Port Angeles city staff selects preferred alternative of shared-use concept for Race Street

PORT ANGELES — A shared-use path for pedestrians, bicyclists and other trail users has been selected as the preferred design alternative for the new-look Race Street in Port Angeles.

City staff picked the shared-use design over a multi-directional concept that would put bicycle lanes on each side of the arterial.

Both alternatives would narrow existing vehicle lanes and add vegetation buffers and sidewalks.

The city plans to use federal grants to turn a 1.1-mile section of Race Street into a “multi-modal corridor” for pedestrians, bicyclists, vehicles and transit users.

The improvements between Front Street and the Olympic National Park Visitor Center are expected to enhance the connection between the Olympic Discovery Trail and Hurricane Ridge and improve the safety and functionality of Race Street for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians of all ages, city officials have said.

“I think [the preferred alternative] is a natural extension of the Olympic Discovery Trail,” project manager Ben Braudrick said in a Thursday interview.

“It is the cheaper option at this point. It is more unique, and I think it will attract more people.”

The Port Angeles City Council received information about the selected alternative but did not discuss the staff-recommended concept at its last meeting Nov. 7.

The council will review the project when the design is 60 percent finished next year.

“The next step is to complete 30 percent design in the winter,” Braudrick said.

Estimates for construction costs will be identified in the design, Braudrick has said.

The city of Port Angeles received a $408,540 Federal Lands Access grant to pay for the design.

The grant had a 13.5 percent in-kind match.

The city hired Alta Planning and Design Inc. of Seattle as its consultant.

City staff and Alta representatives hosted an open house on the Race Street project in September.

An online survey of nearly 224 respondents found that citizens were “effectively split down the middle on their concept preference,” city staff said in a memo to the council.

Concept 2 had 113 votes compared to concept 1’s 111 votes, the survey found.

The multi-directional concept 1 was favored by motorists and daily bicycle riders who were concerned about pedestrian vs. bicycle accidents, the memo said.

The shared-use concept 2 was favored by those who wanted a more park-like extension of the ODT, those with children who wanted more space to ride together and daily bicycle riders who were not concerned about the combined use.

The 12- to 14-foot-wide shared-use trial would be on the west side of Race Street.

About 10 percent of survey takers responded negatively to the project, the memo said.

“Other comments included the renaming of Race Street to something that was more appropriate for the National Park Gateway, concerns with vegetation maintenance, parking availability within the corridor and the need for on-street bicycle facilities such as a sharrow [a shared-lane marking] going north with vehicular traffic,” staff said in a memo to the council.

According to the memo, staff identified the shared-use concept as the preferred alternative for the following reasons:

• The design creates a streetscape unlike any other on the Olympic Peninsula and is likely to attract local and out-of-town users.

• It is a natural extension of the ODT, to which a future connection is proposed, and is more park-like than concept 1.

• It holds greater potential for stormwater management.

• The overall costs are likely to be lower.

• There is more potential for parking spaces.

• Intersections and alley crossings would likely be safer.

• Olympic National Park staff has expressed a preference for concept 2.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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