ERIN TIERNEY/CHRONICLE PHOTO - City Councilors still have to choose which side of Mill Street will lose it parking privileges to make room for a bike lane.

SPRINGFIELD – Parking on Mill Street will be cut in half as the City of Springfield eyes street safety improvements. That’s according to Kristi Krueger with the Department of Public Works, who on Monday gave council an update on the Mill Street Reconstruction Project. 

“We are looking at ways (to enhance) traffic calming and pedestrian crossing safety,” Krueger said. 

The Oregon Department of Transportation has given the green light for the federally funded project. The survey work, traffic counts, and parking utilization study that began in late February have wrapped up, and construction is targeted to begin in 2024, Krueger said.

Mill Street is a “collector” for residents and some commercial use, with access to two of Springfield’s main arteries – Centennial Boulevard and Main Street. 

The street has reached a point of deterioration that is beyond that of regular maintenance, according to a flier mailed to residents, and improvements are needed to ensure the road is safe for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. 

Between 2008-15, nine cyclist-involved crashes were reported due to lack of visibility and proper infrastructure for cyclists. 

“We don’t have a biking facility at all on Mill Street so we will have to include that as part of this project,” Krueger said. And due to the competing elements and the existing right-of-way constraints, Krueger said that the project will require parking to be removed from one side of the street to make room for bicycle infrastructure. 

“This reduction of the parking is not something to blame the City of Springfield for; it’s something that is federally mandated in order to get funding just to fix the street,” councilor Joe Pishioneri said. 

Project elements also include Americans with Disabilities Act improvements, a “full reconstruction from South Eighth Street all the way up to Centennial and a complete reconstruction of the wastewater sewer line from Main Street to just north of G Street,” Krueger said. In addition to bicycle and pedestrian facilities, other aspects include stormwater treatment, travel lanes, street lighting, trees, and electrical utilities.

Krueger said that she intends to send additional information to Mill Street residents this week and encourages feedback from residents, especially as it relates to which side of the street should have its parking removed. 

“We want to see what concerns there are … and then take a look at a different cross section ideas and go from there,” she said. 

Ranking transportation priorities 

Springfield City Council this week also ranked its top three transportation project priorities. 

According to Emma Newman, senior transportation planner for the City, the Central Lane Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) receives federal grants to fund transportation projects in the Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area, and is in discussions with regional transportation planning staff about programming transportation money for 2022 through approximately ‘26. 

The City of Springfield is anticipated to receive $3M-$6M in transportation project money, and Newman on Monday asked council to prioritize its top three projects. With $10 million in projects listed, council had to be selective on which projects to bump up on the priority list. The City can expect to receive $1.5M to $4.5M for the following ranked projects: 

No. 1: Pedestrian crossing enhancements ($1,500,000) 

Pedestrian crossing enhancements needed throughout Springfield, including in the areas of Pioneer Parkway, EWEB path crossings and Thurston Road. The five-year crash history for those areas include three minor injuries, three minor injuries, three instances of property damage, and one fatal pedestrian crash on Pioneer Parkway nearby. 

“Sidewalks are probably the most underserved portion of our city,” Pishioneri said. “I want people that want to get out and walk to not trip over sidewalks that are ankle busters. I want people that are in wheelchairs to be able to negotiate sidewalks without getting tipped over or damaged equipment.”

The crossing enhancements pegged include: 

Pioneer Parkway East and West at E Street: Add rapid flashing beacon crossings to enable pedestrians to more easily and safely cross the street, including transit riders traveling to and from the nearby EmX stations. ODOT is in the process of transferring Pioneer Parkway ownership to the City.

EWEB Path Crossings: With the development of Pierce Park and Marcola Meadows underway, these crossings will likely have increased use. Fifth and 19th Streets would add pedestrian refuge islands and possibly an additional flashing beacon in the island. Local neighborhood streets would have elevated path crossings and other traffic calming to emphasize the path and improve safety.

Thurston Road / 69th Street: During the pandemic the City moved a portable, temporary rapid flashing beacon to this location. This project would replace the temporary beacon with a permanent rapid flashing beacon crossing where the sidewalk ends on the north side of the street. The temporary rapid flashing beacon could then be moved to a new location.

No. 2: South 32nd Street ($1,500,000) 

This project preserves pavement on a street segment that does not yet need to be fully reconstructed, which is more cost effective than full reconstruct projects. It would upgrade ADA ramps. Core sampling will determine which locations are still viable for preservation. South 32nd Avenue and Jasper Road from the railroad tracks to South 42nd Street may be a viable segment of street to consider from the 2018 General Obligation Bond tier 2 list that was not funded. Projects of this type would be a good fit for locally generated revenue sources such as another bond measure or a transportation utility fee. Although the bond measure successfully addressed $10 million of street maintenance needs, there is still a significant backlog.

No. 3: Sidewalks ($1,500,000) 

This project would fund citywide sidewalk repair and maintenance program for three to four

years. Broken, uplifted or sidewalk panels in other forms of disrepair would be replaced. There is a large backlog of sidewalk repair and maintenance needs, which pose an ADA compliance and liability issue.

Staff will seek more direction from the council on policy decisions on how to approach the program. The Springfield Development Code places the burden of sidewalk maintenance on the abutting property owner. As such, a sidewalk inspection and compliance program could partner with property owners to ensure sidewalk repairs are done. Alternatively, the City could change the code to place the burden of sidewalks on the City, but then the program would need to be significantly more robust to address the needs. Direction could also be given on where and how to prioritize repair and maintenance work.

Other projects that didn’t make the council’s top three include: 

• A full reconstruct of Mohawk Boulevard from 19th to OR 126 Expressway. 

• Traffic Signal Controller & Cabinet Modernization, which would be scalable, up to $5.3M for the citywide project. 

• South 48th Street, from Daisy to Main streets: To construct road connection and multi-use path to connect streets to reduce out of direction travel and reduce number of vehicles on the Daisy Street bikeway. First $1.5M funds segment, second $1.5M funds roundabout intersection at Daisy St.