more welcoming to bicycle traffic.
(Photos: Will Vanlue)
This past summer, the City of Tigard completed improvements to Burnham Street, one component of their downtown core.
Now they’re finalizing plans for Main Street (located along Highway 99, 10 miles south of downtown Portland), and by the summer of 2013 we’ll see improvements making it easier and safer to ride a bicycle in the area, including improved connections to the Fanno Creek Trail.
I recently met up with Jeff Peck, Senior Engineering Technician for the City of Tigard, to review highlights of the Main Street project.
One of the first things on my mind were sharrows. The city installed some on Burnham street, but only two in less-than-ideal locations, far from intersections and conflict areas where they could be most beneficial.
“plastered” with sharrows.
Peck reassured me that there will be many more installed during the upcoming project, going so far as to say that Main Street will be “plastered” with sharrows.
Along with sharrows, people on bicycles will be able to enjoy a bicycle lane as they approach Highway 99 at Main Street’s west end. The lane will be positioned to the left of the right-turn lane and facilitate bicycle traffic to the current connection with the Fanno Creek Trail on the north side of Highway 99, on SW Johnson Street.
An eye-shaped island will also be installed near Main Street’s west end, with a crosswalk and mid-street refuge for pedestrians traveling to and from businesses and apartments.
at the west end of Main Street.
Additional improvements to connections with the Fanno Creek Trail will include a new crosswalk where the trail intersects Main Street and raised crosswalks at the intersection of Main Street and Tigard Street.
at the intersection of Main Street and the Fanno Creek Trail.
Although the Fanno Creek Trail does not connect to Tigard Street at the moment, there are plans to extend the trail to that street sometime after Main Street’s renovations are completed. The connection will eventually allow people using the trail to pass under Highway 99, instead of crossing the highway at Main Street’s west end.
the corner of Main Street and Tigard Street.
(The black triangles in the crosswalks indicate a grade change.)
Both Peck and Kim McMillan, Engineering Manager for the City, explained that the improvements for bicycles and pedestrians are a tool being used to improve the atmosphere for businesses on Main Street.
Along with improvements for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, the city is installing benches, street trees, and planters on light poles and next to sidewalks to increase the desirability of property on the street. Construction during the next two years will be scheduled at night, when possible, to minimize the inconvenience to existing businesses.
Peck said his personal goal for the area is for business owners to see property in downtown and think, “I can do something with this!”
Construction is expected to take place in the summer of 2013. Between now and then, Peck described the only significant hurdle remaining as “minor property acquisition” which needs to be finalized.
I was initially concerned to hear his comment. Sometimes when enough space can’t be obtained for a project like this, facilities for bicycles are squeezed out in favor of motor vehicle access.
McMillan went on to say, though, that plans for on-street facilities have changed very little in the later phases of the project and she expects little to no change between now and the start of construction.
I’ll be keeping an eye on the developments along Main Street and will share more when the construction begins.
What do you think of the changes to Main Street? Do you think the planned improvements will make it easier for you to use the Fanno Creek Trail?
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