Recreational motorists headed to the upper Rogue River travel through Shady Cove on Oregon 62. Hoping to make their community more attractive for residents and visitors alike, city leaders are collaborating with ODOT to add several enhancements to its paving project scheduled for construction in 2016.
“For some time, we’ve looked for an opportunity to improve Shady Cove with bike lanes and sidewalks,” said Shady Cove Mayor Ron Holthusen. “We want both residents and visitors to enjoy the city’s stores and restaurants.”
The Oregon 62 overlay project will extend north from the Rogue River Bridge to Cleveland Street in Shady Cove. With strong support from the city, ODOT began developing project concepts even though the overlay project won’t begin for another three years.
“Our project team thought it made sense to see if we could attach funds specifically targeted for bicyclists and pedestrians,” said ODOT Project Manager Jayne Randleman. “The need is there to keep people off the highway and shoulder, especially children walking to school.
“Two travel lanes with a center turn lane, bike lanes and sidewalks all sounded good. However, we first needed to clarify the location of ODOT right of way before we could enhance this overlay project.”
Studying design options
Shady Cove businesses voiced concern over the possibility of losing on-street parking. Shops and businesses located north of the Rogue River Bridge were most critical of the plans, believing the project would reduce parking width because state right of way is close to the businesses.
At the same time, ODOT refocused on keeping construction impacts to a minimum not only for the businesses but also for the project budget.
“The project team also consulted with the trucking industry,” said ODOT Project Information Specialist Gary Leaming. “We developed six different project designs in order to find a balance between needs. We finally came across a design that moved the sidewalks to the storefronts with a public easement.”
Presenting the plan
Earlier this spring, the ODOT project team revisited with Shady Cove businesses. The team shared the new design and explained how it would affect the individual businesses. The team also reviewed other project changes that could reduce impacts to parking and properties.
“Where the project stands today is due to a constant ‘we can make it happen’ attitude, shared by ODOT and the City,” said Shady Cove City Councilor Jim Ulrich.
Mayor Holthusen and all city councilors have participated in most of the business/property owner meetings about the project.
“Our team met with the folks at Jack’s Fishin’ Hole and placed a row of orange cones on the ground to show where the new curb would be constructed,” Leaming said. “The additional meetings and physical examples made a huge difference. Business owners could better see what their parking and property would look like after construction.
“A lot of their concerns went away.”