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Transportation Commission Meeting
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Call to Order: 12:48pm
10. Roll Call
Cory Crebbin, Public Works Director
Karl MacNair, Public Works Transportation Manager
Tim D’Alessandro, Council Liaison
Carl Paladino, Planning Principal Planner
Kyle Kearns, Planning Planner II
20. Citizen Communications
30. Approval of Minutes from May 27, 2020
There being no additions or corrections, the minutes of the May 27, 2020 meeting were approved as submitted.
40. Action Items
40.1 Six-Year Transportation Project List
Mr. MacNair made a PowerPoint presentation regarding the Transportation Commission’s role in guiding the City through the implementation of the Transportation System Plan (TSP). This responsibility includes making recommendations for adding projects to the City’s future budgets.
The Commission is being asked to provide feedback to staff on what information, other than what is presented in this meeting, they would like to have in order to develop recommendations in determining what projects should move forward.
Revenue projections were presented for the next six years. Mr. MacNair discussed the current impact of Covid-19 on revenues that included a drop in gas taxes for March, April, and May and the waiving of some SDC late fees. Total loses will likely fluctuate due to the uncertainty of the current situation. Future biennium totals are based on the environment at the beginning of the 2019-21 biennium.
Expenditures for each biennium are expected to increase. Over time, it is expected that the total amount of funding available for projects will decrease.
Mr. MacNair, Commissioners Pulver and Conrad had a brief discussion about the growth of SDC fees and the percentage of those fees that pay for maintenance costs. Staff will research further what the expected fees will be in the coming years.
Mr. MacNair provided updates for individual projects that are funded in the TSP 20-Year Plan. Also discussed were schedules and funding for projects that are in the design phase, are under construction, and have been completed. Other funding sources mentioned include grants from Metropolitan Planning Organization and Rogue Valley Council of Governments. In developing the last City budget, the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee provided input on where those funds should be spent.
The Commission requested that staff provide their thoughts on what the Six-Year Plan should look like and explain why certain projects were selected. Specifically, commissioners are interested in staff’s insights into: funding levels and timelines; projects being ranked according to importance; areas where there are currently capacity constraints, safety issues, and/or anticipated growth; which projects are short, medium, or long-term and why; Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee recommendations; what funds will be used for which projects – local funding, grants, General Fund; and which projects call for matching funds, etc. Mr. MacNair noted that some projects have been moved from long-term to short-term status as they are part of the Build Grant.
Mr. Crebbin explained the importance of the Commission providing guidance to the City on the Six-Year Plan. He gave the timeframe of October as when staff will need to prepare a presentation of the Commission’s recommendations to Council.
40.2 Transportation Planning Rule (TPR), Subsection (11)
Kyle Kearns of the Planning Department provided a PowerPoint presentation regarding a General File (GF) research project (GF-20-052) that explored the possibility of amending the local land development code. The Planning Department is asking the Transportation Commission to support Planning’s conclusion that there should be no further action taken related to GF-20-052. This project is a follow-up to a previous code amendment related to Concurrency that was adopted by Council.
Mr. Kearns provided background on the issue and explained that Concurrency is the requirement that transportation facilities be built concurrently with development.
In response to comments made at a public hearing, Planning undertook the GF project to review the use and application of TPR Subsection (11). Analysis of the resulting research and feedback from ODOT and the Department of Land Conservation and Development led Planning to determine there is no evidence Subsection (11) is being used anywhere in the state, that a state law addressing this issue already exists, and the use of Subsection (11) could open up the City to financial liability as it would be responsible to provide for mitigation. Therefore, Planning determined that creating a local process for Subsection (11) is unnecessary.
Motion: The Transportation Commission supports the Planning Department conclusion that no further action on the GF-20-052 project is needed.
Moved by: Commissioner West Seconded by: Commissioner Schroeder
Roll Call: Commissioners West, Harvey, Pulver, Parducci, Schroeder voting yes.
Motion carried and so ordered.
50. Discussion Items
50.1 Safe Routes to Schools Grant Application
Mr. MacNair shared that ODOT is currently soliciting applications for the 2021–22 grant cycle for Safe Routes to School competitive infrastructure grants. This is a state-wide program that began in the 2019-2020 cycle as part of the House Bill 2017 funding package passed by the state legislature.
There is approximately $26 million available for this purpose. Medford received a portion of this funding in the last cycle. Public Works has been working with the school district to identify projects and has submitted a letter of intent to ODOT. When the application is further along in its development, staff will ask the Commission for a letter of support.
Commissioner West would like to see Delta Waters – Lincoln Elementary area included in the application. Mr. MacNair will investigate the possibility of linking grant funding to that project.
50.2 Oregon Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)
Mr. MacNair provided this item as informational.
The draft STIP was recently published and there are several City of Medford projects included: Foothill Road from Hillcrest to McAndrews; McAndrews Road cycle track from Biddle Road to Royal Avenue; 10th Street lane reconfiguration; and Crater Lake Avenue signal improvements from Main Street to Delta Waters Avenue.
Local jurisdictions submit applications to each region to obtain this funding. The state identifies funding based on a formula using safety data and cost-benefit ratios. A portion of this funding is from the federal government, and the state distributes it by region. The regions accept the local applications as well as applications from ODOT regional staff. The regions then rank, jurisdictionally blind, between ODOT and the local jurisdictions to put the safety funding to use where it provides the most cost benefit.
50.3 COVID-19 Effects on Transportation in Medford
Mr. MacNair presented information staff gathered in response to questions raised at the last meeting regarding transportation impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It appears that most areas around the country are experiencing similar trends but on different timelines. Medford saw a significant drop in traffic in March and April with it creeping back up in May and June. In the middle of the day, Medford’s traffic activity is equivalent to pre-pandemic numbers. The morning and evening commutes are still slightly reduced.
The University of Maryland conducted a county-by-county study that found that a very high percentage of workers are able to work from home. Medford City workers are back in the office part-time with work at home days. A world-wide trend that Medford is experiencing is the increase in bicycle sales. According to Medford Cycle Sport, sales have gone through the roof, but supply chains for bikes and bike parts have been significantly impacted.
Commissioner Harvey asked if the City had adjusted the traffic signal timing to meet the uptick in traffic. Mr. MacNair responded that in the first week of June traffic signals were returned to their normal timing.
60. Planning and Public Works Department Update
Mr. MacNair responded to a question asked during the MURA presentation at the last meeting that involved the number of accidents where parked car doors were opened into moving traffic. MURA’s plan to configure lanes on Central Avenue to accommodate diagonal parking concerned several commissioners. Staff researched the last five years and found, according to MPD records, that on Central Avenue, there was one instance of a parked vehicle door opening into a moving vehicle. City-wide, there were eight incidents, and those were all vehicle-to-vehicle with no record of a car door opening into a moving bicycle.
70. Comments from Commissioners and Other Committees
80. Agenda Build
90. Next Meeting – July 22, 2020
100. Adjournment: 2:13pm
Public Works, Engineering