College Place to decide on bond for streets

The $7 million bond would overhaul College Avenue and Rose Street.

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COLLEGE PLACE - City officials hope voters will green light a major road project next month.

On the Aug. 7 ballot, city residents will vote on a $7 million bond for the College Avenue-Rose Street Reconstruction Project. If approved, the measure will provide almost 70 percent of the funds needed to rebuild the city's two main roadways and provide associated improvements.

The annual tax payment on the bond will be about $94.26 per year per $100,000 of assessed value, said Pat Reay, city administrator. The measure will be phased to replace two bonds being retired in 2013 and 2014 so landowners will see only an increase in property tax of about $34.05 per year per $100,000 assessed value.

The two bonds are for the city's fire station, which will be retired in 2013, and the South End bond, which paid for improvements to Meadowbrook Boulevard and Lamperti Street. That bond will be retired in 2014.

The need to rebuild College Avenue and Rose Street is evident to anyone who drives down the roadways today, said Reay and Mayor Rick Newby.

But beyond simply rebuilding the roadways is an overarching plan to remake the downtown area into a vibrant mix of commercial and residential uses.

Reay said citizens and city staff began in the early 2000s to envision a downtown master plan. Zoning changes enacted in recent years will allow creation of a "downtown mixed-use" area where stores and shops would intermix with apartments and residences along the College Avenue corridor.

To encourage pedestrian traffic along both streets, plans call for a multi-use pathway along Rose Street and for sidewalks to be widened and lined with trees and streetlights along College Avenue. College Avenue will retain parking along its full width, except between Whitman Drive and Fourth Street, and will have a center turn lane between 10th Street and Lamperti Street.

Rose Street will also have a center turn lane along its full length and will be signed for no parking. The narrower street is expected to moderately slow traffic along College Avenue, but no traffic impacts are expected along Rose Street.

Newby said the improvement plan is intended to provide a cohesive design "from tip to tail. So even if we have to go in phases, there's a coherent plan.

"We want to make it more than just a thoroughfare, we want to make it a destination," he said.

project funding

General obligation bond (Aug. 7 ballot measure) - $7,000,000

Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (federal grant) - $1,470,132

Transportation Improvement Board (state grant) - $900,000

Transportation and Community and System Preservation Program (federal grant) - $650,000

9/10s Economic Development Fund (Port of Walla Walla/Walla Walla County) - $400,000 (application pending)

Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (federal grant) - $28,167

Transportation Enhancement Program (federal grant) - $25,000

TOTAL - $10,473,299

(Source: City of College Place)

PRoject elements

Replace 4,200 feet (0.80 miles) of roadway.

Add 10-foot wide multi-use path.

Add planting strip for trees.

Improvements to College Avenue (College Avenue-Rose Street intersection to intersection of Lamperti Street-Mojonnier Road)

Replace 7,100 (1.34 miles) of roadway.

Rebuild College Avenue-Rose Street intersection to provide improved turning movements in all directions.

Add 10-foot wide sidewalks on both sides of street.

New traffic signal at College Avenue-Whitman Drive intersection

Signalized pedestrian crossings for Walla Walla University.

Street trees and tree grates.

Add street lights (existing lights replaced with standard ornamental lights)

Utilities

7,200-plus feet of water lines.

4,700-plus feet of sewer lines.

1,900-plus feet of stormwater lines.

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