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Fern Valley Interchange
Meeting Minutes Apr 7th, 04

Meeting Date: Wednesday, April 7, 2004
Purpose: Fern Valley Interchange Project Citizen Advisory Committee Meeting
Distribution: CAC Members, Solution Team Members
From: John Morrison, RVCOG
Prepared by: Pat Foley, RVCOG
Date Prepared: April 9, 2004
CAC Attendees: Dack Doggett, Pauly Hinesly, Wendie Nichols, Harry Page, Mark Gibson, Joan Haukom, George Cota, David Lowry, David Lewin
CAC Absent: Bill Rombach, Bob Korfhage, Dan Sauro
Project Team Attendees:
  • Greg Holthoff, ODOT Environmental Project Manager
  • Debbie Timms, ODOT Project Manager
  • Nancy Reynolds, URS Corp. Project Manager
  • Sheila North, URS Corp. Deputy Project Manager
  • Irene Toews, ODOT TPAU
  • John Morrison, RVCOG
  • Pat Foley, RVCOG
Other Attendees: Jim Wear, Larry Parducci, Teresa Syphers, Terry Helfrich, Sam Camp, Jeff Welsh, Gary Hall, Bob Nelson, Dick Croly, Bob Robertson
1. Call to order and Introductions
John Morrison, RVCOG Facilitator
John Morrison reviewed the agenda for the evening’s meeting. John welcomed the members of the public stating that there is time allotted for public comment. He explained that this is a working meeting and the meeting, except for the public comment period, is reserved for interaction with the CAC.
Request for approval of March 3, 2004 CAC Minutes: John asked if there were any comments or corrections to the minutes. If not, the minutes will stand as written.
2. Summary of March 4, 2004 Project Development Team Meeting
Debbie Timms, ODOT Project Manager
Debbie explained that the Project Development Team (PDT) meets the day after the CAC each month. March 4th was their first meeting where a general overview of the project was discussed.
The CAC expressed a desire to have copies of the PDT minutes. The PDT minutes will be sent out with their monthly packet. The committee was told that they are welcome to attend the PDT meetings, as they are open to the public.
Debbie announced that the Fern Valley Interchange Web Page will be online this week. Going to the ODOT home page can access the site.
Greg Holthoff explained South Stage was discussed at the CAC meeting. It was determined that a good first step for South Stage was to see, during the mandatory traffic modeling for this project, if any improvements done at South Stage would pull off any congestion at the Fern Valley Interchange.
3. Review of March 30, 2004 Open House

John Morrison, RVCOG
The Fern Valley Interchange Open House was held in the Phoenix City Hall on March 30th. There was a turn out of approximately 36 citizens. The Open House was set up with information stations with visuals, maps and handouts, which included Comment Sheets. Project Staff members were on hand to answer questions. Information about the open house was distributed through a mailing to interested parties, an article in the Mail Tribune, the Phoenix website and on the KMED morning talk show.
John acknowledged and thanked the CAC members who attended the Open House. John asked for their comments on the Open House.
  • Pauly Hinesly said she was impressed by how much the public actually knew. She cited examples of how persons living in certain areas were concerned with the issues affecting them. She talked to quite a few people who were happy that the process is open and willing to answer their questions.
  • David Lewin said he basically moved through the open house and picked up information handouts.
  • Joan Haukom was disappointed in the availability of the staff. They were not available when she walked around.
John said the comment sheets received would become part of the public record.
Greg Holthoff stated that one purpose of the open house was to gather issues and ideas. The open house generated a lot of thoughts and ideas that will help the project staff.
4. Summary of Environmental Base Line Report

Nancy Reynolds, URS Corp. Project Manager
A copy of the "Summary of Environmental Baseline Report" was sent to the CAC members prior to the meeting.
Nancy explained that the report is a brief summary of the work that has been done. A baseline has been set up of the environmental issues in different areas that are present now. Nancy went through the different areas discussed in the report namely: Land Use Planning, the Regional Problem Solving project, Biology, Air Quality, Archaeology, Historic,
Socioeconomics/Environmental Justice Wetland & Water Resources and Hazardous Materials. Under each category she described the issues that need to be addressed during the project.
5. Development of Goals and Objectives

John Morrison, RVCOG and Nancy Reynolds, URS
Greg Holthoff presented a brief introduction to the Goals and Objectives process. Scoping and developing the Purpose and Need Statement is the first part of the process. The alternatives, to be viable, have to meet the Purpose and Need or they are dropped. Goals and objectives reflect community values and tie in with the Purpose and Need.
The Project Development Team has input into the goals and objectives but the goals are authored by the CAC. The PDT’s job is to adopt the goals and objectives. The Collaborative Environmental Transportation Agreement on Streamlining (CETAS) group could change the goals. This is a group of regulators on natural resources that are tracking this project. One of the milestones that they approve or don’t approve is the Purpose and Need. The next milestone is called evaluation criteria. The Purpose and Need and Goals and Objectives will be put into matrix form so that the project team can compare one alternative to another. When there is a reasonable range of alternatives selected (everything meets Purpose and Need), then we see if those alternatives can incorporate the CAC goals. The alternative has to meet Purpose and Need but does not have to meet all goals developed. Greg feels that the goals should be weighted. This establishes what is most important. Otherwise, they become equally important.
John Morrison described the goal exercise. The committee was given suggested goal categories: Transportation, Social, Economic, Planning, Parks and Recreation, Environmental and Other. Each CAC member is to write down at least two goals that they feel are of importance.
The suggested goals submitted by the committee were:
  • Enhance community connections
  • Improve community identity between Phoenix Hills and Phoenix. Eastside vs. Westside of I-5.
  • Ensure safe, efficient and timely passage of school busses
  • Ensure effective access for large vehicles and emergency vehicles within study area.
  • Reduce pollution (air and noise)
  • Not too many signals, which creates a lot of carbon monoxide into the environment. (Minimize traffic signals. Maximize traffic progression thru system.)
  • There are no parks on the eastside of I-5 for family or children enjoyment.
  • Pedestrian consideration. Being able to walk over freeway (without taking your life in your hands) and connect with Greenway.
  • Provide access to and parking for Greenway in study area.
  • Improve access to Greenway bike path.
  • Provide continuous sidewalks for pedestrian traffic.
  • Provide for pedestrian and bicycle connections.
  • Provide a transportation system allowing for future economic as well as residential growth.
  • Provide a transportation system that is flexible enough to allow for economic development on eastside for 10 to 15 years.
  • Provide a transportation system that allows economic development and eases congestion.
  • Keep the flow of traffic of Fern Valley Road to Highway 99 as is, instead of the alternative of connecting to Cheryl Ave or Bolz Road. This would keep the volume of traffic "dumping" into the Ray’s Food Place shopping area. (Angelo’s, State Farm, etc.) These businesses are important to the community that is provided by donations and support to the city and school district.
  • Design a project that will not make implementation costs prohibitive.
  • Provide the city of Phoenix with the ability to do high value development that will produce jobs and increase its tax base. Possible land use connection.
  • Provide ample trip capacity to remove the current constraint on commercial development in the interstate business zone.
  • Hopefully the building on the corner of Hwy 99 and Bolz Rd will be demolished. It does not enhance the city’s downtown revitalization plan. (Enhance downtown)
  • Provide for future growth in capacity.
  • Ensure allowances for future growth, both commercial as well as residential. (Provide for economic development and for the zoning.)
  • Don’t impose zoning restrictions on the city of Phoenix.
  • Work with City and property owners to clarify future development at FV Road interchange. Consider potential development when creating alternatives. Coordinate project development with physical development to the degree possible.
  • Provide more turn lanes-safer cross traffic access to entrances/exits along the Fern Valley Corridor.
  • Take immediate action in removing the barrier on Fern Valley east in front of Texaco. Hindrance to all especially tourists that take a right off of the Freeway and get lost.
  • Get rid of barrier on Fern Valley Road (east of I-5.
  • Provide adequate capacity for future needs.
  • Ensure effective access for trucks – not just the truck stop and DSU, but for the Westside commerce as well.
  • Plan for a 4-lane overpass over I-5 and Bear Creek; improve flow of traffic at north/south Phoenix Road.
  • I believe if freeway were somehow put thru Bolz Road so public could have better access to downtown Phoenix - because Blue Heron Park would be a great asset to weary travelers.
  • Facilitate Park and Ride and bus routes thru study area.
  • Design facilities that improve accessibility for elderly and disabled.
  • Visual design that will last.
GOALS Suggested by interested members of the public. Submitted on FVI Comment Form:
  • Cloverleaf at I-5 and Fern Valley
  • Natural connection to the Greenway Park
  • Design an interchange that can handles traffic and growth
  • Pedestrian/bicycle interaction with vehicular traffic. Greenway access.
When reviewing the goals several items were discussed.

Under planning and economic development several questions were discussed regarding development at the interchange. George Cota asked, "What is ODOT’s present policy on large commercial development next to freeways?" He asked for direction from ODOT on this issue. It was suggested that this be an agenda item for a future CAC meeting.
Debbie Timms asked that economic development and zoning be addressed separately at the interchange. She wants to make sure the city addresses what kind of zoning they want for the interchange area.
Petro’s lack of participation in the process was addressed. John Morrison said that Gary Hall who was connected with the truck stop area has agreed to be a resource for the CAC.
Next step: The project team will format, refine and organize the draft goals and send them out to the CAC for their review and comments. These goals will be reviewed at the next CAC meeting.

6. Public Comment
Bob Robertson – He feels the Fern Valley Interchange is failing because of the growth in southeast Medford, not the development in Phoenix. He does not feel it fair that Phoenix cannot develop their property because of the growth in southeast Medford. Phoenix, as a small community, is entitled to fair treatment. In his opinion ODOT should cure the problem.
Gary Hall – Gary feels some way should be developed to grade the project, both in the past and what is going to happen in the future, through the eyes of the public. Hearing what the public has to say is important.
7. Summary/Next Steps
The next CAC meeting is on May 5th, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Phoenix Public Works Building.
The meeting was adjourned.