Now that the Harbor Street Safety Enhancement and Beautification consultants have turned in their recommendations and that all the neighbors have pretty well spoken out about how much they don’t like those recommendations, the city council threw their support behind the neighbors. Councilor Wes Ryan even went so far as to say, “Why were the consultants hired in the first place? If all we were going to end up with is a 5 foot wide sidewalk and some paint on the street, why did we bother?” Mayor Dick Anderson answered in a round about way that one might translate as “You don’t know whether you need a consultant until after you’ve hired one.”
Once the council got past that intellectual intersection they set out to give city public works staff some direction. From 15th to 21st on Harbor, the council wants easier access to the beach and beach views for everyone – including the handicapped. So – a west side sidewalk, curb cuts, well marked crosswalks and convenient access to beach overlooks. That will get the pedestrians off the street.
There was talk about putting in parking on the east side of Harbor, but the council didn’t make it mandatory. Mayor Anderson said he’s inclined to provide parking on the east side but would also be prepared to remove it if it became a problem by making things too crowded on the street for large trucks and larger vehicles.
Mayor Anderson added that he would actually prefer tourist parking along 101 or up 21st so visitors would suddenly be walking by quaint little shops full of arts, crafts and other services to boost Lincoln City’s retail trade. But he admitted that might be too big of an expectation – “but it’s a good thought” he said.
So, staff got their direction to make it mainly as explained above and see what they can bring back to the council for review in December.
City planner Debra Martzan got the go ahead from the council to put a $150,000 ODOT-related grant to work to create a plan to improve transportation east of Highway 101 on and off of East 23rd. It starts out inside the city but soon extends eastward out into the city’s urban growth boundary – an area that is expected to be annexed some day into the city. Martzan reminded the council that a lot of small to medium sized manufacturing and industrial activities are already going on in that area. She said there are still active plans for a large condo project near 101 as well. The idea is to envision the area built out someday, with wide streets creating a tasteful and business-like environment that would attract higher end companies and manufacturing concerns that would bring with them more family wage jobs for Lincoln City. Also walkable, bikeable pathways and streets to enhance the qualify of life for those moving into new residential developments in the same area.
Martzan said she’ll be working on the project with the consultants who she hopes to have on board within six months. After that, they’d spend the next year evaluating that part of Lincoln City, and slightly to the east, and assess future roadway schematics, land ownership boundaries, utilities and all the other elements that go with successful economic development. Martzan said she expects a final report to the council sometime in June of 2015.