Small Town News
'Road diet' takes shape on Railroad
City seeks comment on downtown changes
How is the "road diet" on Railroad Avenue working for you?
The City of Shelton last week reduced its main downtown street from four lanes to two lanes between Third and Fifth streets. Drivers in the right lane approaching the intersections must turn right.
Following a year of community discussions on creating a vision for downtown revitalization, the move was made to create a safer and more pedestrian-friendly environment and increase on-street parking.
Crosswalks incorporating enlarged "bulbs-outs" were painted at each intersection.
The south side of Railroad Avenue from Third to Fifth streets will be parallel parking, increasing space for pedestrians. An adjacent safety zone will provide for bicyclists, space to aid in parallel parking and provide room for drivers to pull over for emergency vehicles.
The north side of Railroad Avenue from Third to Fifth streets will feature back-in angled parking. This will increase the amount of parking by 20 percent on those two blocks.
Everyone will have a chance to provide feedback at a launch event at the Shelton-Mason County Chamber of Commerce's Business Expo and Bite of Mason County event from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today on Railroad and Cota avenues between Second and Sixth streets.
The event will include activities for children and families, and demonstrations on back-in angle parking.
The city also is accepting comments on the change on its website at www.ci.shelton.wa.us.
At the Shelton City Commission meeting Monday evening, Commissioner Tracy
Moore urged residents to drive the Railroad Avenue stretch and share their thoughts. Moore said she painted one of the stripes.
"I, for one, love it," she said of the change.
Greg Clark, the city's public works director, said he hasn't received any specific comments on the change.
"Everyone I heard in passing is pleased with the way it looks.... People are just figuring it out," he said.
Melanie Bakala, the cochair of the Downtown Visioning Advisory Committee, said she is "tickled'' by the change.
By narrowing the stretch from four lanes to two, "We do want to slow it down because we want pedestrians to be safe and people to get out of their cars," she said.
She added, "It seems like people are slower."
Bakala encouraged drivers to give the alterations on Railroad Avenue a chance. "Change is tough, I get it," she said.
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