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Transportation Commission Meeting
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Prescott Room, Medford Police Department
219 S. Ivy Street, Medford, OR
Call to Oder: 12:31pm
10. Roll Call
Al Densmore, Chair
Dennie Conrad, Vice Chair
Cory Crebbin, Director Public Works
Karl MacNair, Traffic Manager
Kelly Madding, Deputy City Manager
Kyle Kearns, Planning Department
Tim D’Alessandro, City Council Representative
Debra Royal, Public Works Department
20. Citizen Communications
30. Approval of Minutes from September 23, 2020
There being no additions or corrections, the minutes were approved as presented.
40. Action Items
Mr. Crebbin and Chair Densmore provided the Commission with a dry run of the presentation they will provide to the City Council members at the October 29 Study Session regarding the Six-Year Transportation Project List. Mr. Pulver requested it be highlighted to Council that the Table Rock Road project is the Commission’s top priority and that the methodology used to arrive at the Commission’s overall priority list be explained to Council. Ms. West requested that it also be expressed to Council that the Commission directed staff to seek and apply for grants to help fund the projects that are eligible for more than one funding source. She also asked that it be noted to Council that the first two parts of Mr. Crebbin’s presentation were not part of the Commission’s work, that the TSP and the City recommended projects were provided to the Commission prior to taking on the Six-Year Transportation List task. The Commissioners were pleased with the overall presentation.
50. Discussion Items
50.1 Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) Grant Application Update
Mr. MacNair updated the Commission on the City’s applications for SRTS grants. Three of the four applications, Kennedy, Jefferson, and Howard schools, have moved forward in the approval process. The Delta Waters Infill application did not advance. Chair Densmore asked clarification questions related to the future of the Delta Waters application. Mr. MacNair said it is doubtful Delta Waters will be added to the approved list moving forward as Delta Waters is not on the 150% list.
50.2 All Roads Traffic Safety (ARTS) Grant Information
Mr. MacNair described the All Roads Traffic Safety Grant (ARTS) as a federal program administered by ODOT. It is a scientific way of providing grant funds by region across the state using state crash statistics. The funds allocated to each region are split 50/50 between ODOT and local jurisdictions. The City is located in Region Three and will be competing with local jurisdictions for $8.5 million. The local match requirement is 7.78% on this grant. Projects are ranked based on how they address safety issues. There are categories including: Hotspots - specific crashes; Systemic - general crashes such as running off the road and signalized intersection; and Systemic Pedestrian and Bike – crossing improvements or sidewalk infills. The Systemic Pedestrian and Bike category is based on cost-benefit, but there does not need to be actual crashes, rather it is based on theoretical numbers of crashes prevented with a given treatment. The other categories address fatal and sever injury crashes. A formula is used to calculate the cost-benefit ratio of each project then the cost-benefit ranking is how the grants are awarded.
Mr. MacNair continued with information about ODOT’s hired consulting firm, DKS and Associates. DKS assists local jurisdictions in putting together the most effective grant application. Mr. MacNair has spoken with DKS regarding projects the City is considering developing including City-wide systemic safety upgrades on traffic signals and reflectorized back plates and replacing the five section head “doghouses”. These are the older left turn arrow signals. They are to be replaced with flashing yellow arrows that are the new standard. Some have already been completed and more have been approved. ODOT performed a region-wide study and recommended this upgrade.
DKS is also assisting the City with determining the best way to approach the application process for other projects such as: In 2018, there was a fatality on Table Rock Road, so it is being determined if the grant application would be competitive via the Systemic Pedestrian and Bike category. Delta Waters Road is also being considered in this category. Other projects being considered are various potential sidewalk infill projects. Keene Way Bike Way was submitted previously and it scored well, but missed being picked up by a small margin. It is identified in the TSP to provide an alternative route to Crater Lake Avenue for bicycles. The W. Main lighting project was also submitted previously, however, in that round the City asked for too long a stretch of roadway and it was rejected. With a reduction in the ask, it may score better. The applications are due mid-December.
Mr. D’Alessandro asked if Stewart Ave, Dixie Lane to Lozier Lane has been considered for scoring and qualification for this type of grant. Mr. MacNair responded in the negative and that it could be another Systemic Pedestrian and Bike application, however, the number of applications the City submits should be considered strategical as the funding is limited. This project also appears on the Six-Year Project list.
Mr. Pulver asked if Stewart Avenue, as it is a higher speed, higher volume road, would fall into one of the grant categories. Mr. MacNair agreed it could.
Chair Densmore asked for clarification as to how projects are evaluated for this grant opportunity. Mr. MacNair shared that the filters used are: locations and numbers of fatal and injury crashes; is there a project identified that can improve the situation; consideration of the project’s cost. There is a large range of costs for Systemic Pedestrian and Bike projects. Crossing improvements such as installing rapid flashing beacons and restriping a roadway cost less than building new asphalt surfaces and sidewalks. Therefore, it depends on what the competition is going to be during the selection process. Mr. MacNair offered that he believes the City has a good chance of being awarded grants as they are federally funded and there is a recommended minimum of $500,000 per application. Medford being a larger city in a region of mostly smaller jurisdictions, that weights in Medford’s favor. This is also the third round of ARTs so many of the smaller projects have already been awarded or rejected, so possibly the higher cost project have a better chance of being chosen at this point.
50.3 Oregon Community Paths (OCP) Grant Information
Mr. MacNair discussed ODOT’s new grant program that specifically targets paths that have a transportation purpose and are not immediately adjacent to a roadway. Larson Creek Path is an example – parallel but not within the road right-of-way. State-wide, it is estimated that there are $14 to $19 million worth of projects. Within this grant are categories of project refinement, further designs and planning, and actual construction.
The City is considering several sections of the Larson Creek Path for this grant. First, refinement for the section from Murphy to N. Phoenix. In 2007, a route assessment was done on the entire Larson Creek Path where significant issues were identified in the east section including the need to take homes and stream crossings. Therefore, the City would apply for this grant in order to study and create preliminary designs. Second, resurfacing the existing section of the path between Black Oak Road and Murphy Road. These grant applications are due January 31, so there is time to do scoping, cost estimates, and researching what would be the City’s match responsibility.
Chair Densmore inquired about other opportunities for this grant. Mr. MacNair discussed the Parks Department’s Leisure Services Plan that identifies several routes, however, this grant requirement stipulates a transportation purpose must be present. Many of the paths on the Parks’ plan are recreational in nature. Larson Creek is identified in the TSP as the primary transportation path in the City so this is the opportunity upon which Public Works is focused.
Mr. Pulver and Ms. Schroeder discussed the possibility for other paths that serve a transportation purpose to be identified for future rounds of this grant and that BPAC could help identify which paths from the Leisure Services Plan would best meet that need. Ms. Schroeder pointed out that while separated pathways offer more comfort, they come at a higher cost than restriping or adding sharrows. Therefore, balance is needed to expand the system with the funds available.
Chair Densmore asked if anyone, Public Works or BPAC had looked at possible alley connections/alignments that can be converted into off-road path systems.
Ms. Schroeder offered that BPAC has looked at that and there were problems with connectivity, dead ends, mid-block crossings, and then also sharing with automobiles where there just isn’t right- of-way. She did not recall all the reasons why, but BPAC did decide not to pursue. It was suggested and dropped months ago.
Mr. Crebbin called the Commissions attention to the fact that near Black Oak Road and Murphy Road, there is a bridge. It appears to be solid, but Mr. Crebbin doesn’t believe it has ever been inspected and it is not clear if anyone knows it is there. It looks homemade. Mr. MacNair offered that it was called out in the route assessment as needing some unspecified work, but that something needs to be done. It is near La Loma spur off of Larson Creek Trail before Murphey Road heading to the subdivision.
60. Planning and Public Works Department Update
Mr. MacNair updated the Commission on transportation activities in Public Works including: bids for the Springbrook Road Improvement Project will be opened on November 3; work begins on the LED streetlight upgrade project on November 9; ODOT is working on Exit 30 Interchange Area Management Plan (there are a few Transportation Commissioners on the Advisory Committee). The second meeting is scheduled for October 29. On the agenda is to identify potential future projects related to the new interchange which would connect the 62 bypass directly to I-5 at the North Medford interchange and it would actually remove the ramps that were put in for the bypass projects. This is Phase I. Phase II was done first. ODOT was asked at the beginning of the study if all the ramps had to be removed as it was quite a bit of money put into this directional interchange. They did go back and look at it closer, but because of the grade difference and the impacts to the airport, they said the ramps needed to be removed.
Mr. Kearns provided information regarding a downtown Wayfinding Plan. Ms. Paladino of the Planning Department has started outreach in order to develop numbers/level of interest to provide to the community input and to send to BPAC. We have multiple partners on this effort: Travel Medford, Downtown Medford Association, the City, and the Transportation Commission.
70. Comments from Commissioners and Other Committees
Mr. Harvey asked that Public Works address a “One Way” conflict on the alley behind the Chamber of Commerce. Mr. MacNair is aware of the problem and will check on the status.
80. Agenda Build
Chair Densmore asked the status of the ODOT Seismic Triage Plan. Mr. MacNair will schedule ODOT to attend an upcoming Commission meeting to provide an update. Mr. D’Alessandro reiterated the importance of keeping the corridor usable in the event of an earthquake.
90. Next Meeting:
The Commissioners agreed to combine the November and December meetings and to hold it on December 9 as the originally scheduled meetings fall within Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks, respectively.
100. Adjournment: 1:26pm
Public Works, Engineering