The city’s major street plan was the primary discussion during a recent comprehensive plan steering committee meeting.
The major street plan, which is part of the city’s comprehensive plan, is the only plan referenced in state stature, said Dan Lang of the Lang Gang, Inc., the consultant hired by the city to develop the plan.
It allows the community to plan its roadway network, including improving and realigning existing streets, or creating new streets for the community.
The steering committee is tasked with taking off projects that have been completed since the last major street plan, making sure projects on the plan are still appropriate and determining if there are any new projects.
A new map with the suggested improvements will be created and the suggestions will be further discussed and streets added or dropped as the committee sees fit.
The plan is expected to be complete by December.
The committee also will look at the roadway network outside the city limits.
Lang said it’s important to be able to move traffic, to move people through the community and to relieve congestion.
During the meeting, Darren Lamb, community and economic development director, presented the basis of the map from the 2003 plan with existing major streets and collector streets highlighted.
“We try to get as many federal grants as we can to improve our street networks,” he said. “Any streets that need to be reconstructed, if they fall within (a category) where your federal tax dollars will come back and benefit the city, we want to take advantage of it.”
During grant-funded projects, the city typically gets 80 percent of the funds from the federal government and is expected to contribute the remaining 20 percent.
Once completed, a list of streets has to be provided to East-West Gateway Council of Governments. Streets can be reclassified as a major or collector street and will then be eligible for federal grants, Lamb explained.
Federal funds are generally given to help maintain or preserve streets, rather than to build new streets.
One street with many complaints is Stafford Street, which is eligible for federal funds. Grant funds are secured, but work won’t begin until 2014, Lamb said.
Two residents raised objections to the Camp Street project, which recently was approved to be added to the city’s budget by the Washington City Council.
One citizen suggested that A Roy Drive be named a collector or major street, which he said could cross Highway 100 and collect next to Mike Alan Drive and take traffic off Rabbit Trail.
“Roadway projects take a very long time, because they are tied to development activity and funding sources,” Lang said. “Recognize that some of these roads we show in the comprehensive plan might not even be done within this planning period. You want to make sure that you’re continually revising the plan and looking at the community as a whole and making sure that the roads do what they need to do.”
Other than Stafford Street, a number of others were discussed in more general terms.
Lang read through public participation comments about roads that need improvements in Washington.
Traffic signal issues also were addressed, though timing issues aren’t necessarily something that would be addressed in the comprehensive plan but through other means.