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Approved 5/3/00

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' WORK SESSION
April 11, 2000
Commissioners' Conference Room - 1:30 p.m.

Commissioner Peter Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Anna Morrison and Cindy Weeldreyer present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, Assistant County Counsel Stephen Vorhes and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

5.   PUBLIC WORKS

a.    CONTINUED DISCUSSION/NINTH READING AND DELIBERATION  Ordinance PA 1132 Amending the Eugene-Springfield Metropolitan Area General Plan to Adopt a Revised "Transportation Element" and Related Changes to the Plan Text; Adopting Revisions to the Eugene-Springfield Transportation System Plan (TransPlan); and Adopting a Severability Clause.

Tom Stinchfield, Land Management, passed out an updated memo with comments from two Board members on policies and projects (copy in file.) He noted the attachment letter from ODOT regarding the Valley River Bridge plan.

Stinchfield stated that one of the concerns ODOT has is how the removal of the Valley River Bridge would affect other river crossings. He presented information on the trade-offs. He reported that LCOG had performed modeling runs that are based on the constrained project list that include all the strategies in the draft plan (nodal development, reductions in travel, bus rapid transit.) He said they performed runs comparing the afternoon peak hour volumes at several locations now and in the future. He reported that with Beltline (eastbound and westbound) there are about 3,000 cars crossing the river westbound and 2,700 crossing eastbound. He reported that it was equivalent to a level service "C" today and in 2015, the Beltline Road is projected to be an "F plus" westbound. He added if a Valley River Bridge is built, the volumes would drop by 600 trips in each direction and would be closer to a "D" rating. He added the westbound direction would improve to a "C".

Stinchfield reported that the other crossing mentioned in the ODOT letter is I-105. He noted the northbound direction is now a "C" and inbound is a "D." He said if improvements are made to I-105, they would go to "E" northbound and "D" southbound. He said with a Valley River Bridge improvement, the volumes drop by 400 to 600 trips, and I-105 would be a level service of "C" in both directions. He added another idea was not to do a Valley River Bridge but to widen the Beltline to six lanes, and that is a project in the future list, but not in the constrained list. He said if they did the Beltline widening and not the Valley River Bridge, there would be more volume, but a better level of service.

Dwyer asked about comparative costs.

Stinchfield responded that the Valley River Bridge is $20 million and the Beltline widening is $13 million.

Nick Arnis, ODOT, discussed the letter from Gary Johnson (copy in file) about TransPlan and the Valley River Bridge. He noted that an impact on the system that is not an ODOT project is the bridge crossing the Willamette River. He noted it has been identified as the Valley River Bridge (but they refer to it as a bridge crossing on the Willamette River) because it has been identified as a need to the TransPlan process. He added the need came from looking at all the land use, transportation demand, and transit benefits that they would receive by implementing ideas. He said they still had a need for road projects and that is when the road project list was developed. He noted the Willamette River crossing is in the current TransPlan from 1987. He said they have identified another river crossing need, but they don’t know the exact location. He noted that if a river crossing were taken out as a project in the TransPlan list, the standards from the Oregon Highway Plan would not be achieved for the volume of traffic. He said they wanted to leave the project in the constrained list, label it as a river crossing and recommend a planning effort to solve locations in working with the public. He said the charge is getting people back and forth over the river and other ways it could be done. He added they wanted to leave that idea in the plan. He said if they leave the project on the constrained list, they could model it and show the benefits of that on the system.

Stinchfield discussed the four options in the letter. He added that the ODOT recommendation is another option. He noted that Option A leaves the bridge where it is in the plan. He stated that Option B would delete the Valley River Bridge from the project list. He continued that Option C and D are two different study versions with different language about the scope. He explained that both Option C and D talk about the studies in the plan, but TransPlan amendments would be required to put the bridge back in for construction. He said that is different than what ODOT is proposing which is that the bridge stay on the constrained project list so that it may not need a plan amendment.

Green stated that he wanted any reference to the Valley River Bridge deleted from the TransPlan. He asked if there were any other types of designs or an express lane available.

Arnis responded there are options that should come up during a bridge crossing study.

Dwyer stated he was concerned about the river crossing because one may be needed in the future. He didn’t want it automatically included in the plan because he wants to see where the money comes from. He was not opposed to having it as an option.

Weeldreyer asked if a study could be done without committing to a river crossing in the constrained list plan.

Arnis stated it is a plan and options should be looked at with environmental constraints. He added that he wanted it left as a project so it could be modeled in the plan and show the benefits of increasing the volume on I-105.

Stinchfield recommended getting the Board’s concerns to provide staff with an indication of what to work on for the joint work session. He noted if the Board didn’t want to commit to a bridge, they should take Option C or D. He added that ODOT’s recommendation in the constrained list is another way to do a study that is more committed to the project.

Sorenson asked if ODOT would give comments on any of the other proposed non-state projects in ODOT.

Arnis stated he didn’t anticipate any more letters with the project list. He said that more letters might be generated at subsequent work sessions.

Stinchfield explained that the letter is an attempt by ODOT to craft something they and the local agencies will find acceptable with the bridge. He added the other function of the letter is to put things into the record that would provide ODOT with the basis to appeal the TransPlan, if they are unhappy.

Green favored the fourth option (the advisory committee study), because there will be citizen involvement. He added the Refinement Plan is costly. He wondered where the money would come from. He estimated it would take three to five years to start work. He supported a citizen’s advisory committee. He asked how people could be moved around more efficiently without impacting businesses.

Weeldreyer also preferred Option D (the Valley River Bridge is removed from the plan with a regional study). She didn’t want widening six lanes of Beltline if businesses will be displaced. She suggested looking at other options.

Morrison stated she didn’t have any problem with the Valley River Bridge. She said her second option was D. She declared another bridge crossing is inevitable.

Sorenson asked why there was no money in the plan for TDM.

Tom Schwetz, LCOG, responded that there is $200,000 for funding in the plan for TDM. He reported as part of the implementation, there are strategies to focus TDM efforts in congested areas that could have the affect of postponing the need for capacity expansion. He said that is the direction they recommend.

Arnis noted that ODOT funds the TDM program for Eugene and Springfield.

Sorenson noted he heard three Board members say they like Option "D". He said he didn’t like having a TransPlan where things need to be studied. He said the public was asked to comment on the Valley River Bridge and some liked it and others didn’t. He noted that the overwhelming public opinion was that it should not be in the TransPlan. He said there should be clear direction that the Valley River Bridge will be removed from TransPlan.

Dwyer echoed Sorenson’s views and said he was inclined towards Option "D." He added that long range planning needs to be considered.

Stinchfield stated he understood there was Board consensus for Option D on the Valley River Bridge. He noted that Option D removes the bridge from the TransPlan list and replaces the language for a study of a Willamette River crossing.

MOTION: to approve a NINTH READING AND DELIBERATION/ and setting a TENTH READING AND DELIBERATION FOR Ordinance PA 1132 for May 2, 2000.

Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

VOTE: 5-0.

6.    REVIEW ASSIGNMENTS

None.

7.   COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

None.

8.    EMERGENCY BUSINESS

None.

There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson adjourned the meeting at 2:30 p.m.

Melissa Zimmer
Recording Secretary

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