There's talk on the streets
Just like looking at the final-cut roster after tryouts wrap up, Woodburn residents can look at a list below to see if their street or a street nearby is a pending candidate for improvements.
Woodburn Public Works Director Curtis Stultz shared a presentation with the Woodburn City Council on Monday, Nov. 14, which included discussion about StreetSaver software, which the city uses to collect data on streets, rank their condition and develop a list of priorities for street improvements.
The current list of selected streets are: 2nd St., Harrison to Lincoln; 5th St., Garfield to Lincoln; Lincoln St., 1st to Settlemier; Tukwila Drive, Hazelnut Drive to the 900 block of Tukwila Drive; Deer Run, Meadowvale Lane to the 1000 block of Deer Run; Astor Court; Garden Way, Umpqua Road to Astor Way; Mulberry Drive at Lilac Way.
The list continues with: Oregon Way, W Hayes to 900 block Oregon Way; Columbia Drive, W Hayes to Santiam; Grant St., 1st to 2nd streets; Linda St., Willow St. to Woodland Ave.; Kotka St., Lincoln St. to the 1200 block Kotka St.; Montgomery St. at 2nd St.; Stacy Allison Way; Tukwila Drive, 400 block to Olympic St.; Garfield St. at Settlemier Ave.; Young St., Hwy. 99E to 100 block Young St.; Boones Crossing, Phase 1; N Front St., Cleveland to Harrison streets.
"These were the streets selected this year based on our StreetSaver program and a few other issues as far as trying to make things happen," Stultz told the council.
Some of the challenges for older streets, such as Lincoln, is the city has less right-of-way to work with, so it needs to purchase it before proceeding. Then the city needs to balance tradeoffs, such as tight sidewalks against the curbs or back to where they are on the other side of trees as planners prefer.
"We have to juggle how the improvements are actually done," Stultz said.
"Streets are an asset, and we try to maintain that asset to the best of our ability," Stultz said. "If we had unlimited funds, then we would have all brand-new paved streets and everything would look great all the time. But we have to manage the amount of money we have to do this kind of work … The goal is to get the streets back to where they need to be so that we can continue to have an asset for the city that will last for another 50 years."
One graph Stultz shared shows that the city has roughly 68 miles of streets, and of those about 3.5 miles are graded as in poor condition. One caveat is that some streets within the city's boundaries may look like they are in need of repair and may not be found on the list is because they are not city streets.
"We have state highways, we have Marion County, we have ODOT, we have the city staff," Stultz pointed out, adding that it's often thought that just because you drive a car through Woodburn, it doesn't necessarily mean the street on which you are driving is one the city of Woodburn is responsible to maintain.
The city does field comments when complaints are made about the condition of some streets not within its jurisdiction, such as State Hwy. 214, and passes the information on to the appropriate entity with custody of those thruways.
Woodburn City Administrator Scott Derickson pointed out that the recent economic climate has presented some street-maintenance challenges with contracting, bidding and access to materials.
"Fuel prices are driving the cost of everything, and hopefully that will stabilize at some point," Derickson said.
Other related topics that arose during the discussion involved traffic and speeding, about which city staff has heard an earful in recent times.
"We are looking at different ways we can try to address those concerns within the traffic code, and in ways that don't create a liability for the city or drivers," Derickson said.
Among those are looking at the implementation of elevated crosswalks in strategic areas. Rumble strips, additional speed radar signs and speed bumps are also part of the discussion.
Derickson also pointed out that the state highways running through the city present more problems than the city streets. Conversations and coordination between the city and ODOT are ongoing.
"As we are heading into the new year, the city street system will function better if the state highway system can accommodate the city streets," Derickson said. "Most of the traffic issues we have on city streets is where they connect to state highways where the state highway system is failing. So, the next effort is going to be to try to get the state to make those investments so that the whole system can work."
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