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Transportation Commission (View All)

Transportation Commission Meeting

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Prescott Room, Medford Police Department
219 S. Ivy Street, Medford, Oregon
Call to Order: 12:35pm
10.  Roll Call
Commissioners Present:
Al Densmore
Dennie Conrad
Jared Pulver
Suzanne Schroeder
Kim Parducci
Paige West
Mickey Harvey
Commissioners Absent:
Peggy Penland
Staff Present:
Cory Crebbin, Public Works Director
Karl MacNair, Public Works Transportation Manager
Debra Royal, Public Works Administrative Support
20.  Citizen Communications
30.  Approval of Minutes from June 24, 2020
Approved by unanimous consent.
40.  Action Items
         40.1       Six-Year Transportation Project
Mr. MacNair presented on the Six-Year Transportation Project list via PowerPoint.
The request being made of the Commission is to adopt a project list by the September 23 Commission meeting in order to provide the City with guidance for the upcoming budget process. This list will be reviewed by the Commission at least every two years to coincide with the biennium budget process.
The revenue estimates in this list are forecasts. The actual amounts may differ and the Council may not adopt the budget that matches the Commission’s recommendations.
There is $3.2 million available for additional projects after the committed and recommended projects are accounted for. There is $12.7 million, but staff recommends putting aside $9.5 million that has been allocated to the Mega-Corridor in the TSP, so funding is available for local match or planning work should an opportunity arise to further the Mega-Corridor project.
Lists of committed and recommended projects were presented in detail. Staff asked the Commission to review the committed and recommended projects and provide feedback. The committed projects either have grant funding or are already in progress except for the Biddle/Stevens project, which is a needed maintenance project. The recommended projects are staff’s recommendations, but don’t currently have the same level of commitment from the City. Staff also asked the Commission to provide guidance to the City regarding which additional projects should be funded with the $3.2 million.
Commissioner Pulver asked if projects ever become “stale.”
Mr. Crebbin confirmed that projects do go “stale.” After the environmental clearance is obtained, a five year clock begins.
Chairman Densmore asked if the list totaling $4.4 million is coming out of the available funding of $3.2. “Are we talking about the same money?”
Mr. MacNair explained that the $3.2 million is in addition to the two lists in the presentation. The $3.2 million remains after all the committed and recommended projects have been accounted for. The last page of the memo provided to the Commission is the revenue estimate. The actual estimate is $26.6 million over the six years available for capital projects. Once all recommended and committed projects are accounted for, $12.7 million remains. After the $9.5 million for the Mega-Corridor is removed, $3.2 remains.
Chairman Densmore raised the question that given this is for a six-year plan, isn’t $3.2 million a reasonable contingency fund. Adding, it seems trying to project needs over a six-year time horizon with that amount of money relative to what is already being spent, it will be difficult to add more projects. Mr. MacNair shared that the revenue estimate already includes $2.5 million in contingency.
Chairman Densmore asked if staff were confident the additional $3.2 million can be allocated. Mr. MacNair agreed that is reasonable.
Chairman Densmore asked if the City is expecting the Commission’s recommendations to be prioritized. Mr. MacNair confirmed that prioritization would be helpful when determining grant efforts to fill-in funding shortfalls.
Mr. Crebbin offered that the Commission is being asked to create and adopt a six-year project plan, but the members are also going to be asked what projects should be included in the next biennial budget.
Commissioner Pulver asked for clarification of what portion of the $26.6 million is available for the six-year plan and what portion for the next biennium. Mr. MacNair confirmed that the amount is for the six-year window.
Commissioner West and Mr. Crebbin discussed the speed at which the $3.2 could be spent and that due to unforeseen issues with projects, spending often does not track with the planned timeline. Commissioner West asked to table the prioritization task for the current meeting as there are no projections as yet. It was agreed. She also asked about bike and pedestrian projects and if the $3.2 million could be allocated to those types of projects. Mr. MacNair informed the members that they could suggest monies be used for projects on the list for bike, pedestrian, and sidewalk projects, and that they have the authority to override any recommendation from the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC).
Mr. MacNair explained staff has asked BPAC for their prioritization of projects as well, but nothing has been identified by that committee as yet. BPAC’s recommendations are expected to be available for the August Transportation Commission meeting.
Mr. Crebbin clarified that projects presented are staff recommendations that the Commission is being asked to endorse. The Commission members can do whatever they see fit by way of endorsements, rejections, or making changes.
Commissioner Pulver, Mr. MacNair, and Mr. Crebbin discussed the importance of the City waiting to fund projects until ODOT studies are completed. Commissioner Pulver suggested building flexibility into the plan, so the City can react to any findings especially for the Mega-Corridor; that it would be prudent to wait in the event ODOT develops new information and guidance. Mr. Crebbin said that the Commission can change the list at any time; that Council allocates the funds, but they give significant weight to the Commission’s recommendations. Mr. MacNair agreed the plan is flexible and that when new insights and information come to light, projects can drop off the list and others can take their place.  
Mr. MacNair discussed some of the most congested areas in the City and that the Commission might want to look at those even though they are not on the initial list provided for their review.
Commissioner Parducci’s number one project is Barnett/Highland improvement and she asked several questions regarding its funding and if allocated money could it be part of the City’s match? She argued her pick is important because it impacts development on both sides of the City. It helps many local developers, covers a large area of the City, and clears congestion on Garfield. She offered that if the City doesn’t start clearing congestion, the state will not be able to do much. The City needs to look at the intersections of Barnett Road with Highland and Ellendale and how improvements can be made with the median and potentially punching through a connection to Ellendale from the businesses on the South side, so there are more options along that portion of the corridor. This project is estimated at $1.5 million. The $3.2 million isn’t enough to do much on the list. Some of the infill would be good to look as well.
Chairman Densmore, Commissioner Pulver, and Mr. Crebbin then engaged in a discussion that ODOT will need to be part of the solutions; that ODOT will insist the City fix existing problems before it comes to ODOT for secondary solutions. Mr. Crebbin reminded the members ODOT already did that regarding S. Stage improvements. ODOT wanted to see how much it would cost to widen Barnett. In 2002, Council said widening Barnett is not an option because creating seven lanes will negatively impact pedestrians and signal timing.
Commissioner Pulver asked if in the next 20 years, the City will have the money to do all projects on the list. His concern was that this is only $3 million per biennium, and asked, in theory, is there money down the road to address these? Mr. Crebbin confirmed that is correct.
Commissioner Pulver suggested the Commission will have between $3.2 and $7.6 million if they scrap what staff is suggesting. Each member should come to the next meeting with their top three projects, so a consensus can be reached to make a recommendation to Council.
Chairman Densmore agreed and asked the other members to weigh-in.
Commissioner West then provided her top pick: Delta Waters Road between Nome Court and Bedford Circle.
Commissioners Conrad and Pulver recalled this project had been recommended by the Commission in the past, but it was postponed and the funds designated to the Mega-Corridor. Mr. MacNair confirmed the postponement, but that it had not been taken out of the TSP. Chairman Densmore assured members this project can be put at the top of the list if the Commission decides to do so.
Further discussion on the process of choosing the top projects was undertaken. It was determined that the members would return their top three picks to staff within the next two weeks. Staff would then compile the top picks to aid in focusing the discussion at the next meeting. Commissioner Conrad asked that staff provide a chart or table to the members so that the responses are uniform and there is an organized structure to follow.
Commissioner Schroeder asked about the need to correlate her top three selections with the TSP guidelines and match the future goals and needs of Medford. Mr. MacNair confirmed that all the options on the list are Tier One projects so they are consistent with the TSP.
Commissioner Pulver inquired about putting the Delta Waters project Commissioner West discussed at the top of the list since it is also going to appear on the Safe Routes to School grant request. Mr. Crebbin assured the members that there is nothing preventing them from putting that project at the top of the list. Mr. MacNair added that many of these projects are good candidates for future rounds of grants. ODOT has funds for the All Roads Safety Program that gives priority to projects that include a crash location. There is an ODOT program for trails that came out of House Bill 2017. He offered that the Commission does not necessarily have to try to hit the $3.2 million mark, but if priorities are identified that can help direct where the City focuses its future grant requests. Commissioner Pulver suggested when making the top three picks, the members add language if they believe it to be a good future grant candidate.
Mr. Crebbin recommends forwarding to the members the list of the 50 Highest Crash Intersections in Medford.
50.  Discussion Items
         50.1       Safe Routes to Schools Grant Application
Mr. MacNair reviewed with the Commission the potential projects to include in the application(s) for the Safe Routes to Schools Grant. He requested feedback from the members.
The local match for the projects that appear on the application(s) would come out of the $200K a year that has been identified for bike and pedestrian funding, or it could come out of the $3.2 million discussed earlier.
There are a total of 500 possible points for each project. The State’s scoring criteria was explained.
Potential Projects: Table Rock/Midway (Howard Elementary); Crossing enhancements and sidewalk infill (Kennedy Elementary); Kenyon/Garfield (Jefferson Elementary); Delta Waters Road from Nome Court to Bedford Circle (Abraham Lincoln Elementary); and Black Oak/Dellwood (Hoover Elementary). 
Staff and members discussed details of each candidate project, amount of grant funding for which the City can apply, readiness, and how to submit the application(s) - as a group of projects or as individual projects. Mr. MacNair suggested it is cleaner to submit each project as a stand-alone application. Creating the budget estimate for each project will be the next step after identifying the projects to include in this effort. The projects should be under the $2 million maximum ask per applicant.
Chairman Densmore offered that there are multiple benefits when sidewalk improvements are made in neighborhoods, specifically health benefits to the community. The members stated that all the potential projects are good projects. Black Oak/Dellwood did not score well according to the grant criteria. Commissioners recommended that all projects except for Black Oak/Dellwood should be applied for.
60.  Planning and Public Works Department Update
Mr. MacNair offered that the Build Grant is very close to submitting the 60% submittal DAP. Public Works is nearing 90% on the Springbrook project. It is expected to be awarded later this year and construction will continue through the next construction season. Proposals have been received for the new traffic signal controllers and central system. Overlays and ADA ramps have been completed with paving underway. By the end of August, Jackson Street will be restriped to one lane in each direction and a center turn lane from Central Avenue to Crater Lake Avenue with buffered bike lanes on each side of the roadway. Central Avenue, from Jackson Street to 4th Street, has been restriped from three lanes to two lanes to be consistent with the downtown standard.
70.  Comments from Commissioners and Other Committees
Commissioner Schroder offered that the BPAC has not met since the beginning of the COVID-19 virus situation, but she will be contacting the members so they have an opportunity to offer input for the project priorities regarding the Six-Year Plan. Commissioner Schroeder also voiced her agreement with the Chairman’s statement regarding health benefits and that they should be considered when prioritizing infrastructure projects for pedestrians and cyclists.
Commissioner Harvey offered that the Parking Committee conducted interviews to fill two open positions on the committee, but that there are still two other open positions.
80.  Agenda Build
Both items from today will be on next month’s agenda.
90.   Next Meeting – August 26, 2020
100. Adjournment 2:07pm

Respectfully submitted,

Debra Royal
Public Works, Engineering


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