Case Study No. 17
University Place, WAÂ
Prepared by Ben Yazici, City Manager, City of Sammamish, WA; Former Assistant City Manager/ Director of Public Works for City of University Place, WA and Steve Sugg, University Place, WA.
A 1.6 km (1 mi) stretch of Bridgeport Way, a central arterial road in this small community, was the site of hundreds of traffic accidents between 1995 and 1998, many involving pedestrians. Pedestrian travel through the corridor was made difficult and dangerous by narrow gravel shoulders.
In the summer of 1996, the City of University Place decided to design and construct safety improvements along a portion of Bridgeport Way, a major arterial roadway running through the heart of the city. Bridgeport Way provides access to City Hall, a library, senior housing, a medical facility, and multiple retail centers.
Bridgeport Way carries the largest daily traffic volumes in the city, ranging from 18,800 vehicles per day at the south end of the city to 24,100 vehicles per day near the city center. This 1.6 km (1 mi) stretch of Bridgeport Way was the site of 301 accidents resulting in one fatality and 91 injuries between 1995 and 1998. Ten crashes involved pedestrians. Prior to construction of the improvements, pedestrian travel through the corridor was made difficult by narrow, 0.6 m (2 ft) wide gravel shoulders that placed pedestrians dangerously close to vehicular traffic.
Brigeport Way before the redesign.
Bridgeport Way after the redesign.
With a desire to pursue the goals outlined in the City’s adopted Vision Statement, the City of University Place saw an opportunity to rebuild and transform Bridgeport Way into an inviting main street that would allow pedestrians and bicyclists to move about comfortably and safely while still accommodating vehicular movement through the corridor.
The proposed roadway design included the following:
Although access to local businesses was severely affected by construction of raised median islands, the local Chamber of Commerce worked with the City to convince business owners that the new roadway would provide a much better business climate than the existing road. With this collaborative approach between the City and the Chamber of Commerce, most business owners donated the needed right-of-way to construct this project. The City spent less than $30,000 on right-of-way acquisition to obtain an average 3.1 m (10 ft) strip of the front edge of each commercial property along the roadway. Without cooperation from the businesses, it would have cost the City $500,000 to obtain the right-of-way at fair market value.
University Place also worked with the local utility company to place utility lines underground. The utility company agreed to pay half of the cost, if the City could provide a utility trench as part of the City’s construction project. This lowered the City’s cost of burying the utility lines by as much as $1 million.
The project was completed in 1999 at a total cost of $2.5 million, including design, right-of-way and construction.
The City has analyzed speed, accident, and economic development data collected before and after the construction of the Bridgeport Way improvements between 35th and 40th Streets. The project’s traffic calming features reduced speeds and crashes while increasing business activity. Average speed decreased by 13 percent and traffic accidents were reduced by 60 percent (see table below).
|Posted Speed Limit||6 km/h (35 mi/h)||56 km/h (35 mi/h)||Same|
|Average Actual Speed||1 km/h (37.6 mi/h)||52 km/h (32.6 mi/h)||–13 %|
|Average Annual Crashes||19||8 (first year)||–60 %|
Prior to the project’s implementation, very few pedestrians walked along or crossed the roadway because there were no sidewalks, crosswalks, or paved shoulders. Increased pedestrian activity is evidenced by the over 3200 pedestrians per month usage levels found at the two new mid-block crosswalks. The south crosswalk has 100 pedestrians per day, which is enough activity to warrant a pedestrian signal. The City is considering upgrading the south crosswalk warning sign flasher to a fully signalized crosswalk to improve safety at that location. Yet, despite a dramatic increase in the level of pedestrian activity on the street and the increased exposure to motor vehicle traffic, the frequency of pedestrian crashes has remained constant at about 2.5 crashes per year.
The Bridgeport Way project has also contributed to economic development. Citywide sales tax data indicate that sales revenues increased by 5 percent citywide. Yet, the businesses around the project corridor experienced an increase of approximately 7 percent.
When the Bridgeport Way project was first presented to the public it included a number of roundabouts at key intersections. Public reaction to these bold new facilities was mixed, and to achieve public consensus, the design was modified to include standard intersections with left-turn pockets and a median. Making this design modification and creating a stronger community consensus before construction helped the project gain positive community support. Moreover, the project has been a great success for the City of University Place based on the fulfillment of its key goals:
City of Sammamish
486 228th Avenue, NE
Sammamish, WA 98074-7222
Phone: (425) 898-0660
Steve Sugg, Director of Public Works
Pat O'Neill, City Engineer
City of University Place
3715 Bridgeport Way, West
University Place, WA 98466
Phone: (253) 566-5656 or (253) 460-2529
E-mail: email@example.com or PONeill@ci.university-place.wa.us