City says Downtown Plaza Project ‘Shovel Ready,’ but New Roundabout hits funding Snag

There are some big changes coming to downtown North Bend – and now it appears one of the major projects that will bring those changes will happen faster than the other.

The City of North Bend had two major transportation projects planned for the downtown corridor – 1) a roundabout on North Bend Way at Park Street and 2) the Downtown Plaza at Main Street – in 2017. Due to grant funding, it looks like only the Downtown Plaza project will begin next year.

New Roundabout not Shovel Ready, no Grant Funding yet

City of North Bend Public Works Director Mark Rigos said they learned last week that the city will not be the recipient of a large $2.9 million grant requested from the Puget Sound Regional Council to fund the Park Street Roundabout project. That grant would’ve helped make the roundabout project, which has been identified as a city transportation priority, more “quickly affordable” for North Bend.

Riggos said in the coming months city staff will evaluate if there is adequate funding from other sources – like a smaller grant and transportation impact fees – to move the project forward in 2017.

In planning for the future roundabout, this week the North Bend City Council approved a construction agreement and temporary construction easement with the owner of the Mountain View building, located in front of QFC along East North Bend Way. To aid in the design of the roundabout, the city will relocate some of the parking stalls in front of the Mountain View building.

Rigos explained the roundabout’s proposed design, which is NOT fully completed, includes a new landscaped median to separate eastbound and westbound lanes so vehicles will no longer be able to turn left across North Bend Way between the proposed roundabout and the existing Cedar Falls Way roundabout – except for the existing left turn movement from westbound North Bend Way onto Orchard Drive SE.

Other possibilities for the future roundabout include: a new dedicated right-turn only lane into QFC from westbound North Bend Way; a dedicated right turn lane into the post office from the eastbound direction; and some other parking changes near Park Street.

Rigos cautioned that all details of the proposed design are not worked out yet. He added, “This project is not yet fully designed and is not close to being ‘shovel ready.'”

He said he realizes once the future roundabout is finished, new traffic channelization will be a big change for residents, but that police, city staff, civil and traffic engineers believe this is a “proper move in the interest of protecting public safety, enhancing the streetscape, improving walkability, improving traffic flows and decreasing traffic accidents.

Downtown Plaza Shovel Ready, Grant Funded

 

On the bright side, Rigos said the City of North Bend will be the recipient of a different $1.3 million grant for its Downtown Plaza (DP) project at North Bend Way and Main Ave. The project includes massive sidewalk improvements between Ballarat and Bendigo, new storm drainage collection and conveyance systems, new street furniture and other “great walkability features.” The design also incorporates a decorative river pattern into the concrete.

Unlike the Park Street Roundabout, Rigos said the Downtown Plaza project is ‘shovel ready’ and is expected to begin construction in 2017. He hopes to have a tentative construction start date by later this summer.

In the coming months city staff will also be reaching out to downtown business owners and other stakeholders regarding future construction scheduling, traffic control and other logistics for the project.

Rigos said, “The City intends to be very pro-active in this effort because it’s a major construction project in downtown North Bend. We want the project to be a success.”

 

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Comments

  1. How about encouraging a unified design standard for storefronts and businesses and new construction in North Bend to tie into the river theme. Something that ties back to our forestry roots big timbers and mountain themes? All this street work isn’t going to do anything of the architecture is a mix of abandoned buildings and mish mash strip mall. I love North Bend but we need an identity! I think timber frame or log would work very well and tie into our history.

    • Nicely said, thank you for bringing this important point up.

    • Candi Smith says

      Downtown North Bend is an eyesore that has been ugly for 15 yrs and mostly because of one particular building owner who refuses to do anything to spruce up downtown North Bend Way with his buildings. I am talking about the Antique store on the corner and the old Glazier’s clothing store right next to it. Both buildings are dirty and shabby looking…doesn’t the city have some kind of requirement to businesses that they keep their storefronts clean and tidy?

      • Jim Somborovich says

        You say 15 years. I know it’s more like at least 30 years. Appears to me that we have an owner that doesn’t care and a city that can’t do anything about it. Sad!

      • Exactly. We drive into Snoqualmie because they have done such a better job with their storefronts and attracting nice restaurants and shops. North Bend has SOOOO much potential but it’s probably going to take a city ordinance to get a nice unified design that makes our town as inviting as others like Winthrop, Leavenworth, Hood River, maybe even a mini Whistler-ish(but not) theme. We have great resources to market as an outdoor sports, mountain valley town. World class whitewater kayaking, climbing, skiing, mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, fishing, Great Lakes and waterfalls, Local farms, beef, fruit. We just need someone to organize it develop a comprehensive plan.

      • tim english says

        I asked the mayor about those buildings and why can’t the city encourage the owner or aid somehow to clean them up. no real response other than they need to do something

  2. Here’s an Amen to that brothers and sisters. There is no accounting for wackiness. So, when you die you own some dilapidated old buildings. The benefit to you is???

  3. Shannon Hathaway says

    He/She is of course, waiting for the highest bidder. He/She knows the value of the property they own. it is about business/money, plain and simple.

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