WARRENTON — The city is moving ahead with two pedestrian routes to connect downtown to Warrenton High School and Fred Meyer.

The City Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to award a contract to OTAK Inc. for up to $55,000 to create a conceptual plan for the routes and identify the cost.

Fred Meyer

Warrenton wants to make it safer for people to walk from downtown to Fred Meyer.

The idea is to build one route along Harbor Drive from downtown to Fred Meyer. The other route would run along S. Main Avenue from downtown to the high school.

OTAK identified a high number of uncontrolled crossings, which can result in potential conflicts between pedestrians and vehicle traffic.

Mayor Henry Balensifer said it can be dangerous for people to walk, especially at night. He said the project would be a big win for residents.

Balensifer said pedestrian routes have been a priority for commissioners dating back to when his grandmother was the mayor.

“So, if we can find some way to get this going, this is a commission priority that has been going on for decades. This would be a real feather in the cap,” he said.

Collin Stelzig, the city’s public works director, said OTAK will conceptually design the safest, convenient and most efficient route for each corridor.

OTAK will take input from the community before bringing a plan and cost estimate to the city for review and approval.

Nicole Bales is a reporter for The Astorian, covering police, courts and county government. Contact her at 971-704-1724 or nbales@dailyastorian.com.

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(4) comments

amber cowan

Isn't the high school going to be moving locations very soon?

I sure hope that's being discussed.

Ed McFadden

You can not be serious. There is only one single road (route) between down town Warrenton direct to Fred Meyers. IT IS HARBOR Dr. And there is only one single road (route) from down town Warrenton to the High School. IT IS MAIN STREET. You do not have to spend $55,000 for some one to figure that out for you. I just did it for free. Spend the $55K for the pedestrian sidewalks to those locations.

Richard Balkins

Honestly, it shouldn't be just a conceptual plan. The work to have a 5ft. to 10ft. wide sidewalk on at least one side of the road. In some places, two sides would be important and ideally, both sides of the street should have sidewalks. In some locations, a sidewalk that is... say 6-ft. wide on each side would be sufficient where the volume of pedestrian traffic would not need 10-ft. wide sidewalks. The Engineer's concept does or would embody some research and planning for water drainage. The work would include things like studying the existing road design and rain water shedding to culverts so any sidewalk work would either require a storm water system or otherwise is designed so that the water still sheds properly to the culvert. They have to think it out. Then they move on to the more technical drawings. Since engineers are paid something like $200 or more per hour (Billed Hourly rate) because they are licensed professionals and this work can not legally be designed by an architect, building designer, or construction contractor as there is not a directly associated building being designed, remodel where the work would be incidental. It has to be designed by an Oregon licensed engineer (OSBEELS). This is a public sidewalk in a public right-of-way. There is only limited instances where an architect, building designer, or contractor can legally be doing this. As I understand it, you are not a licensed Professional Engineer or an Architect. You are also not a building designer or contractor who would only be able to design sidewalk work as long as it is an appurtenance of a residence like walk paths on the residence's property or in exempt commercial buildings, on the property site. There are limited sidewalk work in public right-of-way that can be done such as modifications to existing sidewalk to accommodate a drive way. There is stretches along Harbor Drive where there are undeveloped lots and parcels. I agree with you that it isn't hard to draw up a concept but the truth is there is usually more going on in the work then a sketch and concept rendering that would be shown at a town hall gathering. There is work done usually during this time frame to look at the locations, traffic impact study especially in the town areas, infrastructural implementation requirements like.... street lights. There is also factors like wetland management, riparian and other such requirements. Remember the infamous moth that can cause all kinds of trouble for development because you can't disturbed the 'habitat' of such 'endangered moth'. You have the E. Harbor Dr. and Marlin Ave. area and that 'triangle' that would require push button to signal for crossing the walk path at two points along the triangle which would have to be wheel chair / ADA accessible as well as safe which may require some work similar to work done in Astoria, Oregon in a few locations to make it safe. We have the bridge over the Skipanon river which doesn't have a "sidewalk" per se. Just an area that is basically a bike lane (or pedestrian walk path which cars and trucks tend to get close to the outer white lines and potentially clipping people with their side mirrors as the space is really insufficient like not having a 2-ft. space between the traffic lane and the side walk and a 6-ft. wide so a person can walk closer to bridge railing. It is more than just sketching. The concept has to be feasible from an engineering point of view and that there would be some rough preliminary cost estimate.

Richard Balkins

To add, there is probably more involved in the scope of work in the engineering contract for $55,000 for the sidewalk concept work. That would be about 225 to 325 labor hours which I believe the $55,000 involves more. There is likely some land survey work involved as well as detailed topographical mapping. The kind of work that is in fact front-loaded before detailed engineering drawings are made. It is like in architecture or building design where we would have surveying and detailed topographical survey work done across the site so we can properly design the building and indicate where soil that may need to be removed and where it should be added and so forth. With sidewalk, you have the tilt of the sidewalk surface. It is not absolutely flat. Just as the road itself is not absolutely flat. There is shallow slopes for drainage. The survey work usually involves more than one individual. You have the surveyor and their assistants in the surveying (surveying technicians, etc.), then you have the other engineering disciplines involved. Otak is a multidiscipline engineering and architecture firm. This is most likely going to be involving engineering and surveying/mapping services. This is what I suspect is involved in the $55,000 fee.

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