As a personal injury attorney, I drive a little differently than the average person. Especially around town. I know the hot spots for car accidents because I have recurring clients at those locations. Well, I’m not the only one who has taken notice. The City of Kennewick has embarked on a multi-year project to improve safety along Clearwater, and since our office is along Clearwater, they send us frequent notices. Here’s an update on the project:
Clearwater Avenue, an East to West route in Kennewick, contains a large amount of commercial property, has a significant amount of pedestrian traffic, and is a crossroads between residential areas. In the last three years, 356 collisions have occurred along this corridor, including some fatalities and some really close misses. The City of Kennewick is very concerned with safety in this area, due to the central location and frequented use by locals. In order to make the Clearwater corridor safer to the people of the Tri-Cities, the City of Kennewick has begun the Safe Clearwater Project.
This project is in its infancy, and the Study Phase is scheduled to end just before fall in 2014. Until then, the design and improvement strategies will be discussed and decided over to establish a plan that will make Clearwater avenue safer, easier to navigate, and more efficient.
One of the ideas to improve traffic flow is to install turnouts, or transit stops, for Benton Franklin buses, so that traffic can go around them at each bus stop. However, one problem with the turnouts is that once the bus is out of traffic, it has a hard time merging back in the lane. Engineers are working to balance the needs of motor vehicles, pedestrian traffic, bicycles, and public transportation in instances like this.
Also, long-term plans need to be considered for future expansion. Where 10th Avenue meets Clearwater is currently vacant, with few nearby buildings. Since this area in west Kennewick will likely be developed and expand in the future, plans must be made to ensure that future improvement will be seamless.
Currently, the City is meeting with business owners, and holding open houses for citizens, and considering options to improve the traffic flow. Community members are encouraged to learn more about the project and keep tabs and updated as the construction phase draws nearer.