0106 R Avenue

City officials say the roundabout at R Avenue and 22nd Street improved traffic flow and traffic safety. Another roundabout is planned on R Avenue. (File photo / June 2019) 

Four intersections in Anacortes get failing grades for safety, city Project Manager Steve Lange told the Anacortes City Council on Monday.

Three of those intersections are on the R Avenue corridor, Lange said.

In the past 22 years, there have been 28 collisions at 34th Street and R Avenue, 22 collisions at 32nd and R, and 29 at R and 30th.

“If we look at the details of it, they’re just all sideswipes and T-bones — the broadside accidents — people taking left turns out of these intersections and getting hit,” Lange said.

The next phase of traffic and safety improvements for R Avenue, for which the council awarded an engineering contract Monday, appears to be well-timed.

The Port of Anacortes has plans for commercial construction next to Cap Sante Marina. MJB Properties still has eyes on developing its swath of waterfront on R Avenue between 17th and 22nd streets. Savi Bank plans to build a new bank branch with drive-thru window on Commercial Avenue and 29th Street, just west of R Avenue. Construction is nearing completion on The Salish Inn, a four-story hotel on Q Avenue that resulted in 30th being opened up from Commercial Avenue to R Avenue.

In addition, R Avenue is a thoroughfare that leads to several marinas, Port of Anacortes, Dakota Creek Industries, and numerous marine businesses.

The City Council awarded a $573,207 contract Monday to H.W. Lochner, Inc. to prepare engineering design for the latest phase of improvements to R Avenue, which will include:

• A roundabout at 30th Street and R Avenue, similar to the roundabout at 22nd and R.

• Curb, gutter and sidewalk on 30th Street from R to Q avenues; Q Avenue from 29th Street to 32nd Street; and 29th Street from Q Avenue to Commercial Avenue, with a pedestrian crossing.

• Ten-foot wide sidewalk from 22nd Street to 34th Street that can be used by pedestrians and bicyclists.

• A full median on R Avenue from 22nd to 34th streets.

The R Avenue Corridor Plan was developed in 2007.

Flashing pedestrian crossing signals were installed in 2012. 34th Street was paved in 2014. The roundabout at R Avenue and 22nd Street was constructed in 2013. R Avenue became a Large Transport Corridor in 2017; all overhead utilities were placed underground and a swivel base was installed on traffic signal poles to allow them to be rotated, to give height clearance for large transport.

The engineering work for the latest phase is funded by a federal grant of $525,488; the remainder comes from local impact fees.

All council members voiced support for the project, particularly using impact fees from new development to pay the costs.

“I think we’re really doing a lot of things right here, and I support approval of this contract to move forward with design,” Councilman Ryan Walters said, although he said he’s hesitant about bicyclists and pedestrians sharing a sidewalk. He also had concerns about neighborhood impacts from traffic rerouting.

“I think improving 30th between R and Q and then routing 32nd Street traffic onto that street could be kind of a big deal through the neighborhood there,” he said.

He added that public input would be essential to the project’s success.

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