Details on roundabout taking shape

Landscaping design for Lake-Everett traffic feature ‘simplified,’ set to include Camas lily, native plants

Landscaping plans for the future traffic roundabout at Lake Road and Everett Street in Camas received head nods of approval from Camas City Council members this week, after staff pared down the original landscaping ideas.

“We heard you say ‘simplify’ and ‘not so extravagant,’ so we went back to the drawing board,” James “Curleigh” Carothers, the city’s engineering manager, told city councilors at the Council’s Monday night workshop. “We had a joint meeting on Nov. 7 with the landscape committee and we have adjusted the recommendation for you.”

The new landscaping plans include native and “hardy” species, which should alleviate long-term maintenance concerns, bench seating made from repurposed logs and rocks and boulders to provide contrast to the plants and evergreen trees.

The landscaping will include the Camas lily, low-lying ornamental grasses and evergreen trees to provide contrasting height while not impeding traffic or pedestrian views while using the roundabout. The roundabout plan selected by city leaders also saved an endangered American chestnut tree on the site.

City Councilwoman Bonnie Carter on Monday said she thought the plant selection “looks really good” and councilors agreed staff is on the right track with the roundabout design and landscaping.

The roundabout will replace the current traffic-signalized Lake Road-Everett intersection, which Camas engineers have said must be redesigned to accommodate heavier traffic demands.

“The existing, signalized ‘T’ intersection is at or near failure and travelers can experience substantial delays in all directions,” the city states on its website page devoted to the intersection improvements. “This is a critical intersection for the community, connecting the north shore, south shore and downtown Camas and providing access to regional recreation areas at Lacamas Lake and Round Lake. As community and regional growth have increased, so has traffic, causing safety and mobility concerns.”

City leaders say the future traffic roundabout will reduce traffic congestion and improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists and allow for better pedestrian access to the nearby Lacamas and Round lakes recreational areas. The roundabout also will include flashing, rectangular beacon lights in the crosswalks to help pedestrians cross safely.

Camas Public Works Director Steve Wall said councilors can expect to hear updates on the project’s overall cost, schedule and permitting soon, likely in December or early January 2020.

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