie Shepard, CMC
Deputy City Recorder

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