Ashland may tweak its 'road diet'

ASHSLAND — The city plans to tweak the so-called "road diet" along North Main Street to boost safety and improve access to a medical office.

Some of the changes could take place by spring, said Ashland Public Works Director Mike Faught.

In fall 2012, North Main Steet was re-striped on the north side of town to turn its four travel lanes into two travel lanes with a center turn lane. That created room on the edges to add bike lanes.

Earlier this month, Ashland City Councilors voted to make the pilot project road diet permanent.

Councilors also approved modifications to the road diet.

The city plans to re-stripe the road diet area to create a center turn lane where North Main Street intersects with Bush Street.

On Ashland's outskirts, a new left-turn lane will help northbound drivers who are trying to turn off North Main Street onto Ashland Mine Road.

Other changes include turning Central Street into a one-way street from Laurel to North Main Street.

Faught said the cost of those changes isn't known yet, but money would likely come from city street funds.

The most expensive change would be to shift a driveway to the Stone Medical office farther away from where North Main Street intersects with Maple Street.

A center turn lane on North Main Street near the medical office would be shortened as well.

Faught said that shifting the driveway could cost about $50,000. He said the city may ask the building's owners to share the cost of the change.

Most of the $187,500 cost to re-stripe North Main Street to create the road diet was funded by Oregon Department of Transportation grants.

ODOT was interested in funding the road diet as a one-year pilot project. Additional ODOT funding to pay for adjustments may not be forthcoming since the road diet is no longer a pilot project, Faught said.

"We'll still look for any grants that may be available," he said.

ODOT engineers will review the proposed road diet adjustments, Faught said.

Ashland Daily Tidings reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.


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