Corvallis City Council to vote on amendment to direct funds for pedestrian, cyclist safety

Flowers and signs placed around the crosswalk on SW Third Street in Corvallis in remembrance of an 11-year-old who was fatally hit early last month.

William Ross, News Contributor

Monday evening the Corvallis City Council will meet to consider a proposed amendment to the Transportation Maintenance Fee, which could bring $30,000 of additional funding for pedestrian and cyclist safety.

With last month’s fatal accident in a crosswalk on Highway 99/Third Street sparking community input, the city has explored options to improve safety conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Barbara Bull is the City Councilor for Ward 4 which includes the Oregon State University campus. She represents the people of the ward by voting and coming up with proposals that fall in line with what they would like from the city government.

Currently, speaking as one councilor, she believes a flashing yellow light is not clear enough for drivers, a flashing red is more clear and lets people know they need to stop, Bull said.

“I would rather be too safe,” Bull said.

To help pay for these changes to Corvallis crosswalks and roads, the Council brought up amending the Transportation Maintenance Fee.

According to Bull, the Transportation Maintenance Fee was created to repair roads in the city of Corvallis after a decline of state and federal funding. It’s a fee that appears monthly on the water bills of residents and businesses of Corvallis.

Setting aside 1% of the Transportation Maintenance Fee for safety was brought up at the last City Council meeting on Jan. 21.

Oregon State University’s Director of Transportation Services, Meredith Williams, would like to see more than 1% of the Transportation Maintenance Fee (TMF) go to bicycle and pedestrian safety projects.

“An annual investment of 5% of the TMF could make a noticeable difference in the community,” Williams said.

City officials also believe the redirection of funds is only a starting point.

“You can see it [1%] combined with state grants or federal grants to really make those dollars go further,” said City Public Information Officer Patrick Rollens.

According to Bull, she is all for bicycle safety funding, as long as it’s being paid attention to.

“It’s fine to use this [1% from the Transportation Maintenance Fee] in combination with state funding but there is almost none, so it wouldn’t make a difference right now,” Bull said.

If community members want city officials to hear their voice about what they should do about the 1% of the Transportation Maintenance Fee, they can attend Monday’s meeting.

Bull said to speak at the meeting all someone would have to do is show up and sign the sign-up sheet.

Even if the 1% amendment Transportation Maintenance Fee is approved Monday, the work on this issue is not over. The council can vote at any point to adjust the amount of money that goes towards bike and pedestrian safety projects.

“We need to identify a dedicated funding force to make our bicycle and pedestrian facilities stronger,” Williams said.

The City Council meeting will begin at 6 p.m. on Feb. 3 in the Downtown Fire Station.

Readers can access the city’s guide for community members who wish to participate in the Community Comments portion of City Council meetings.

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