Lincoln City City Councilors got a first look Monday night at a makeover of a popular area where people go to the beach. It’s along Harbor Avenue between NW 15th to 21st, an area that is kind of a jumbled mix of structures, street and sidewalks that got patched and pushed together over the decades. A lot of it is untraversable by the disabled, especially those in wheel chairs. Lincoln City recently came under sharp criticism for what was described as being a difficult environment for the disabled and wheelchair bound to get around in. So the city set out to change that. The Harbor Avenue makeover is but one of three projects to bring it more into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
At 15th and Harbor the project calls for raised ADA accessible crosswalk, new roadway striping and directional arrows for traffic flow – no more lefts off south Harbor to the beach, and no more eastbound 15th right turns from the beach onto south Harbor – new planting areas to inhibit jaywalking and new ramps and crosswalk striping going across Harbor.
At Harbor and 17th, access to a walkway down to the beach will be more attractively landscaped with same level walkways and curb access for pedestrians, bicyclists and those confined to wheelchairs. There is also a nice roomy overlook of the beach as well. There will also be speed tables installed on Harbor at the intersections of 17th and 19th. Speed tables are momentary changes in street level, like driving-over-a-wooden-bridge feeling, to keep traffic nice and slow through the area which is frequently congested with pedestrians, bicyclists, cars and trucks.
At the end of 21st, where it crosses Harbor and then into a parking lot overlooking the beach, the parking level will be raised to the level of the sidewalk with special paving to match pedestrian areas. Driveways on both sides will be improved. Plantings will line the pedestrian walkways and new curb ramps and crosswalk striping will be installed across Harbor and 21st.
As for the entire length of Harbor between 15th and 21st, the plan calls for widening the sidewalk considerably to accommodate healthy pedestrian traffic, including racks for bicycles. Three options include generous plantings of native botanical species with a somewhat meandering sidewalk configuration, a meandering sidewalk with fewer planting or a straight shot, very wide roomy sidewalk.
The project still needs to be formally designed and engineered and city public works asked that the project move ahead. But city councilors said they wanted the plan to “get out there in the public” for a couple of weeks to see if there were any more comments on it. The Sea Horse Oceanfront Lodge sent an attorney to the meeting to express the hotel’s concerns about certain aspects of the project as it affects their property at Harbor and 21st. City staff was asked to meet with the attorney to get the specifics of those concerns and determine if there is a way to accommodate them.
So, in two weeks, the city council may agree to move ahead with the design and engineering of the project with construction to follow with completion within a year to 18 months after that.
Two other similar ADA, bicycle and pedestrian projects are also targeted for Highway 101 at 22nd near the Lincoln City Community Center as well as at 22nd and Surf near Oceanlake School.