City adds to Safe Routes to Schools Network
Safe Routes to Schools projects create neighborhood to school connections for children and adults who commute by foot and bicycle. A new segment — the Wilson – A Street Bicycle Corridor — adds to the City’s bicycle/pedestrian network. 18 new thermoplastic bike sharrows have been installed along the stretch as a step in a larger plan to expand the Safe Routes to School network in the Heights area.
Spearheading the project is City GIS Analyst Jonathan Skloven-Gill. “My involvement to kickstart bicycle route improvements began while streets were quieter during the Stay-Home order,” Skloven-Gill relayed. “The project our team designed includes immediate actions and longer-term expansions for future projects that will require more planning and involvement.”
The first phase — the Wilson – A Street Bicycle Corridor Project — is partially complete. 18 new thermoplastic bicycle sharrows have been installed along the stretch of Wilson / A streets between 10th and 18th (one block north of Belmont / Union Street). This corridor is a rare continuous stretch connecting east-west sides of 12th and 13th streets that can serve traffic to May Street School from 10th Street and to Hood River Middle School via 18th Street to keep pedestrians and cyclists off streets with higher vehicle traffic.
Coming soon are improvements to existing crosswalk signage as well as “Compact Only” restrictions on two parking stalls at the corner of 13th and A streets to improve visibility.
The Wilson – A Corridor is the first step in a larger plan to expand the Safe Routes to School network in the Heights area. Conceptual outlines have been created for the next phase in two areas. Phase Two includes potential bicycle lanes along Pacific Avenue from 2nd Street to 12th Street that would safely connect to the Wilson – A Corridor, incorporating improvements on a small segment of the Indian Creek Trail just north of Dutch Bros to Union Street. Phase Two would also connect the Wilson – A Corridor north along 18th Street to May Street and the existing Safe Routes to Schools network. This project segment, as part of the City’s Transportation System Plan (TSP), will require more time due to extensive engineering and redesign.
An updated network plan and map, adopted by City Council in May, will serve as a foundation to the City’s bicycle system and can be expanded and enhanced in the future. This newly adopted map will also help guide future grant requests and capital improvement plans.
Although current work is only a small step towards Hood River becoming a comprehensive Safe Routes to Schools community, once complete, the SRTS project would add significantly to the City’s pedestrian/bicycle infrastructure. As work progresses, City staff hopes to continue collaboration with the community and school personnel to spread information and promote the use of these newly designated bicycle corridors.
Building on community-led efforts, the accompanying map expands the existing Safe Routes to School network and the City’s bicycle system in strategic locations.
Phase 1: Wilson – A Street Corridor. Creating a safe route across state highway 281 (12th and 13th Streets in the Heights).
Phase 2: Elliot Park/Mountain Vistas. Cross Connection of newer development areas to schools in the older parts of the City.
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