Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on February 25th, 2011 at 7:45 am
On Tuesday night, Washington County Commissioners voted 3-2 to widen Bethany Boulevard north of Highway 26 (map). The current roadway is two lanes and Tuesday’s vote was for a four-lane design that will bulge out to five lanes where left turns are permitted.
We haven’t been following this project closely, but The Oregonian reported that the meeting exposed some tension, not just from neighbors who will be affected by the project, but also on the Commission itself:
The final vote also exposed a significant rift between Chairman Andy Duyck and commissioners Bob Terry and Roy Rogers, who voted for the widening, and commissioners Dick Schouten and Greg Malinowski, who opposed it.
“The time has come for us to think less about the gold-plated and figure out a way to make our resources go further,” said Schouten, whose motion to delay the project entirely until new traffic and population projections come in next year was defeated, also by a 3-2 tally.
Added Malinowski, who represents that portion of unincorporated Washington County, “Five lanes tears the heart out of a community.”
The Oregonian estimates total project cost (with right-of-way acquisition) could be as much as $14 million for the 0.7 mile stretch between NW Bronson Road and NW West Union Rd.
Now that the vote has happened, I was curious what the project has in store. Stephen Roberts from the Washington County Deptartment of Land Use & Transportation sent us over the cross-section…
– Download larger (PDF) –
And he offered this explanation:
Portions of the road (south of Avondale, at Oak Hills Drive, at Telshire Drive, and at West Union Road) will be 5-lanes (to allow for left-turn movements), and the road will taper to 4-lanes (with no left turns permitted) in between… bike lanes and sidewalks will be continuous throughout the entire project.
As you can see from the cross section drawing, the 58-foot (curb-to-curb) roadway will have 54 feet of vehicle lanes, 10 feet of which are set aside only for bicycles.
I know we have some readers who ride in this area and who have been following this project. What’s your take? Did Washington County make a good decision here? Will five foot bike lanes make for a comfortable riding experience on this road?