The Ashland City Council has approved spending $35,000 on a downtown study looking at parking and the way vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians circulate around town.
The University of Oregon's Community Service Center will conduct the study. It will update a parking inventory, evaluate parking use, count bicyclists and pedestrians, evaluate truck loading zones, hold public outreach meetings and survey downtown businesses, residents and visitors, according to a city staff memo to councilors.
City officials hope to create a downtown study advisory group that will include members of the Ashland Planning Commission, the Transportation Commission, the Chamber of Commerce, downtown business owners and residents, and a representative of the trucking industry.
"We want to work with these folks downtown," said Public Works Director Mike Faught.
The city's Transportation System Plan — which was adopted earlier this year and cost more than $400,000 — included a recommendation to do the downtown study.
The cost for the downtown study was previously estimated at $100,000, but the Community Service Center can do the work for less with the assistance of graduate students.
Councilor Greg Lemhouse voted alone against spending $35,000 on the study.
He said he could not support the expenditure when the city has yet to trim spending to fund important projects such as thinning in the Ashland watershed.
There is no dedicated city funding stream to supplement thinning work in the watershed, so Ashland will use water fund money, said City Administrator Dave Kanner.
The downtown study is funded with parking revenues, he said.
Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or firstname.lastname@example.org.