Road News June 2023

UPDATE June 9, 2023:

Open House for Thompson project

We plan to widen Thompson Road, between Saltzman and Marcotte Roads to add bike lanes, sidewalks, and a center-turn lane. Streetlights and storm water facilities will also be installed. 

Thompson Road, between Saltzman and Marcotte roads, does not have bike lanes, and there are sections without sidewalks.

Other improvements include updated:

  • Street lighting
  • Traffic signs
  • Striping
  • Storm drainage
  • Water quality facilities

Two bike and sidewalk design options are described in the Open House: one would build buffered on-street bike lanes and 6-foot sidewalks separated from the street by a landscape strip; the other would build off-street raised cycle tracks with 6-foot sidewalks separated by a landscape strip. Images and descriptions are on the “Alternatives” pages.

Cedar Mill Landscape Supply

The “Traffic Study” page may surprise some with its findings, such as “There was no more than one crash reported over the five-year period (2016-2020) at any of the intersections.” It also includes a special section on the curve west of Hibbard. “The private development planned on the south side of Thompson Road, west of Hibbard Drive, prevents us from realigning the road to straighten the existing curve…Since the curve of the road is less than the design speed, we will need to request a design exception.”

This project is paid for by the MSTIP Bonding Cost-sharing Program, which selects projects proactively, before anticipated growth in a city. A portion of the cost will be paid from the Bonny Slope West Transportation System Development Charge. 

Comment on the Thompson Road (Saltzman to Marcotte) online open house through June 29. 

Thompson realignment project 

Public Notice was issued seeking comments on the Capital Improvement Project to widen, realign, and extend NW Thompson Road, and widen NW Saltzman Road, with related intersection & frontage improvements within the project boundary. However, the county project page notes: “5/23/2023: Project is on hold pending funding review.” 

According to Washington County staff, “The statement on the project webpage indicates that our anticipated bid date will not be decided until after the budget is finalized. The same statement appears on the webpages for other projects that are nearing construction.” It’s unclear whether this refers to the total county budget or the budget for this project.

CPO 1 didn’t receive the Public Notice until May 19, and it states that the comment period ended May 30. It’s still on the “Comment on a Project” page so it’s unclear if it’s too late to comment. If you want to try, the project number is L2300090, and you may be able to complete and submit the form at the bottom of this page.

The main change we see since the public meetings is that they are going to put planting strips between the turn lanes, as several community members suggested.

Many neighbors are opposed to the project. As one explained in his comment letter, “…this development will not handle more traffic than the current configuration. It does not add sidewalks because they are already in place. It will only allow transient traffic to drive faster through our neighborhoods.  This is the only apparent goal of this project, and it is costly to accomplish.” 

The county cites the “Cedar Hills-Cedar Mill Community Plan/Willow Creek Subarea” and the Transportation System Plan that call for Thompson to be a 3-lane Arterial. Some wonder why the county is undertaking this project with the stated goal of meeting the functional definition when they failed to defend that standard for the Biggi development on Thompson east of Saltzman at the curve (lowered speed because of the curve).

According to the Development Application the existing Thompson will be renamed Old Thompson Road. Apparently, the only way to get a car to the Findley Elementary parking lot and existing drop-off area will be to go on the new road, turn right onto Old Thompson, and enter the parking area that way, five extra blocks of travel. The portion of Thompson between the new southern curve and NW Anthem Lane will be demolished.

The project is proposed to be completed in stages. During Stage 1, Thompson will be widened along the former Kenny route, and Saltzman will be widened on the west side. Stage 2 includes widening Thompson at the curve where it connects to the existing west end of the road, the intersection with Old Thompson will be constructed, and the section of Thompson north of that intersection will be demolished. Stage 3 will extend the new alignment to Saltzman and Tustin Ranch Drive will be closed off at the north end. Traffic will flow on the existing Thompson during Stages 1 and 2, but a detour may be required during Stage 3, as far as we can tell from the plans. 

Staff indicated, “The construction phases will be determined with the contractor, however we noted at our last open house that two road closures are needed to realign Thompson road. These closures will be coordinated with the Beaverton School District and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue. The proposed detour uses West Union Road, Bethany Boulevard, Cornell, and Saltzman roads. A detour map will be available at our pre-construction open house.”

The full-size drawings and other support materials are at the CPO 1 shelf at Cedar Mill Community Library and will be at the Bethany Branch later this week. Ask at the reference desk if you need help.

Three pedestrian/bike improvements for Bethany area to be built this summer

The Urban Road Maintenance District (URMD) has three projects funded and in the planning stages. All projects are expected to be completed this summer. They are part of a larger effort to connect sidewalks and walkways in the Bethany area. 

The county will add a crosswalk, signs, road striping and curb ramps. Each project will include a Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacon (RRFB) that alerts drivers when someone is in the crosswalk. RRFBs are crossing signal with blinking lights that turn on when a pedestrian presses a button. 

A portion of the full project map for URMD

The intersection of Kaiser Road and 147th Avenue doesn’t have a pedestrian crossing.

There is no pedestrian crossing where Waterhouse Trail crosses Laidlaw Road

The intersection of Bethany Boulevard and Mitchell Drive doesn’t have a pedestrian crossing. 

The Urban Road Maintenance District (URMD) funds small-scale pedestrian and biking improvement projects, including sidewalks, pathways, and bike lanes. Since 2011, 74 URMD Pedestrian & Biking Improvement Projects totaling over $33 million have been funded. URMD projects are funded by property taxes collected from property owners in the URMD.

If you have a suggestion for an improvement, you can submit it to be added to the proposal map. Proposals are reviewed when funding becomes available within the URMD Pedestrian and Biking Improvement Program. The URMD Pedestrian and Biking Improvements Map features all improvement proposals, as well as funded projects. The tabs at the top of the map let you see the various stages of the process, from proposals to projects. A pedestrian and biking improvement proposal is an improvement proposal that is not funded. (Once a proposal is selected for funding, it becomes a project.

The Urban Road Maintenance District Advisory Committee (URMDAC) reviews the proposal list every other year to identify projects for funding for the next two fiscal years. You will be given an opportunity to comment to help inform URMDAC on their recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners for funding approval. 

Cornell Road improvement

Cornell Road is being improved between 102nd and 113th avenues. Construction began in 2022. 

sidewalk

The latest update on the project page says, “We plan to pave 8:30 am-3 pm from June 12-16.” Construction is expected to finish in August 2023.

Filbert sidewalk

Much of the work to provide sidewalks on the south side of Filbert Street between Saltzman and Murray is well underway. According to the Project Page it will be done sometime in July 2023.