Depoe Bay may be getting a Highway 101 make-over. Maybe even ANOTHER north-south street around the harbor!
Depoe Bay City Councilors had a nice chat with ODOT during their regular meeting Tuesday night and gave the go ahead for ODOT to come up with a plan to PERHAPS reduce Highway 101 from four lanes down to two lanes through the downtown (including on the bridge) like it used to be years ago.
City councilors and many Depoe Bay residents complain that when traffic into Depoe Bay, from the north or south, hits those four lanes in the downtown area, they speed up. Some motorists speed WAY up. And it’s just not safe.
So ODOT Transportation Planner John deTar offered the council some help from ODOT. He says they’ll need to do traffic counting. And they’ll have to analyze traffic movements on a four lane versus a two lane, and how that might affect parking, and parking movements as vehicles back out of angle-in parking. With a two lane, with a center turn lane, there might even be more room for motorists to back out than they have now. deTar says the study will take a while. If ODOT and the council can agree on a way forward, all ODOT would have to do is re-stripe the road, which would also include the bridge. It would likely offer wider bike and pedestrian lanes and even make it possible to widen the sidewalks on the bridge.
Another idea that deTar brought up was the age-old need for Depoe Bay to have another north-south road that can get people around the harbor without using Highway 101. Especially in an emergency. deTar said ODOT is willing to closely examine the feasibility of constructing such a roadway. It would extend a street south of the bridge northeasterly of the bay, then across the creek to some east-west arterial like Collins. deTar said the roadway would not be 100% funded by ODOT but that there are lots of grants and special revenue sources that could be added to the mix to minimize the drain on Depoe Bay’s meager tax base. He said these two issues, the traffic calming re-striping on 101 plus the construction of a small scale by-pass around Depoe Bay Harbor should be pretty well understood by next summer. If the council moves ahead on the by-pass idea it would trigger a lengthy series of public meetings by the council, the planning commission and a community-wide group of residents, business owners and other stakeholders to figure out if the by-pass idea is a good one or not. And if it is, devise a way to fund it.