Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ODOT Building Renovations Benefit Chemeketa Bikeway

With the rain and all, here's a little bit of sunshine.

Construction at the Transportation Building has made truck delivery more difficult, and as a result a wider curb cut will make it easier for people biking on the Chemeketa Street bikeway.

On Sunday, you might have read Peter Wong's piece about the renovation of the Transportation Building.
The five-story Transportation Building, which opened 60 years ago on what is now the Capitol Mall, is being stripped to its bare walls. One of its concrete columns has been removed to make way for steel girders.

More than 400 employees of the Oregon Department of Transportation left their headquarters last fall for leased space on Fairview Industrial Drive SE, and most are scheduled to return to the renovated building by late 2012.

The project's total cost is pegged at $69.5 million, including services by SERA Architects of Portland, staff relocations, space leases and new furnishings. The actual work by Hoffman Construction Co. of Portland, 37 subcontractors and others is budgeted at $39.2 million.
The area on the northeast side of Chemeketa at the mall is all fenced off, but other state buildings still need deliveries.

According to Parks Manager Jim Bader, the T-building project worked with State Parks to expand the curb cut and to let trucks use the old bus lane through the mall. The increase in space has ancillary benefits for people on foot and bike!

Nevertheless, the bathrooms are still awkwardly located and offer blind corners, so caution remains necessary. People on foot use the mall often, and the wider curb cuts should not be an invitation to speed. People on bike should also avoid the center area between the bathrooms, as the doors open into this space.

Here's an old view from the other side - you can see the shrub Parks removed and the narrower curb cut from the first time around.

With the increased space, the work is an incremental improvement and allows people on bike to take the zig-zag by the bathrooms on a wider arc and with a corresponding improvement in visibility.

(Thanks to Jeff Leach for the recent photos!)

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