OSU plans to improve campus infrastructure for pedestrians, bikers

2-way bicycle lanes on Washington Way.
2-way bicycle lanes on Washington Way.
Taylor Cockrell

With a budget set at $29 million, and a projected completion date of winter 2024, Oregon State University aims to enhance campus infrastructure with their Washington Way improvement project.

Funded by OSU Revenue Bonds, this project includes relocating the roadway away from railroad tracks, adding a cycle track, widening pedestrian sidewalks and implementing major lighting upgrades.

“The Washington Way Reconstruction project is currently on budget and is anticipated to be completed on budget” wrote OSU Infrastructure Project Manager Aaron Amoth in an email.

Amoth explained that previously, the eastbound lane predominantly occupied Union Pacific Railroad property. However, UPRR requested OSU to relocate the road further from the active rail line for safety reasons.

A negotiation between UPRR and OSU resulted in a new location 10 feet north of the previous road alignment, with five feet still within UPRR property. This adjustment was aimed at minimizing impacts on existing facilities such as the 26th Street electrical substation, the tennis pavilion and OSU Student Legacy Park.

Amoth mentioned concerns about the removal of parking spaces. Parking lot occupancy is monitored weekly by OSU Transportation Services, with occupancy peaking in the fall term and dropping steadily over subsequent terms. He stated that 75%-85% occupancy is considered ideal as it makes good use of land resources while allowing for surges in parking use.

The SLP’s south parking lot was permanently closed in December 2022. He noted that most of the parking spaces removed by the project were B2 Zone commuter spaces. Following the removal of these parking spaces, winter term 2023 occupancy for the B2 Zone was 80%. Subsequently, the following spring term saw B2 Zone occupancy at 74%.

Amoth indicated that the occupancy in the B2 Zone during the last fall term was 85%, with permits still available. While some zones on campus experience higher occupancy, due to their proximity to the core of campus, the occupancy in the B2 Zone for the week of Jan. 29 through Feb. 2 was 75%. While the campus-wide commuter zone occupancy was 79%.

“This project – particularly the wide, pedestrian sidewalks and cycle track – are consistent with the direction laid out in the Corvallis Campus Vision and the OSU Transportation Plan,” Rebecca Houghtaling, senior planner with University Land Use Planning, wrote in an email.

OSU is currently working on several projects which are identified as priority projects in the Transportation Plan. These projects prioritize the design and implementation of pedestrian and bicycle facilities across campus.

The pedestrian and bike improvements will provide low-stress options that complement the city’s Transportation System Plan and provide routes through campus, according to Houghtaling.

“OSU’s transportation improvements are guided by the Corvallis Campus Vision and OSU Transportation Plan, as this connects individual projects with a holistic, system-wide vision for campus,” Houghtaling said. “As such, the Washington Way improvement project will work with the upcoming projects on Southwest 17th (Street and) Southwest 16th Street and Benton Place, as well as future improvements to Southwest 30th Street.”

Was this article helpful?
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Daily Barometer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *