Thursday, July 28, 2011

North Main Street and the Proposed Road Diet

The traffic issues on North Main include:
• Cars travelling faster than the posted speed limit
• Numerous left turns onto side streets and driveways
• Unfriendly pedestrian environment
• Lack of bicycle lanes
• Limited number of crosswalks
• High crash rate

The physical constraints of North Main include:
• A narrow 4 lane arterial street
• The intersection at Hersey and Wimer Streets (highest crash rate of any intersection in Ashland)
• Neighborhoods and businesses on both sides of the street
• Narrow sidewalks that abut the curb (no buffer between pedestrians and cars)
• Lack of bike lanes

The Transportation Commission is trying to solve the safety issues within the confines of the existing space. Their recommendation is a Road Diet: reduce the number of traffic lanes to three, reduce the number of possible left hand turns and add bike lanes. Three lanes allow a center lane for left hand turns and a single travel lane in each direction. The single travel lane reduces weaving and lane changes which improves vehicle flow and narrows the road which naturally slows motorists’ speed. A bike lane accommodates cyclists and provides a buffer between the sidewalk and the traffic lane.

The most number of vehicle crashes in Ashland occur at the Hersey/Wimer Intersection at North Main. City staff recommends lining up Hersey and Wimer Streets to facilitate left hand turns from North Main onto those streets and from those streets onto North Main. Aligning the intersection and implementing the Road Diet as a pilot program is expected to significantly reduce the safety issues on North Main.

On August 6, the City Council will consider two options: align the Hersey/Wimer intersection and then implement the pilot Road Diet or implement the pilot Road Diet and a year later align the intersection. City Council meetings are broadcast live on channel 9.

To read about the pilot project, see

Thursday, July 21, 2011

One Minute Minutes from July 18 and 19

July 18, 2011 Study Session
Council discussed the Urban Renewal Feasibility Study.

July 19, 2011 Regular Meeting
Special Presentation
John Williams of the Forest Lands Commission and Fire Chief John Karns presented the new Ashland Creek Watershed map. The commission intends to use the map as an educational tool to heighten community awareness of the watershed.

Consent Agenda.
Consent items were approved including:
1. Minutes of the Housing Commission from March 23. 2011
2. The award of two public contracts for janitorial services.
3. An extension of an existing contract for legal services with Douglas McGeary.
4. A lease amendment to the existing Civil Air Patrol (CAP) lease.
5. The award of a public contract to L.N. Curtis & Sons for fire hose and related equipment.
6. The request to use an alternative contracting approach (solicitation process) for fuel purchases.
7. Authorized signature of an IGA with Jackson County for building inspection services.

VIII.1. Resolution updating miscellaneous fees and charges.
Council approved a Resolution Adopting a Miscellaneous Fees and Charges Document and Repealing Prior Fee Resolutions 2001-05, 2007-34, and 2008-29 and the Hourly Service Charge Section of Resolution 1999-29. Councilor Morris asked whether the City should reduce the fees associated with placing overhead electric lines underground to encourage underground lines.

VIII.2. Lease of the Lithia Springs Property (Ashland Gun Club Lease) .
Council approved an Order authorizing the lease of real property to the Ashland Gun Club under the terms of a lease negotiated with the Ashland Gun Club and included in the packet..

XI.1. Economic Development Strategy.
Council adopted the Economic Development Strategy. Council added a requirement for an annual update of the strategy each year and adopted a motion for the staff to report quarterly on progress on the strategy.

XI.2. Effluent Temperature Preferred Option.
Council approved the recommendation to use riparian shading as the preferred option for both the “near field” and “far field” temperature requirements for wastewater effluent.