‘Streetscape’ project includes all modes of transportation

By Don Nelson

The Town of Winthrop is asking for input on developing a plan to improve mobility — for cars, bikes, bus riders, wheelchair users and pedestrians alike — in the downtown area, and has scheduled a public workshop on Sept. 28 to gather ideas.

“Winthrop in Motion: Walking Audit and Big Ideas Workshop” will have two parts: A “walking audit” of downtown from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., starting at the Winthrop Barn. Participants will be joined by consultants and town officials for a walk through town to identify issues affecting anyone trying to move through the area.

The walk is limited to 25 participants, who are encouraged to wear weather-appropriate clothing for the 2-mile tour. RSVP to Town Planner Rocklynn Culp at rocklynn@townofwinthrop.com.

The walk will be followed by an ideas session from 4 – 7 p.m. at the Winthrop Barn. No RSVP is necessary for the evening workshop.

“It’s an effort to come up with ideas that integrate planning for all users,” Culp said.

The town is developing a mobility plan and “streetscape” scenarios and needs the public’s help in identifying transportation issues, Culp said. The planning is supported by a $250,000 “Complete Streets” grant the town received from the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board to help complete several projects and plan for others that will improve vehicle, bike and pedestrian movement in the town.

The Complete Streets program is designed to help towns “retrofit” their existing transportation corridors to more effectively handle a variety of uses. The town’s original proposal to the Transportation Improvement Board included:

• $45,000 to complete a plan integrating bicycle, pedestrian, vehicle and transit circulation through the town, as well as Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

• $20,000 to complete a “downtown streetscape study” that would include traffic and ADA needs, as well as parking, signage and lighting.

• $75,000 to complete Phase 2 of the Susie Stephens Trail.

• $80,000 to complete a pedestrian underpass beneath the Highway 20 bridge over the Chewuch River.

• $7,500 to develop a bicycle parking area on Riverside Avenue.

• $22,500 to design a connection between the downtown boardwalks and the Susie Stephens Trail.

Culp said the successful execution of the grant projects would qualify the town to apply for another $250,000 grant to support continued transportation improvements.

The grant agreement requires the town to make periodic reports on its progress to the Transportation Improvement Board. The town is required to hold the grant funds in a separate account designated solely for expenses related to the described projects. The town may request revisions to the plan, subject to the board’s approval.

Culp said the transportation and streetscape projects are consistent with priorities spelled out in the town’s comprehensive plan.

The town has contracted with Alta Planning + Design of Seattle to assist in developing the plan, with the help of two local subcontractors: LPD Engineering Pllc (Jennifer Argraves); and MDP Strategic (Hannah McIntosh).