The South Willamette Street Improvement Plan Pilot Study is officially underway, and engineer Chris Henry is making sure business owners have opportunity to share their opinions. With the hopes of hearing feedback on the reconfigured Willamette Street, Henry walked from business to business in mid-August.
Construction crews recently restriped Willamette Street from 24th to 32nd avenues. They created travel and bike lanes in each direction as well as a center turn lane. They also widened the road in several locations and added a traffic signal at Woodfield Station. The changes are part of a study to see how the road should look after it’s reconstructed in the summer of 2018.
Now two months since the changes, Henry discovered nearly all business owners and their employees indicated little to minimal impacts as a result of the reconfigured street. They said sales may have wavered during construction, but overall sales didn’t seem to be affected. Of the seven businesses contacted, one reported a drop in sales following changes to the street. Most agreed the changes made the street safer for all, especially as people continue to become more familiar with the new design.
The City is working with the Community Planning Workshop of the University of Oregon to collect opinions and data before and after the street restriping. This fall, once school is in session, UO student researchers will conduct additional surveys including transportation data and look at how people are using the street. The findings of the pilot study will be detailed to City Council in the fall of 2017.