A Washington State Department of Transportation project will add features including a center turn lane and bicycle lanes to a portion of state Route 500, in Camas.
City Engineering Manager James Carothers told the City Council during a recent workshop that the city and WSDOT have been working together to plan the re-striping project for five months. It is expected to improve safety and increase mobility on SR-500, from Northeast Third Avenue and Garfield Street to Northeast 22nd Avenue and Everett Street.
The changes will take place at:
o Garfield Street, between Northeast Third Avenue and 14th Avenue — add bicycle lanes on the east side of the road and a two-way turn lane.
o Northeast 14th Avenue, between Garfield and Everett streets — add a bicycle lane on the north side of the street.
o Everett Street, between Northeast 14th Avenue and 22nd Avenue — add a two-way turn lane and bicycle lanes on both sides of the street.
According to Carothers, with the re-striping there will also be some parking restriction adjustments. Both sides of Everett Street will become no parking zones.
“With the center left turn lane, their would not be enough room to have parking,” Carothers said.
Residents of the area immediately surrounding the proposed improvements were notified by mail, and asked to provide comment. At least one person expressed concern about losing the parking spaces on Everett Street that serve Crown Park.
To help mitigate the situation, if approved by the City Council, Carothers said the plan is to add six additional spaces on Northeast 15th Avenue.
Mayor Scott Higgins said the area residents he has spoken to are in favor of the changes, which are expected to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as motorists. The features will help slow traffic and improve sight distance and access for drivers.
“I’ve had the chance to talk to a few of the homeowners (of residences facing) the street,” Higgins said. “Their feedback on the safety side has been really encouraging. They were very supportive of how they thought this would help.”
According to WSDOT Regional Maintenance Engineer Chad Hancock, the re-striping work will take place this summer, when the weather improves.
“It would just take a day or two to remove what’s there and put back the new stripe,” he said.
Higgins asked whether the project could include the installation of a controlled crosswalk at 15th and Everett Street, for safety purposes.
Hancock said traffic counts would not likely support a need.
“I don’t think at that location a signal would ever be warranted,” he said.
A controlled, lighted crosswalk currently exists at Northeast 22nd and Everett Street, a few blocks from Helen Baller Elementary School and Liberty Middle School.
Councilman Don Chaney commented that traffic will continue to increase as more development takes place on the north side of Lacamas Lake, referred to as the North Urban Growth Area.
“As the NUGA area grows out, it is going to be compounded multi-fold times,” he said.
“It’s a corridor that we are all going to need to work on together to improve over time,” added Higgins.
The Camas City Council could give its stamp of approval on the re-striping project in April when it votes on a resolution to change the parking restrictions on Everett Street.
“That is the only action needed from council,” Carothers said.