Do you suffer flashbacks of summer traffic snarls every time you drive through Uniontown on Marine Drive?
Good news: Bond Street is open to two-way traffic again.
The street, which provides an alternative east-west connector through the city, opened ahead of schedule, and ahead of an official ribbon-cutting planned for Friday afternoon.
The city still must install a fence on one side and is waiting for the materials to become available.
“But we’re not going to keep it closed just for that,” said Jeff Harrington, Astoria’s public works director.
A portion of Bond Street was reduced to one lane of westbound traffic in 2007 after a landslide that has been moving since the 1800s impacted the road. The city had hoped to build a retaining wall against the slide, widen the road and reopen the street to two-way traffic last year, but record rainfall delayed the project until late this summer.
It’s an exciting development for city leaders, who noted the need for full access to the street when they awarded a construction contract in September.
“We are all really looking forward to that, given the traffic woes in Astoria,” City Councilor Zetty Nemlowill, who represents the west side, said at the time. “It will be good to have that open again.”
Some neighbors told Mayor Arline LaMear and City Councilor Cindy Price they were concerned about speeding cars if Bond Street was fully reopened.
But so far, with the street open again for the past several days, Harrington and the city have not heard any complaints, nor has Harrington noticed any excessive speeding.
Public works staff and police will continue to monitor the street to see if any speeding issues emerge.
“Because it’s an alternative route to the highway, we’ve always had speeding complaints there,” Harrington said. Even back when the entire street allowed two-way traffic.
“It’s just one of those streets,” he said.
Speeding was exacerbated by the fact that motorists turning onto Bond were often already frustrated by congestion on Marine Drive, running late and in a hurry, Harrington added.
The city restricted parking on some street corners to increase visibility as people drive up and over hills on Bond Street. The retaining wall itself seems to be acting as sort of a visual deterrent, slowing drivers down as they approach, Harrington said.
Public works staff will continue to monitor slide activity above Bond Street — likely for years to come, Harrington said.
The Bond Street project cost just under $600,000, and work has remained within budget, according to the city.
City leaders expanded the Astor-West Urban Renewal District in 2016 to include a portion of Bond Street east of the traffic light at Columbia Avenue to Second Street. Including this section of Bond Street inside the renewal district opens up funding for future work.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate completion of work on Bond Street will be held at the site on Friday at 2 p.m. Parking is available in the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce parking lot and the public is welcome to attend.