Rose Street plan OK'd

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WALLA WALLA — Rose Street, the bumpy four-lane traffic arterial on the west side of town, will lose its bumps after a major road improvement project is completed later this year stretching from Ninth Avenue to Myra Road.

The street also will lose two lanes for through traffic and a good number of the old sycamore trees that line it.

The City Council on Wednesday approved a plan to reconfigure the four-lane street into three lanes between the cross streets of 10th and Wildwood avenues.

The new configuration will include two new bike lanes, one on either side of Rose. But the street will actually offer just two through lanes for traffic because the third lane will be a center turn lane.

The reconfiguration plan passed 3-2, with Council members Jerry Cummins and Mary Lou Jenkins voting against the configuration. Mayor Jim Barrow and Council members Barbara Clark and Chris Plucker voted for the lane reduction and addition of bike lanes.

Council members Conrado Cavazos and Shane Laib were absent.

Staff reported that removing two lanes and adding a center turn lane would increase safety on the street, and cited various research and case studies.

Cummins questioned if the streets used in the case studies were fair examples. He also said a single lane of traffic in either direction would cause major delays during bus stops, especially when the buses are picking up people in wheel chairs. Wheel chair pickups and drop-offs average two to three minutes per stop.

Cummins also questioned if having one lane will make pulling onto Rose Street less safe, since the traffic per lane would essentially double and motorists will see their lane options almost cut in half.

Staff maintained the new configuration will increase sight distance, especially with the addition of bike lanes, and will reduce the number of crashes.

As for the trees, from six to 50 of the 80-year-old sycamores will have to be cut down to improve sight distances, which are now a problem for people pulling out of cross streets and onto Rose.

Staff added the addition of bike lanes will increase visibility and thus require fewer trees to be cut down.

Comments

oldguyonabike 1 year, 6 months ago

It is concerning this decision was not in unanimous support of council. When staff was asked if there were any benefits of keeping Rose St. 4 lanes, the simple answer was no.

Rose St. has a history of fatal collisions.

If council had decided to maintain a 4 lane configuration it could have endangered $200,000 in State funding.

Yet 2 council members voted no. Unbelievable.

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sohcammer 1 year, 6 months ago

The reason staff had no answer to the question you stated was because the city manager wants $200,000 in State funding for putting in a light at 13th and Rose. A light which the city already has since they removed it from the old Myra/Rose intersection.

The Railroad is requiring the city to put in a divider at the tracks in order to tie into their signal with the traffic light. THAT is why they are pushing this 3 lane idea as a "SAFETY" issue.

It has everything to do with $200,000 for putting in a light at 13th/Rose.

There is a good reason why the council was split on this issue. This is far from being settled......

Bike lanes on Rose?? It's an industrial artery. Use the dual purpose sidewalk/bike path on the north side of Rose that was bought and paid for with a Federal Grant.

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