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Transportation Commission (View All)

Transportation Commission Meeting

Minutes
Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Call to Order: 12:30 pm
 
10.  Roll Call                                                                                                                     
 
Commissioners Present:
 
Al Densmore, Chair
Dennie Conrad
Jaime Jordan
Kim Parducci
Peggy Penland
Suzanne Schroeder
 
Commissioners Absent:
 
         Jared Pulver
        
Staff Present:
 
         Cory Crebbin, Public Works Director
         Karl MacNair, Public Works Transportation Manager
         Tim D’Alessandro, Council Liaison
         Matt Brinkley, Planning Director
         Carla Paladino, Planning Principal Planner
         Debra Royal, Public Works Recording Secretary
 
Guests Present:
 
         Thomas Guevara, Project Manager, ODOT
         Katie Brown, Traffic Analyst, ODOT
         Peter Schuytema, Traffic Analyst, ODOT
         Paige West, Planning & Strategic Programs Manager, RVTD
  
20.  Citizen Communications

                     None
 
30.  Approval of Minutes from December 4, 2019
 
There being no additions or corrections, the minutes of the December 4, 2019 meeting were approved as submitted.
 
40.  Agenda Items
 
         40.1       BUILD Grant Match Recommendation
 
Karl MacNair made an informal presentation to the Commission. Recommendations were not requested at this time.
 
The BUILD Grant was awarded in November of 2019. The grant’s $15.5 million will cover Foothill Road construction and part of South Stage Road on the east side of the City. Details of the boarders/specific areas covered by the grant were presented as well as funding issues.
 
The entire project is projected to cost $39.4 million with $13 million of the project match coming from the already funded section of Foothill Road between Hillcrest and McAndrews, $3 million from the already funded Jackson County project for Foothill Road between Delta Waters and Dry Creek, $4 million will be realized from the postponement of the Columbus Extension project, and the City is in negotiations with Jackson County to obtain another $3 million related to the jurisdictional exchange of Foothill Road. This leaves just under $1 million of project costs unfunded. Staff recommends this shortfall be funded by future gas tax revenue. The TSP has $15 million set aside for a number of Tier One projects associated with this corridor that are projected to use some of that funding.
 
Cory Crebbin informed the Commission that the BUILD Grant’s matching funds is on the minds of the City Council members. Mr. Crebbin informed the Council that the Commission recommends the use of the funds from the postponed Columbus Extension project to help met the grant’s matching requirement.
                                                       
            40.2       OR 62 Expressway Vilas Interchange Area Management Plan (IAMP) Presentation
 
(Executive Summary attached: full analysis available at (ftp//ftp.odot.statee.or.us/out-going/Vilas%201AMP/)
 
Staff from Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) were in attendance to provide a briefing on the recently completed Interchange Area Management Plan (IAMP)and to obtain a recommendation from the Commission either to move forward or not to move forward on the OR 62 Expressway’s Vilas Interchange.
 
The briefing focused on a Traffic Analysis ODOT had completed that addressed boundaries, Federal Environmental Impact Statement, and specifically the various benefits and challenges that would be created by a Vilas expressway interchange (one of four interchanges planned for the expressway).
 
Katie Brown discussed the analysis stating that 19 possible scenarios for the area were considered. It was narrowed to six and then to two scenarios to study in-depth: 1) without the Vilas Road interchange ($45M savings) and 2) with the interchange ($25M savings). ODOT determined that the roadway network works better without the interchange at Vilas Road.
 
The Commissioners had many questions on economic impacts (construction costs and cost to local entities - businesses, commuters, etc.), travel times, congestion and queuing, speeds, efficiency, who benefits, etc.
 
Mr. Guevara recapped ODOT request that the Commission determine and make a recommendation to the City Council: 1) if the Vilas interchange is important to the future of this area, then 2) will the City commit the necessary funding for roadway improvements to local systems that will be needed to support the interchange. Mr. Guevara underscored that their study revealed the Vilas interchange will not be a direct benefit to the City of Medford; that most Medford travelers will continue to use Carter Lake Highway rather than the expressway.
 
Mr. Crebbin reminded the Commission that the City Council will be voting on this matter and will be looking for advice from the Commission.
 
Mr. Guevara offered that in the big picture what the City of Medford wants will weigh heavily on whether or not ODOT moves forward on creating the Vilas Road interchange.
 
Mr. Crebbin asked the ODOT team to return to the Commission’s February meeting with a five to 10 minute summary of the presentation they made today. This was the first time the Commissioners have been notified of this issue and they would like to take some time to consider the matter.                
 
            40.3       Residential Speed Limit 20 MPH Allowance
 
Mr. MacNair asked the Commissioners for a recommendation on this Public Works and Traffic Coordinating Committee proposal to lower the speed zones to 20 MPH in certain residential areas.
In 2019, the state legislature made a change to the 2017 speed zone law that now allows all cities to post 20 MPH zones in residential districts that are not arterial roadway. Signs must be posted with the new 20 MPH limit, as well. In 2017, Portland implemented this law city-wide.
 
In anticipation of this change, Public Works has had discussions about the appropriateness of the change. The consensus is that a City-wide implementation is not wise. There are concerns that if speeds are artificially lowered to 20 MPH in all areas, the potential of speed differentials between those following the posted limit and those not would be increased. Most drivers drive speeds that seem comfortable for the roadway rather than adhering to the posted sign.
 
Mr. MacNair provided details regarding where lowering the speed limit would and would not make sense for the City. 
 
Excluded should be: Streets bounded by SFR-00 zoning, streets that do not have residential development on both sides, streets where the speed differential is likely to increase, collectors and arterial roadways.
 
Included should be: Areas where residential streets are narrower than the cross section the TSP calls for and residential streets identified as bike routes.
 
The Public Works Department considers this a Public Works policy not needing City Council approval. Therefore, the state’s criteria would be applied to individual requests to lower the speed limit and to Public Works projects as they are undertaken. At those times, Public Works would approach the City Council to pass individual ordnances for specific segments of roadways.
 
Mr. Crebbin reviewed the process of consideration and approval of future request (first to the TCC, then to TC, then to CC) and made clear that Public Works is seeking to have a framework in place before requests begin to arrive. The current system is employment of the “Citizen Request” form available on the City’s website. The framework would enhance this “Citizen Request” form. Commissioner Penland and Mr. Crebbin explained the framework will be used to weigh the request against the criteria needing to be met by to request in order to receive a favorable response from the City. The request will first go to the TCC for consideration. Then move to the TC. Then staff would take the request to the City Council.
 
Mr. MacNair asked the Commissioners for a recommendation on whether they agreed with the proposed criteria or if they have any additions or deletions from the policy or to propose an alternative.
 
Staff and commissioners determined that more work was needed to develop the specific language of the recommendation, and it was agreed to table the matter until the next meeting.
                             
50.  Discussion Items (10 Minutes Each)
 
       50.1       Update on Parking Committee Code Change
 
Mr. MacNair reported that the City Council approved the Commission’s recommendation to add a position to accommodate a member of the Parking Committee on the Commission.
        
50.2 RVTD’s 2040 Transit Master Plan
 
Paige West, Planning and Strategic Programs Manager for Rogue Valley Transportation District, presented a technical look at the 2040 Transit Master Plan.  
 
The plan development was a two-year process, adopted in November of 2019. Those involved were Public Works and Planning Divisions of the eight municipalities that RVTD serves, RVTD board of directors, consultants from Kittleson and Association, community members from education, and low income sectors were also included in the Citizens’ Advisory Committee and Technical Advisory Committee.
 
The public involvement process lasted nine months and included passenger surveys, demographic data, in-person open houses, and surveys with drivers and the management team. Virtual open houses were also held where more than 1/3 of the responses were from people who have not used transit in the last three years.
 
Modeling tools and steps were discussed including, Remix tool, used by every transit agency in Oregon. Lines can be snapped onto the transportation system to assist in creating a route (route alignment). It shows demographic data, headways which is the frequency of the bus service, hours of service, etc. JEMnR model by ODOT is another model used to look at the entire transportation system. It can tell if it’s convenient and cost effective for a traveler to choose transit. This plan is the only one in the state that has used this model. TBEST model is out of Florida. It uses all the methodologies to measure performance of a transit system and makes it consistent across the entire state. This tool was calibrated to the Medford area based on the regional problem solving process.
 
The process for looking at new projects was discussed. Key were identifying Transit-Supportive Areas and the development and defining of service concepts.
 
Projects already completed and planned for the period 2017-2027 were discussed.
 
Commissioner Conrad asked about costs to add a route. Ms. West gave a detailed explanation of how cost per mile/cost per hour were determined using a defined formula.
Chairman Densmore asked about difficult issues the plan was facing. Of significance is that 30% of the low income population is being missed. Because of the way the street network is set up and because there are only so many corridors there isn’t much more that can be done. When affordable housing is being built in hard to reach areas, transit can’t get there to help the 30%. The system has been quadrupled but still does not reach who should be reached. Transit development guidelines are being developed to look at densifying areas and how transit can be used to help.
 
Commissioner Schroeder asked about the connection between public transit and walkability, and how can the Commission help support. Ms. West shared that there has been a delay in getting data, but is hopeful in the next few years to be able to move forward.
 
Commissioner Schroeder commented on an AARP study regarding “Healthy Cities.” The study determined that a successful city is one where affluent people use public transportation. Ms. West, discussed experimenting with the Express concept to accomplish this. This has gotten the most interest from non-traditional riders. Enhancing other routes to mirror this is being looked at. Currently, driving is still faster between the Medford and Ashland and there are no parking fees. Parking fees are a big indicator of transit usage.
 
         50.3       Medford Parks Department Bear Creek Greenway Lighting Project         
 
The Parks Department provided Mr. MacNair with a preliminary plan of the lighting layout, which he briefed the Commission on. The plan is subject to change.
 
60.  Planning and Public Works Department Update                                                  
 
Carla Paladino briefed the Commission on a work plan prepared by the Planning Department. The plan is in response to a public comment made during a concurrency code amendment process. The request is that further review be done for one of the subsections in the Transportation Planning Rule relating to mitigation for industrial and traded sector jobs. Specifically that the City needs to create its own internal language process for it. The request did not fit well into the concurrency amendment, so it is a work plan of its own. The plan describes how Planning will go about the research and bringing it back to the commissions and committees to decide if any changes need to be made to the code. State law does allow for the change. Planning believes it is already addressed in the TPR, but some people in the development community want assurances and specificity. Target timeframe of hearings will be sometime in early summer 2020.
 
Mr. MacNair made several comments:
 
At the December Council Meeting, Page West’s membership on the Commission was approved.
 
         Mike Zarosinski will be the new Council Liaison.
 
         Tim D’Alessandro will be the alternate Council Liaison.
 
70.  Comments from Commissioners and Other Committees                            
 
Chairman Densmore had several comments:
 
This meeting is Councilwoman Jaime Jordan’s last as a Commissioner. The Chairman and members thanked her for her work on the Commission.
 
On Thursday, January 23, Chairman Densmore and Mr. MacNair will present the Commission’s recommendations regarding the Mega Corridor to the City Council. All are invited to attend.
 
We should urge the City Council to assist in getting the word out to citizens about Real ID implementation. This could help alleviate the extreme difficulties that DMV may be facing.
 
We should consider urging the City Council to communicate to the general public the state’s efforts to make-up for dropping gas taxes by increasing the renewal fees for folks driving high mileage, OReGO.

80.  Agenda Builder ​ 
  • OR 62 Expressway Vilas Interchange Traffic Analysis Presentation
  • Residential Speed Limit Reduction - 20 MPH
  • Foothill Transportation Facility Application
 90. Next Meeting:  February 26, 2020
 
Adjournment:  2:27 pm                                                                                           
 
Respectfully submitted,
 
Debra Royal
Public Works, Engineering


                                          

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