City & Government, Cottage Grove

Grove roads high priority for ODOT

COTTAGE GROVE – The Oregon Department of Transportation continues to keep tabs on improvements needed to Cottage Grove’s roads, and this week, an ODOT official discussed the city’s slated ADA Ramp Project, which focuses largely on pedestrian safety.

With improvements slated for completion this year, Jenna Berman, ODOT active transportation liaison, solicited feedback from council. Are crossings in the right place? Where do people want to go? Where are the essential turning areas for vehicles?

“A lot of your intersections are really complicated,” Berman said. “You’ve got skewed intersections that are really tricky, and they’re super hard for folks (to walk or ride) because you have all these roads coming together.”

The locations of interest include:

• E. Washington Avenue and S. 8th Street

• Jefferson Avenue and S. 7th Street

• E. Quincy Avenue, S. 5th Street, and Highway 99

• Madison Avenue and S. 6th Street

“One of the reasons why I was so motivated to do this segment of Cottage Grove is because it really rises up in our data,” she said, noting that ODOT’s data reflects gaps in the system, high rate crash locations and socioeconomic impacts, to name a few. 

“This is one of our top priorities in the entire region,” which includes about 100 communities, she said. Rising to this level of priority triggers ODOT’s ability to allocate money to the area. 

These upgrades should improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, feeding nicely into the city’s in-progress Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. 

Short term, ODOT is looking at striping. “For the long term, it’s big,” Berman said. “The whole roadway will have to be taken down from the bottom and built back up. That’s not something we do very often these days.”

ODOT will be holding an online open house in mid-march. A date and time have yet to be announced.

Also this week, the council heard a staff report from Cottage Grove Police Department police chief Cory Chase, comparing data from 2022 against 2023. The only significant change, he said, was that calls for service went down by a few thousand calls. This can be for quite a few reasons, Chase said. One is that officers may have been opting to not write reports for each instance they were called to action because not every call requires one.

“My intent moving forward is to build on this every year and eventually get to a point where we have five years worth of data that we can compare to,” Chase said.

In other news, Ziply, a fiber internet company, is in negotiations for a franchise agreement in Cottage Grove. Ziply this year expanded its fiber network into Springfield and hopes to extend its services into Cottage Grove, too.

“Today, cities that are served by our network have the fastest internet,” said Jessica Epley, Ziply vice president for regulatory and external affairs. “That’s not a punchline. That’s not a joke,” she said, while also asserting that Ziply customers never lost service during the January ice storm. 

This conversation centered around how Ziply may come to Cottage Grove, whether that be above ground or underground. But in order for it to operate underground, City code would need to be updated. No decision was made at this time.

The council also approved a resolution to support a grant application for the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant Program. The program, through the Department of the Interior – National Park Service, could bring the City anywhere between $200,000 and $750,000 for historic building renovation projects, with an aim to stimulate economic revitalization.

City planner Eric Mongan said historic downtown district staff believes the City has a very strong application to earn funding for its Main Street Revitalization Project and the Historic Facade Renovation Program. He expects to hear whether the City earned the grant near the end of September.



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