There remain a number of project elements left to complete according to City staff, but it is hoped Washington Street, between Main Street and Vista Drive, can be reopened to through traffic and pedestrians sometime this week. This section of Washington Street has been closed to through traffic since April 30th.
The project included widening and improving the road as well as providing 5-foot-wide sidewalks, curbs, gutters, shoulders for bicycle use, an improved bus pullout and 11-foot-wide travel lanes for vehicles.
What drivers will discover that was not on the initial project plan are 2 “speed tables” that have been installed. Speed tables are intended to serve as traffic calming devices.
Made of concrete, a speed table raises the road surface 3 inches using 6-foot ramps according to the City’s Development Standards. Between the ramps is a 10-foot flat section, hence the name “table.” According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials, these “midblock traffic calming devices” … “raise the entire wheelbase of a vehicle to reduce its traffic speed.”
Citing “numerous comments from adjacent property owners and residents regarding traffic speeds prior to the start of the project and folks also raised fears that those speeds would rise after completion of the project,” City of Ferndale Public Works Project Manager Katy Radder said the speed tables were added to the project for an additional $71,400.
The initial plan was for the road to be closed through October and perhaps longer depending on weather. City staff report there have been few surprises and the area has experienced mostly dry weather during the project.
When asked if speed tables are going to be an expected part of future Ferndale road improvements, Radder said, “each street improvement project is looked at individually, as well as how it functions as a portion of the City’s transportation network as a whole. As such, it’s hard to say definitively how or which traffic calming devices will be used, but it’s a possibility in the future.”