A project that could change the way traffic flows on the 10th and Broadway street business districts, and resdesign the intersection of 10th Street and Pocahontas Road/Hughes Lane, is tentatively planned for 2024.
Officials from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the city have discussed the project for several years, and ODOT made a presentation to the City Council during its Tuesday night meeting.
ODOT plans to combine several smaller projects into one so it can award a single contract. The estimated total cost is about $9 million.
“What we call the 10th street project, we’ve been talking about it for several years with ODOT,” said Michelle Owen, the city’s public works director. “It is currently in the 2024 STIP — State Transportation Improvement Program — and so we’re scheduled for construction in 2024.”
One of the project’s components involves the traffic configuration on 10th Street from Broadway to Pocahontas, and on Broadway from Main to 10th.
ODOT plans to change from the current striping, with two travel lanes in each direction, to a single lane in each direction with a center turn lane that would be at least 14 feet wide, depending on public reaction to the proposal. The city will scheduled public meetings next year to solicit opinions about the proposed striping change.
The three-lane configuration is in place now on Campbell Street from Main Street east to Birch Street.
According to ODOT data, in the five years after Campbell was restriped to three lanes in 2000, the number of crashes on that section of street dropped 15%, from 62 to 53, compared with the previous five years.
On-street parking would be allowed on the restriped sections of 10th and Broadway, and a bicycle lane would be added.
“The state’s focus is on all forms of transportation and they have to incorporate something other than just vehicular traffic movement when they work on a roadway,” Owen said. “It’s kind of required now that you consider bicycles and pedestrians because not everyone has a car.
In 2015 a series of meetings took place, involving 10th Street business owners as well as city and state officials, to gather opinions about possible traffic changes.
“But it’s time to renew that and put in more of a formal study,” Owen said.
The initial impetus for the 2015 meetings was concern about the intersection of 10th Street and Pocahontas, which had a higher-than-average crash rate based on ODOT data, Owen said.
“I think the biggest factor is safety,” she said. “We’re after safety first and foremost at that intersection, Hughes and Pocahontas and 10th. That flashing light hasn’t done enough and it’s really an offset intersection, so that’s what they’re looking to make some improvements there, maybe square it up, put appropriate turn lanes in.”
The 2015 conversations also included the possibility of improving pedestrian access from Baker High School to 10th Street and north to Pocahontas.
“When we went through our TSP in 2013 (Transportation System Plan) we identified that we wanted to have some multi-use paths or some sort of pedestrian, bike-ped, connection to that end of town because of the health department, YMCA, medical facilities.”
Officials have also discussed changes to the intersection of Hughes Lane and Cedar Street, and widening the bike lane along both routes to improve access to the center of town.
The Leo Adler Memorial Parkway now leads from the Baker Sports Complex to Hughes Lane.
Owen said one possibility is restriping lanes at the Hughes/Cedar intersection, and adding a turn lane to make it easier for trucks and larger vehicles to turn there.
“It would be a combined effort between city, county, and state because they are city, county, and state facilities,” said Owen.
10th Street is a state highway but jurisdictionally the city has control over access.
The boundary between the city and the county is the center of Pocahontas Road and Hughes Lane.