Roundabouts mentioned in Port Townsend transportation plan looking forward 15 years

By Julie McCormick
For Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND -- Are there more traffic roundabouts in Port Townsend's future?

Perhaps. The idea is included in a new city transportation plan.

The touchy topic was mentioned only casually at Monday's City Council meeting when members unanimously approved on the first reading a new and ambitious Functional Transportation Plan, or FTP, which lays out 15 years' worth of transportation planning, including the need for future intersection improvements like the two recently completed roundabouts on Sims Way.

There was little discussion of the comprehensive, 84-page plan, which has been in the works since 2004.

It projects traffic maintenance and improvement needs based upon models developed from actual traffic counts and patterns into the year 2026.

Kirkland-based Transpo Group, which helped Jefferson County develop a similar short- and long-term plan, was the planning and traffic modeling contractor.

It is the first FTP the city has compiled, separate from the usual Six-Year Transportation Improvement Plan, which is required by the state.

It is intended as a guide to future transportation strategies, including funding options for future projects.

Intersection problems that have been pinpointed for potential future roundabouts include more on Sims Way at Mill Road and at Sheridan.

"Our capacity is limited at intersections more than it is on roadways," Public Works Director Ken Clow told council members.

Altogether, the plan cites a possible 28 arterial and intersection improvement projects that could cost as much as $60 million total and several options for the city to consider in paying for them as it goes forward.

A public hearing and final vote on the plan is scheduled for Feb. 7.

Copies of the plan and appendix materials are available at the city's website, www.cityofpt.us.

Documents also are available at the city's planning department at 250 Madison St.

In other business, the council unanimously gave final approval to an interim measure that allows Habitat for Humanity to go ahead with plans to build four more affordable-housing units inside the city without paying the usual fees and taxes.

The action will result in cost reductions of $2,500 per unit, representing a total of $10,000 in lost revenue for the Department of Development Services.

Council discussion focused on its intention to create a separate fund in its budget to support affordable housing as an alternative to the fee-reduction mechanism, which creates a budgetary burden for Development Services.

The topic will be on the council agenda for its Feb. 5 retreat.

Habitat plans to apply for permits next month with the intention of beginning construction in March.

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Julie McCormick is a freelance writer and photographer living in Port Townsend. Phone her at 360-385-4645 or e-mail juliemccormick10@gmail.com.

Last modified: January 25. 2011 11:32PM
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