WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Lincoln City: Bright flashing pedestrian crosswalk signs destined for 101 at 33rd (Starbucks) and new sidewalk on 101 from 16th to 19th

Crosswalk LED's with refuge island (Corvallis, 9th Street)

Crosswalk LED’s with refuge island
(Corvallis, 9th Street)

Very bright crosswalk lights, pedestrian activated

Very bright crosswalk lights, pedestrian activated

The Lincoln City City Council, acting as the town’s Urban Renewal Agency, authorized Public Works Director Lila Bradley to launch a couple of pedestrian projects along Lincoln City’s main drag – Highway 101.

The first project is installing a high tech, low maintenance pedestrian actuated bright and flashing LED signal light at 101 and North 33rd, at the existing crosswalk that connects to Starbucks. The new system, which will run just over $13,500, will make a troublesome crosswalk for pedestrians a bit more safe in that the activated bright flashing lights will make it clear that pedestrians are entering the crosswalk. Bradley reported to the council “Even though every effort has been made to enhance pedestrian safety, including location, lighting, signage, island refuge and reflectors, pedestrians at this crosswalk are experiencing ‘issues’ due to unaware drivers.” She said the new crosswalk light activation system should go a long way toward making the crosswalk more pedestrian safe if not friendly.

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New sidewalk east side of Highway 101 from 16th-19th.

New sidewalk east side of Highway 101 from 16th-19th.

The council also approved building new sidewalks from the frontage of Orsborn Power Saw and the Bonita Plaza complex to SE 19th Street. Bradley said public works would like to proceed with the project, which also includes moving the LINC Bus Stop to a safer locations and installing a bus shelter. The council approve the projects which weigh in at just under $100,000 for design and construction. Watch for construction crews in the area.

Getting our kids to school SAFELY! “Safe Routes to School”

Safe Routes to School Newport Rec Center

Safe Routes to School
Newport Rec Center

Creating safe routes to school

Creating safe routes to school

Walking/biking is exercise Reduces child obesity Students arrive ready to focus on learning

Walking/biking is exercise
Reduces child obesity
Students arrive ready to focus on learning


Safe Routes to School program

A group that wants to ensure that Lincoln County school children get to and from school safely put their heads together recently to come up with a plan to do just that – and it’s not about putting more cars on the road. In fact, quite the opposite.

The Safe Routes to Schools organization, which partners with the Oregon Department of Transportation, is making the rounds of Oregon communities to develop local walking and biking routes that are safe and convenient for students. School safety personnel, along with law enforcement, streets, trails and other public officials laid out their challenges for all Lincoln County students to be able to get to and from school on their own, without a flotilla of “mom vans” clogging streets and school pick-up and drop-off areas. They also acknowledged that walking and biking to school is healthier for kids. Not only does it help to prevent childhood obesity, children arrive at school after having done some exercise that results in a calmer frame of mind that helps children focus on learning.

Ideas to improve walking and biking conditions around Lincoln County included:

* Toledo High – Entry drive/walkway hill is not safe. No sidewalk, steep edges/drop offs, narrow road. No sidewalk on Sturdavent leading to school.
* Toledo Elementary – Limited sidewalk access on Sturdavent – only to the south.
* Newport High and Newport Intermediate – No sidewalk on 4th in front of Lincoln County Fairgrounds.
* Waldport High – Elementary – No sidewalk along Crestline to school. New high school will increase traffic from parents driving students, as well as student drivers. Lower speed limit near the schools. Raised crosswalks over highways, install crosswalk warning lights, create bike trails.
* Install flashing school zone lights on Crestline.
* Taft High and Taft Elementary – Wider shoulders along Highways 101 and 18 from Otis area. More sidewalks.
* Safety education for walkers, rights of way issues, crosswalk laws.
* Staff/volunteers needed for crossing guard training, vests, handheld flags and signs.
* Oceanlake Elementary – Need two handheld stop/slow signs.
* Bikers/walkers need to be educated about safety and traffic rules – vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists.
* Everyone needs to learn about “Safe Routes to School.”
* Promote healthy benefits of walking/biking to school.
* Map neighborhoods to reveal challenges and opportunities.
* Plan “Bike to School” events.
* Coordinate special promotions for bike, clothing and helmet give-aways.
* Recruit volunteers to assist walkers/bikers.
* Create “group sites” to coordinate walking.

Comments from the group included some frustration that sidewalks, rights of way, highway crossings and the like require full-blown plans before being qualified for grants, much less permits for construction. Plans cost money to produce, they said, and it makes it harder when the Safe Routes to School program requires plans for projects five to ten years down the road. “That’s well beyond our time line for local projects here in Newport,” said Public Works Director Tim Gross.

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A Safe Route to Schools official said they understand the predicament but quickly added that there are many other tactics that schools and their communities can use to make routes to school more safe for students – like asking law enforcement to concentrate on school zones during times children are going to and from school. A deputy sheriff quickly replied “We’re very thin on patrols as it is. Budgets are tight. Officers don’t come out of thin air.” Response: “Then think about using reserve officers as deterrents – have them write down license plate numbers and send a letter to the registered owner that their vehicle was speeding in a school zone on such and such a date. They’ll get the message.” The suggestion was made that mobile radar trailers be used more consistently in school zones around the county. Public Works Director Tim Gross chimed in that getting creative with street striping can also slow down traffic if it narrows ‘perceived’ lane widths. It’s cheap to do.

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Another suggestion was to contact parents or other adults who might like to monitor student commutes to school, provide guidance and to raise the level of safety while enroute.

Safe Routes to School officials said the next step will be for schools to do more outreach to students and parents to determine what impediments exist that discourages walking and biking to school. After that, create an action plan and take meaningful steps to enact changes that makes biking and walking to school more safe and enjoyable.

More meetings to come to keep the momentum going.

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A look ahead for bike/pedestrian improvements in Newport

Sharrow
Reminder to motorists to share the road

No shoulder on Oceanview between 21st and 12th
Bike travel unsafe

Build trail connecting
Nye at 17th to Oceanview

Create pathway(s)
from PCH to Bayfront

Newport Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee Chairman Ken Dennis briefly outlined some immediate goals for his group saying they’d like to take on some bicycling and pedestrian challenges that have needed fixing for a long time.

Dennis said that his committee is committed to seeing that more “sharrows” are placed on traffic lanes so motorists know they’re supposed to share the road with bicyclists.

Dennis told the council that some long running problems with Oceanview Drive need fixing in that there are no shoulders on Oceanview from Northwest 12th through 21st Street.  They would also like to see a bike trail that connects NW Nye to Oceanview which would give an alternate north-south route from the center of town to the north.

And Dennis said that there is a need to connect the trail that runs from near the city water treatment plant at Big Creek, down the drainage and through the Highway 101 tunnel and connecting to the sidewalk that leads to Walmart

He also told the council that there is a need for clear pedestrian access from PCH to the Bayfront.

Just expressing needs.  No firm target dates or funding sources yet identified.

Lincoln City City Council moves ahead on Bike/Pedestrian Plan for the town

Saying they want Lincoln City residents to be able to get around town without having to drive a car, or even ride a bus if they don’t want to, the city council gave their tentative approval of a new bicycle and pedestrian/hiking plan Monday night. Pictured above is a series of improvements aimed at helping motorists to more effectively share the roads with bicyclists and walkers. The plan calls for putting in sidewalks for pedestrians as well as lane sharing for bicyclists. Some of it will cost money. And some of it won’t fit within the narrow widths of many older streets in the city.

Resident Mike Meyers blasted the plan as lacking common sense in its application and excessive in its proposed fees or taxes to implement it. He said the city needs to stick to what’s needed, and avoid what is not necessary. He said that many city streets are too narrow for what limited parking there is without trying to take up space for bike lanes or sidewalks that, in some cases, would put both almost up to the front doors of some homes in Lincoln City.

ODOT representative David Helton, whose agency helped fund the bike/ped study said that Mr. Meyers brings up good points but that there will be no fees or taxes for any project that isn’t fully evaluated and brought before the city council in open public meetings. He said it’s a plan and nothing more, that lays out what the town might accommodate in the years ahead, with emphasis on “years.” City planner Debra Martzhan said that local fees or taxes are not the first choice for funding bike/ped improvements and that there are many grants and other resources that could be tapped first. The council was also told that any improvements would likely piggyback with other city projects associated with street or other circulation improvements in the years ahead and that each and every improvement will be presented to the city council who has the last say on whether an improvement is given the green light.

A representative of the Bay Area Merchants Association said their group supports the bike/ped plan, adding that it’s long been their opinion that the Taft area has been somewhat isolated from the rest of Lincoln City because of a lack of pedestrian and/or biking provisions on the street.

The council seemed okay with the plan, with some minor amendments. City staff said they would refer it back to the city’s consultants and then bring it back to the city council for review and probable approval at a future meeting.

Lincoln City edges closer to adopting biking and walking plan for the town

We all know that America is filled with people who weigh too much, don’t exercise enough and who use their vehicles to travel 200 feet to the store. But slowly, city and county planners have been making it easier for Americans to envision a different kind of neighborhood, where walking and bicycling are not only possible, but safe and inviting.

Lincoln City planners Monday night debuted their proposed city-wide walking and biking plan to the city council. It was well received and roundly praised at successfully pulling many Lincoln City residents into the process of assessing the walking and biking needs of the city, where they could be constructed and where to go shopping for the money to make it all possible.

Nobody said it was all going to happen soon. They agreed that it’ll be a long slog, especially as the country tries fitfully to pull out of the worst recession in over 80 years. Cities and counties are having trouble enough paying for the things that are “must haves” as opposed to what are nice to have to improve the community’s quality of life which bike and walking paths would be a part of.

However, planners reminded the councilors that there are many no-or-low-cost options to be explored with the city’s own public works department, and certainly with the Oregon Department of Transportation, which has control over Highway 101 – the main transportation corridor through town. They say a few immediate improvements could come from just laying down some paint where appropriate.

To be sure, shared lanes, discreet lanes, sidewalks, pedestrian pathways, all come at a price. And certainly the more pricey ones may take a while to build. But that’s what planners said is so good about the city’s nearly-adopted plan. They say it was formulated after a series community meetings and discussions that examined what’s on the ground now, and what would make sense projecting out five to ten years to connect Lincoln city’s scattered neighborhoods without having to jump in a car. They said funding for these non-automotive ways of getting around will likely come from a number of sources; federal, state, private foundations, local contributors and yes, even taxpayers, if they can be convinced of the value. So having a plan with specific sets of expectations, of what should be put where, will help focus the work of raising the money.

The plan’s comprehensiveness exceeds any one news story’s ability to even scratch the surface. You really should read the plan. But before your eyes glaze over, click on the link at the end of this story and see for yourself how very readable and easy to understand it is. It’s well made so everyone can get a good sense of what’s in the offing and of ways to move it forward. There are detractors who think it’s all a bunch of expensive fluff that the city can’t afford, but if you spend some time with the plan you’ll get your own view of the possibilities. Although the plan was presented to the city council Monday night, the council postponed adoption of it until at least one more public hearing can be held 6pm, Monday, October 22nd, to give more Lincoln City residents a chance to weigh in on the discussions.

At any rate, here’s the plan: Click here.

Lincoln City: Pedestrian/Crosswalk enforcement operation coming up Monday, June 25

Lincoln City Police have announced that they’ll be conducting a pedestrian crosswalk compliance operation on Monday, June 25th, from 9am through Noon, on Highway 101 between the south 800 block to the “D” River Wayside Park.

Police say they will erect warning signs at both ends of the operation area to give full notice to motorists that crosswalk compliance is being closely monitored. While motorists will be expected to stop when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, pedestrians are also reminded that they are expected to step off the curb only when approaching vehicles have enough room to stop without jamming on their brakes.

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