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Fern Valley Interchange
Meeting Minutes July 8th, 04
FVI Project Development Team Meeting #4
July 8, 2004, 9 a.m. to 11 .am
ODOT White City/Jackson County Roads Building
ODOT Present: Debbie Timms (Project Leader), Jerry Marmon (Environmental PM), Susan Landis (Right of Way), Bill Bennett (Bridge Design), Dan Dorrell (Traffic), Brian Sheadel (Roadway), Eryca McCartin (visiting PM), Leslie Schwab (Right of Way), Mike Arneson (Roadway), David Pyles (ODOT)
Non-ODOT Present: Denis Murray (City of Phoenix), Dale Petrasek (Jackson County Roads), John Morrison (RVCOG), Dan Moore (RVCOG), Emily Moshofsky (URS)
Action Items:
  • PDT to review the Goals and Objective evaluation criteria and send input back to Jerry by July 15.
Meeting Notes:
  • Introductions
  • Discussed approval of minutes from the May PDT meeting. If there are changes, the group should email Emily with changes.
CAC June 8th Meeting Review
  • John Morrison gave a summary of the CAC June 8th meeting and what changed with the Goals and Objectives as a result of feedback from the group. The CAC meeting focused on developing alternatives. There were 3 tables of CAC members and a 4th table for the public. The assignment was to develop interchange alternatives and to include how to treat adjacent arterials. John encouraged the group that there were no stupid questions or ideas. The CAC members and the public provided feedback that they thought it was a really good session. From the CAC perspective, they got a lot out of it.
  • Next, John discussed Mr. Lowry’s letter as a note of interest to the group. RVCOG told Mr. Lowry they would send the letter out to the other CAC members, which they did. However, RVCOG has not received any calls or inquiries from CAC members regarding the letter. Mr. Lowry cites his concerns in the letter that he would not approve of any alternative which does not use Fern Valley Road as the main interchange connection. The letter will be addressed at the next CAC meeting as requested. It is expected that some CAC members may agree and some disagree with him. The point John tried to reiterate was that this process is at a very conceptual stage. Throughout the process, everyone’s concerns will be considered.
  • Mike Arneson indicated that he thought Table 1 (where he was seated) had a clear understanding that the project is in the early stages of the process. The traffic modeling will help show what actually works and what doesn’t.
  • Brian had trouble making complete concepts out of some of the lines provided by the CAC. There seemed to be some hesitancy from the CAC to draw over each other’s properties. The size and scale was also a problem. However, the CAC now has a better idea of how the process works.
  • John indicated that the CAC would have liked another round at developing alternatives.
  • The maps we have now are works in progress and we’ll show the CAC what we’ve done with them thus far.
  • Debbie commented that she was amazed at how similar some ideas were.
  • Jerry said that the CAC liked the interchanges with the least impact and therefore used those as they worked on the alternatives.
  • An interchange at South Stage Road will continue to come up as an option of interest.
  • Debbie said our intent had been to try to help get the CAC tables started, but not to force feed information to them.
  • Mike noted that other people’s experience at the meeting doesn’t seem to match Mr. Lowry’s, as the letter details.
Changes to Goals and Objectives
  • The group discussed the changes made by the CAC to the Goals and Objectives, specifically to Goal 1—the first two objectives. (See the attached minutes.)
  • Under Goal 1, Mr. Lowry was looking to change the wording to "promotes." He wanted stronger language. However, the verbiage was changed to "allows." The group also added "as determined by" in reference to the Comprehensive Plan. The language for economic growth and residential growth objectives was therefore changed.
  • An additional change was adding the word "landscaping" under Goal 8.
  • Overall, it was a very smooth process.
Design Options
  • Brian handed out the matrix and design options. There were a couple of alternatives deleted: #1 (SPUD) on the original Fern Valley alignment and #11 (regular diamond) were dropped.
  • No. 23/24 (4th and 5th street connection options) were very similar to 16 and therefore were also deleted. To read the matrix, the alternatives are listed down the left column, and the options are listed across the top. Boxes with hatching are the alternatives/options that will work together. If the box is blank, it’s not an option for the identified alternative.
  • The CAC Table 1 idea was the same as PDT Alternative 1.
  • Tables 1 and 2 had a partial cloverleaf and would keep FVI open as an overcrossing. We can tie into FVI with this alternative, but there are some limits: the bridge is too tight and the crossing over Bear Creek is a problem.
  • With any of the ideas, the difficulty is where people access or exit the freeway.
  • Tables 2 and 3 had ideas that were similar to the PDT’s option 21 (see packet), a full cloverleaf on the existing alignment, cross over and connect with Breckinridge and the local network.
  • Table 3 skewed the interchange a little, but was essentially the same as PDT alternative 1A. There are two options (1 and 1A).
  • The CAC had an easier time dealing with the interchange than with local streets.
  • The geometry of the ramping was a difficult issue.
  • The Bear Creek crossing was a major issue.
  • Table 4 (the public table) was interested in multiple interchanges. For example, have a southern interchange and keep FVI in place and add a diamond interchange at South Stage Road.
  • Brian took off pedestrian over crossing because that will work with every option.
  • John suggested making a list of incomplete thoughts or missing connections from the alternatives and options developed by the CAC.
  • John said Bob C. is a bike advocate and helps point things out from that perspective. Bob said he really liked participating in the workshop.
  • The group is a well-balanced group bringing many perspectives, and the members seem to work together well.
  • Debbie said the next move is to take these maps to CAC in August. The PDT will now start developing criteria to filter the alternatives.
  • Mike noted that there were lots of fatal flaws with some of the designs, but we don’t want to dismiss alternatives at this stage.
  • John wanted the CAC to have a blank slate. The downside is that the plans are not refined, but technical people were at the tables to help provide technical support.
  • Debbie has received feedback that people thought ODOT had already picked the alternative. However, this is not true, and the process will show that this is not the case.
  • Mike commented that some of the participants were pretty advanced regarding transportation issues and talked about access management. They considered it a reality check.
Break 10 minutes
Discussion Item
  • Debbie said that the CAC wants to see their ideas as separate. Her question is, what is feasible for the team—separate or combined maps?
  • Jerry said that at some point we will need to lump the alternatives and options together; and to present a second matrix with the alternatives grouped.
  • John said we have to keep the PDT and CAC alternatives and options separate until the CAC can see them; then the alternatives can be combined. Probably, as we walk them through each alternative, the CAC will also want to group the similar ideas.
Evaluation Criteria Presentation
  • Jerry presented a PowerPoint of evaluation criteria to provide background.
  • The Evaluation Criteria Process includes: NEPA alternative development process; scoping; conceptual alternative development (10-20 alternatives)—which is where we are now; alternative refinement (evaluation criteria); and Environmental Assessment.
  • The evaluation criteria are derived from the Purpose and Need and the Goals and Objectives. Jerry turned the Purpose and Need and the Goals and Objectives into questions to answer—which is how the evaluation criteria are derived.
  • The purpose of this exercise is to provide a tool to evaluate the alternatives to determine how well they meet project goals. The criteria are not the ultimate decision-maker. Rather, they are meant to be used to provide a relative comparison between alternatives.
  • The evaluation criteria are important to the process, and require CETAS concurrence. CETAS, a group of state regulators, is tracking this project. CETAS has not concurred on the purpose and need yet. The next item for CETAS regarding this project will be concurrence on the evaluation criteria. We are following the CETAS outline for the evaluation criteria, which is why they are set up in this way. Because we develop criteria from goals and objectives, the criteria include socioeconomic concerns and other non-natural resource concerns from the community. The built environment is included as well as the natural environment.
  • We did get feedback regarding the goals and objectives. DLCD had comments. Debbie explained what DLCD wanted regarding changing the wording on the goals. The CAC made changes to # 1, though not exactly what DLCD wanted. Dan asked if DLCD had concurred. He mentioned that the Home Depot TIS (Traffic Information Study) has come in to the county planning department already. Matt Zoll at JRH will look at capacity for the interchange for the TIS. Looking at existing interchange capacity, Home Depot will have to show that capacity is available for their development. It’s not a black and white issue.
  • Dan asked if the Home Depot TIS plays into this project process at all. It does not--the processes are kept separate at this time.
  • Debbie asked if FVI is in Tier 1 for funding. Dan said yes, $14 million is earmarked for it. The total project cost is expected to be $32 million. If it’s in the RTP for 2008-2011, we will need to move it to short-range planning and identify funding.
  • Jerry continued with the slides and discussed conceptual alternatives and the Purpose and Need. It’s mandatory for alternatives and options to meet the Purpose and Need criteria before they are evaluated on the goals and objectives. It can be thought of in terms of filters; once we get through purpose and need, then we can move on to the next stage of evaluation. The language used for the criteria from the PDT is very important. We’ve structured our criteria around CETAS. It’s more quantitative than qualitative. Purpose and need are basically a "yes" or "no" type of criteria. Alternatives and options that make it through the Purpose and need criteria will then go to goals and objectives criteria.
  • We will next have to develop the "measure" piece.
  • The question was asked whether we are going to have that kind of detail on these alternatives to make those decisions?
  • Jerry responded no, that won’t be known at 20% design. Mike and Brian can provide more detail on the alternatives that are left after evaluation against the criteria. However, most of the alternatives and options will be dismissed because they don’t match purpose and need.
Mandatory Criteria Critique
  • Jerry said that what he wants to focus on in the meeting is the purpose and need. Regarding goals and objectives, Jerry is asking people to review them and give him comments by next Friday, July 16th. He wants to go over the mandatory criteria with the PDT group.
  • Debbie clarified that this is a rough draft.
  • Jerry said that the Purpose and Need is just a statement, so he pulled out key points and turned these into questions to answer. The CAC will review the purpose and need evaluation criteria and can provide comments.
  • A PDT member commented that some of key locations listed under Criteria 1-2, aren’t ODOT intersections; they are city or county, so v/c is not appropriate. In these cases, use Level of Service (LOS), which shows delay better than v/c ratio.
  • Mike suggested adding "as measured by governing jurisdiction" standards.
  • Jerry asked about the ramps. Mike answered that we will include other intersections in the analysis.
  • Bullet #2 (at the top of the page) states "meets ODOT design standards"; however, while ODOT uses the OHP, cities and counties use American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
  • Transit is not in the Purpose and Need. However, it is in the goals and objectives.
  • Regarding #1-5, if it is too vague, Mike responded that it is good to keep both the qualitative as well as quantitative criteria. Community connectivity is important to include; however, the PDT will keep the statement as it is. It is overarching enough to cover that issue. The idea was to add it as a bullet or maybe add it to the goals section.
  • Regarding #1-6, safety is hard to quantify. Design standards include sidewalks, lighting, etc.
  • Regarding #1-7, Dan asked if this implies that there will be bike lanes. Mike responded yes, that bike lanes are included. Also, strike "v/c" in the statement. It is okay to leave capacity at 20 years—the planning timeline. Structurally, the bridge is planned for a 75-year life.
  • Jerry wrapped up the discussion. Looking at the four key elements at the top of the page, he asked if there was anything else that needed to be changed.
  • A question was asked if this will actually eliminate alternatives. Mike Arneson replied, yes, from what he’s seen of the alternatives, some will drop out even before the traffic model is complete.
  • Dennis commented that Phoenix businesses are important in this process.
  • Jerry said the CAC has the opportunity to weight the goals if they want to. The Purpose and Need has to speak specifically to the transportation project. After that, the evaluation criteria uses details. This portion of the exercise rejects alternatives with fatal flaws. For example, three interchanges in 2 miles violate design standards. We’ll make changes to the Mandatory Criteria and send the information out again, prior to the next PDT.
  • Dan Dorrell asked whether we list which intersections will be examined. Debbie replied no, that TPAU will identify key intersections to analyze.
  • Dan asked whether will we start analyzing concepts in August, once the process is revised and finalized. We would; however, the traffic model is not done yet. Last time Debbie checked in with Peter, he was crunched for time, but is hoping to be done in late August or September.
  • Mike added that some alternatives will drop out for lots of reasons. However, we can only do so much without the traffic model. Design standards are a big reason for dropping alternatives. Also, in evaluating the Bear Creek bridge, we can use some of the criteria to filter alternatives without the traffic model being done.
  • Jerry said we’ll wait and see when the modeling is completed. We may have to stagger the meetings again.
  • John asked what happens if we have a good alternative that doesn’t address the bridge. Mike replied that we can fold that idea into another viable alternative.
  • Debbie noted that the bridge is driving this project. It is implied that the bridge would be fixed (or leave as is).
  • John has heard a number of discussions regarding the number of lanes. Several people at the CAC were dealing with that issue.
Next Meeting:
Thursday September 2, 2004. (9 a.m. – 12 p.m., 200 Antelope Road, Conference Room TBD, White City, OR)