A public open house on the upcoming Railroad Street reconstruction project is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on June 1 at the Brookings Emergency Operating Center (EOC).
This will be the second public meeting concerning this project.
Engineers who have been working on the road design will make a brief presentation and then be available to meet with individual property and business owners who would be affected by the project. Large dimension plans will be available for public review.
The EOC is located at 888 Elk Drive adjacent to the Brookings Police Department.
“The plans are about 90 per cent complete and we would like to address any concerns prior to moving ahead with a final set of plans,” said City Manager Gary Milliman.
The project involves the complete reconstruction and widening of Railroad Street, to include one travel lane in each direction; a center turn lane; curb, gutter and sidewalk on both sides of the street, storm drains, and possible future improvements to street lighting.
The improvements will occur along a 1,700 lineal foot section of Railroad Street, between Oak Street and Wharf Street. The City will also construct bioswales at other locations to meet national storm water mitigation requirements.
The goal of the project is to correct street, accessibility, pedestrian safety, drainage and bicycle safety deficiencies along the street to make the street more functional as a secondary commercial street carrying local traffic and reducing congestion on Highway 101 through downtown Brookings.
“There will be a number of changes affecting properties located along the street,” City Manager Milliman said. “There will be changes to driveway access and on-street parking. For example, head-in parking will no longer be accommodated on the street. All on-street parking will be parallel parking.”
Milliman noted that during the course of the design work it was discovered that a portion of a building at the northeast corner of Railroad and Oak Street is actually located within the street right-of-way. “We have designed around the building to avoid having the property owner do any demolition, but we are not able to preserve a driveway access to one of the buildings,” Milliman noted.
At the first public meeting several property and business owners along Railroad Street suggested retaining the angle parking and eliminating the proposed center turn lane.
“The engineers looked at this and did some preliminary drawings. The conclusion was that the angle parking would impair the walkable area of the sidewalk, conflict with proposed street light poles and trees, and create a safety hazard for vehicles and bicyclists due to vehicles backing out into traffic,” Milliman said. “The City Council reviewed the results of this preliminary study as well as information concerning the safety of angle parking versus parallel parking and voted to retain the parallel parking plan.”
Engineers also suggested installing a 10-foot wide sidewalk on the west side of the street and a six-foot sidewalk on the east side of the street…flipping the original plan…to accommodate use of the 10-foot sidewalk as a combined pedestrian and bicycle facility. The City Council voted to retain the original configuration because many of the commercial buildings and their entrance doors on the east side of the street are constructed on the property line at the back of the sidewalk.
The Oregon Transportation Commission approved $2.01 in Enhancement Program grant funding for the $3.01 million project, and the City will finance the remaining cost of engineering and construction. “At the time of the first public meeting the estimated construction cost is $2,759,453, which was about $140,000 more than the construction budget,” Milliman said. “We have made some adjustments to the project scope to stay within budget.”
The City is currently constructing a water and sewer main project along Railroad Street, which has resulted on traffic delays and diversions. “This project has taken longer than planned to complete due to the extended period of rainy weather,” Milliman noted.