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.”