Making the right connection
The City of Wilsonville presented the initial streetscape design options for the Boones Ferry to Brown Road Connector at an open house Sept. 11. The designs detail improvements to Boones Ferry along with a new section of 5th Street, south of Fred Meyer, connecting to Wilsonville Road over by Brown Road, in order to alleviate cross-town traffic congestion in the future.
Since the City Council adopted the 5th Street alignment for the project in December 2016, the City began the design process in April 2017 for the first construction phase: the 5th Street to Kinsman Road Extension Project. At this point the City is still gathering community input on the future design of the roads and has not funded the construction phase, set to begin spring 2018.
City staff and the project's consulting firm, Alta, lined the Willamette River rooms at City Hall with design posters detailing the two main roadscape designs, as well as several different bridge designs set to span a small section of Coffee Creek under 5th Street. A virtual simulation of the two street designs was also projected onto the main screen, allowing attendees to get a solid feel for the streetscape.
Project consultant Mary Stewart said that the designs are based off of the feedback given during previous open houses, workshops and surveys. For the streetscape designs, Option 1 and Option 2, the only major difference is that Option 1 has more street parking on Boones Ferry Road and no right turn lane from Boones Ferry Road onto 5th Street, whereas Option 2 has limited parking and a turn lane.
"There were really two camps: One said, 'Don't lose any parking' and the other said, 'We really need that right turn lane,'" Stewart said. "We really tried to appease as many people as possible with both options, but hopefully we get some more feedback and we can get more of an idea if the community wants Option 1 or Option 2."
However, not many attended the open house, especially compared to previous events. But for those who did attend, the concerns voiced were a familiar tune from past meetings: hatred of increased traffic to Old Town versus the need for increased access and infrastructure for safety reasons.
Due to the dead end-esque nature of Old Town, with only Boones Ferry Road leading in and out, the problem of how emergency responders will be able to reach Old Town during rush-hour is a serious reality.
"There's a safety issue that this is going to be present for the entire Wilsonville community, and that's that Freddies will have two exits," resident Kate Greenfield said. "That's two ways out to get to hospitals and other destinations which is really, really a huge benefit just for safety."
Stewart said that consultants stressed these focuses in their designs, while improving the safety of the roadway for pedestrians and cyclists as well as vehicles. One of the ways this was done is the added parking in front of two homes that previously did not have driveways. Spaces, in both plans, were added "to legitimize their parking situation," along Boones Ferry Road.
"This provides more safety in a traditional parking space," Stewart said.
New curb ramps, paving and repaving will all be set to bring the neighborhood up to ADA standards.
The next open house will be in March right before the final design review.