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Transportation Commission (View All)

Transportation Commission Meeting

Minutes
Wednesday, August 26, 2020

12:30pm                   
Prescott Room, Medford Police Department
219 S. Ivy Street, Medford, OR                               
    
CALL TO ORDER: 12:35pm
 
10.   Roll Call
        
Members in Attendance:
Al Densmore, Chair
Dennie Conrad (via Zoom)
Mickey Harvey
Kim Parducci
Peggy Penland (via Zoom)
Jared Pulver
Paige West
 
Members Absent:
Suzanne Schroeder
 
Staff Present:
Kelly Madding, Deputy City Manager
Cory Crebbin, Public Works Director
Karl MacNair, Public Works Transportation Manager
Carla Paladino, Planning (via Zoom)
Kyle Kearns, Planning (via Zoom)
Debra Royal, Public Works Administrative Support
 
20.  Citizen Communications
 
None.
 
30.  Approval of Minutes from July 22, 2020
 
There being no objections, the Minutes of the July 22, 2020 meeting were approved by unanimous consent.
 
40.  Action Items
        
         40.1       Six-Year Transportation Project List
Mr. MacNair reviewed the purpose of developing a Six-Year Transportation Project Lists and the modifications made to the funding forecast, which is currently under review by the Finance Department. A final revenue estimate will be available at the September meeting. At this time, it is recommended that the Commission assume that there is $3.2 million available, but that figure will change slightly by the next meeting.
 
         [Commissioner Conrad joined the meeting.]
 
Chairman Densmore asked to hear each Commissioner’s individual project priorities.
 
  • Commissioner Parducci’s main focus includes volumes, connections to residential streets, and crash rates. 
  1. Project #178 Intersection of Highland Drive and Barnett Road – This intersection plays a very   large role in the City. This project is necessary to reduce congestion at this pinch-point.
  2. Project #447 Table Rock Road from Merriman Road to I-5 – This has the most serious record of crashes.
  3. Project #496 Stewart Avenue from Lozier Lane to Dixie Lane – This is an important network connector. 
  • Commissioner West’s main focus includes developed areas with high pedestrian actively and that are unlikely to have developer improvements. 
  1. Project #437 Delta Waters Road from Nome Court to Bedford Circle – East/west connection for pedestrians, bikes, and cars, in particular for the Abraham Lincoln Elementary School students to be able to walk safely to school.
  2. Project #466 Spring Street from Crater Lake Avenue to Sunrise Avenue – There is a significant number of low income neighborhoods in this area. The Housing Authority of Jackson County’s development does not have sidewalks.
  3. Projects #460 and #I03 12th Street from Central Avenue to Cottage Street and 12th Street and Riverside Avenue Signal Replacement - These two projects could combine with the committed grant funded project at 10th Street and Cottage Street. There are already funded projects going on at these sites, so it makes sense to get them done at the same time.
  4. Commissioner West added that she is also in favor of a project Chairman Densmore added to his list: Table Rock Sidewalk Infill. If approved, this project would become Commissioner West’s first choice as it is very important to RVTD. RVTD has had complaints from customers regarding the difficulty in accessing the bus stop at this location.
  • Commissioner Pulver 
  1. Project #178 Intersection of Highland Drive and Barnett Road – Commissioner Pulver recommends waiting on the ODOT study as they will probably ask the City to become involved. There is quite a bit happening with the UGB expansion.
  2. Project #437 Delta Waters Road from Nome Court to Bedford Circle – The scope should be narrowed. The north side of Delta Waters is barely improved. Commissioner Pulver recommends waiting until development happens and then leverage that activity to complete this project. This will tie in with the Foothill improvements where the City could acquire a sizable connection. The improvements could commence at the Greenway and progress all the way to the east.
  3. Project #447 Table Rock Road from Merriman Road to I-5 – The scope should be expanded. There’s a stretch from 99 where the sidewalks and bike lanes are not completed. If the scope is expanded, a long swath from the I-5 overpass to 99 would be complete. 
  • Commissioner Harvey’s main focus is safety. 
  1. Project #437 Delta Waters Road from Nome Court to Bedford Circle – This is part of the Safe Routes to School Program. The Commissioner drove to all locations on the list. Commissioner Harvey’s major takeaway is that it is not safe for school children.
  2. Project #496 Stewart Avenue from Lozier Lane to Dixie Lane – The Commissioner informally reached out to the Family Church, the Medford Neighborhood Church, and the Mexican Grill. All three said they would like to see a sidewalk installed due to the dangerous pedestrian conditions, especially during the school year.
  3. Project #606 Kings Highway – This project is slated as a long-term project, but there is so much development in the area, in reality, it may not be a long-term project. If the Kings Highway project is not possible as a priority option, Commissioner Harvey would replace it with Project #447 Table Rock Road from Merriman Road to I-5. 
  • Commissioner Penland’s main focus is safety. 
  1. Project #447 Table Rock from Merriman Road to I-5 – In 1994, the Commissioner appeared before the City Council to discuss the dangers school children faced when crossing streets in this area. At that time, and still to this day, the hazards remain: irrigation trenches, no streetlights, no sidewalks, speeding cars, and high fog. The only safety measures instituted since 1994 are a painted cross walk and a crossing guard during arrival and release times for school.
  2. Project #437 Delta Waters from Nome Court to Bedford Circle – It is very unsafe for the school children.
  3. Project #466 Spring Street from Crater Lake Avenue to Sunrise Avenue – Unsafe for pedestrians.  This matter has come before the Traffic Coordinating Committee no less than two times a year during Commissioner Penland’s 26 years serving on that Committee. 
  • Commissioner Conrad’s main focus includes bang for the buck, forward leaning, and safety concerns. 
  1. Project #I40 Crater Lake Highway and East Vilas Road – It is a dangerous design and needs to be corrected.
  2. Project #I24 North Phoenix Road and Barnett Road – The City needs to lean forward to address problems before they occur. There will be safety issue at this location if continued infrastructure development remains at the current rate.
  3. Project #413 Columbus Avenue from West McAndrews to Sage Road – There needs to be development there to make it safer. 
  • Commissioner Schroeder [Mr. MacNair read Commissioner Schroeder’s priorities into the record]: 
  1. Project # 413 Columbus Avenue from West McAndrew to Sage Road – This is a high use area by motorists, bikers, and pedestrians. Many children walk to the Santos Center.
  2. Project #708 South Stage City Limits to Orchard Home Drive – Realign the two sections of South Stage removing the Griffin Creek leg. South Stage is heavily used by cyclists.
  3. Project #447 Table Rock Road from Merriman Road to I-5.  
  • Chairman Densmore 
  1. Project # 447 Table Rock from Merriman Road to I-5 – This corridor is very important to the area. The cost of the project is only $150K, therefore, it may be able to be included in the Commission’s recommendations. If the City doesn’t use a lot of the $4.7 million for the Table Rock improvements project, to do this small project would give a psychological jumpstart to that corridor. The City should do what it can to show the community the area is a priority.
  2. Project #437 Delta Waters Road from Nome Court to Bedford Circle – This is important for the same reasons the other Commissioners expressed.
  3. Project #466 Spring Street from Crater Lake Avenue to Sunrise Avenue – The cost of improving this road has scared the community from undertaking it. The City should send the signal to the larger community that this is a priority.
  4. Larson Creek Greenway is not a project on the list, however, Chairman Densmore believes this is important as it could be the beginning of a large bike corridor. He stated there may be state grant funds available for such a project. 
Mr. MacNair reviewed the top priority projects of the Commissioners. There was extensive discussion on grant funding opportunities.
 
Commissioners Harvey and Pulver suggested the Commissioners disregard the funding issue for purposes of the current conversation and focus on naming the top priority projects. 
Commissioner Harvey offered that because both Table Rock and Delta Waters have five Commissioners endorsing them, those two projects should be prioritized as #1 and #2. Project #3 should be either Stewart or Highland. He recommended that if the Commission did nothing else today, it should decide the priorities. Commissioner Harvey chose Table Rock as #1.
 
Commissioner Pulver recommended the priority list include six projects instead of three.
 
There was discussion about the wisdom of choosing high cost projects as priorities when there is limited funding available. Given the potential for grants and that the Commission will likely revise the list at least every two years, it was determined to move forward with Commissioner Pulver’s suggest that the list contain six project selections.
 
Mr. MacNair repeated his understanding of what the Commission had determined: To include the sidewalk on Berrydale and Tablerock and reduce the limits of Delta Waters. The top six are Table Rock, Delta Waters, Steward Avenue, Highland and Barnett, Spring Street, and Columbus.
 
         40.2       Safe Routes to Schools Grant Application
 
Mr. MacNair asked the Commissioners to approve the letter of support that will accompany the Safe Routes to School Grant Application. The letter included specific projects that were discussed at the August meeting.
 
Motion:  Approve the letter in support of the Safe Routes to School Application
 
Moved by:  Paige West         Seconded by:  Jared Pulver
Roll Call:   All members present voted in the affirmative.
Motion carried and so ordered.
 
50.  Discussion Items
 
         50.1       Transportation Demand Management Pilot Program
 
Chairman Densmore moved this item to the September agenda.
                       
60.  Planning and Public Works Department Update
 
Mr. MacNair provided a report on the first meeting of the Transportation Funding Advisory Committee, which was held August 17. The Committee was established to study and recommend to Council three gas tax options to assist with funding of the Mega Corridor. The Committee members determined it was too early to identify three options and were concerned that this was not the question they should be addressing. The gas tax discussion will be moved to the next TRADCO meeting. TRADCO is the Medford Chamber of Commerce’s transportation advocacy committee. TRADCO’s involvement will engage the business community in the discussion and will help determine next steps.

Chairman Densmore serves on the Committee and shared several discussion points. The Committee discussed at length the wisdom of typical polling. They explored the possibility of other sampling techniques Council could consider given the difficulties with accurate polling. The Council should look at using a different nomenclature than is typically used for such a polling effort. The reason for this would be to provide those polled individuals with a clearer picture of the end goal of new gas taxes and what the specific benefits would be of instituting the taxes. This feedback was given to Council by staff.
 
Commissioner Pulver asked staff if Council was amenable to the Commission’s previous recommendation that funds raised be via different mechanisms such as SDC and utility fee surcharges rather than all from gas taxes. Mr. MacNair said Council agreed with the concept, however, they remained unsure of the exact amount of gas tax vs. SDC and utility fee surcharges.
 
70.  Comments from Commissioners and Other Committees
 
None.
 
80.  Agenda Build
 
Continue the Six-Year Transportation TDM.
 
90.   Next Meeting
 
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
           
100. Adjournment: 2:03pm
 
Respectfully submitted,
  
Debra Royal
Public Works - Engineering
 

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