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Volume 17, Issue 1
January 2019


CPO 1 News
Improving bike and pedestrian facilities

During the November meeting of Community Participation Organization 1 (Cedar Hills, Cedar Mill) we brainstormed gaps and needs for pedestrian and bicycle travel in the area. We submitted our “wish list” to Washington County Land Use and Transportation (LUT) for their response.

Steve Franks, Urban Road Services Coordinator, attended the January 8 meeting to give us an overview of how the county selects and funds ped/bike projects, and also to respond to our list.

The Urban Road Maintenance District Advisory Committee (URMDAC), one of the county’s many advisory boards, reviews suggestions made by community members, CPOs, and others. With a current budget of about $3.5 million per year for projects throughout urban unincorporated Washington County, cost is a big factor. URMDAC generally selects projects that will cost less than $500,000. Bike/ped facilities are generally added to major road projects that are funded outside of the URMD budget.

cpo candidate 503 sidewalk map

Even installing a block of sidewalk is very expensive. Right-of-way (ROW) has to be purchased from adjacent landowners where necessary. Many county streets are flanked by drainage ditches, and when a sidewalk is installed, culverts are built to replace them.

In some cases, bike lanes can be added to streets by simply restriping the pavement. This was achieved on Cornell, between Highway 26 and 143rd, when a major repaving project was done last year. Narrow roads often require additional ROW and drainage, however.

Projects are also ranked according to the number of requests that have been made by the public. On the county website, there’s a form that anyone can fill out to request an improvement. First, check the Pedestrian and Biking Improvement Candidates Map to see if your project is already under consideration. If it is, you can still submit the form and cite the Candidate number, to add your voice to the request. There are over 100 URMD candidates identified already.

Of the five projects that we listed, two have already made the candidate list, and one is being handled as a Capital Project, outside the URMD budget.

A bike lane in both directions on Miller Road from Barnes to Cornell is on the map. Portions of the roadway are narrow and adding bike lanes will be expensive.

Barnes Elementary School sidewalk / crosswalk is a “Capital Project.” The road improvement is part of the Murray/Walker intersection project and is under design, and the crosswalk is a separate project. The timeline for these is about three years

Sidewalks and bike lanes along Butner Road from Cedar Hills Boulevard to Murray in many places: there are a couple of small projects currently on the list for portions of Butner, but the narrow road with very short front yards in many places will make this extremely expensive and difficult. One requested segment would cost $3 million, and another would cost $7.2 million.

Bike lane on Barnes Road from Leahy to County Line: this should go on the list.

Westhaven neighborhood to Barnes Rd. direct bike / ped route to Sunset Transit Center: this should go on the map, although it might not qualify as a county project since much of it is on private property. It was suggested that the park district might take it on.

If you have additional ideas of bike/ped projects, please add them to the list! The community can also lobby for additional funding by contacting our County Commissioner and attending and testifying at Commission meetings.

Next meeting

The February 12 CPO 1 meeting will include a discussion of the Cedar Mill Community Plan with Erin Wardell, Principal Planner, Transportation Planning for LUT. The plan determined increased density levels in many neighborhoods, and called for transportation improvements that never materialized. While minor modifications have been made over the years, it’s largely unchanged since it was formulated in 1983. You can look through the latest version by downloading the PDF file.


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Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
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