East Wenatchee 5th Street Speed Limit Could Drop After Upgrades
The city of East Wenatchee is considering a change to the speed limit on 5th Street after major improvements are completed next year.
A couple of projects are bringing massively expanded sidewalks and other safety features such as improved lighting and more traffic signals.
Public Works Manager Gerron Melton says an engineering analysis will be done to determine if the speed limit should be lowered on 5th Street.
“We’re going to take a look at 5th Street,” said Melton. “With all the improvements that have gone in on it. We’ve really made an effort to make it into a pedestrian centered corridor. We’ve got three schools that come off of it. We see a ton of pedestrian traffic all throughout the day.”
He said an engineering study will be performed to determine the next step.
"Something that the design is going to look at is evaluating dropping the speed limit from 30mph down to 25," Melton said. "And make it less of a route that's intended to be a straight thru."
Traffic would be diverted to other through roadways, such as 3rd Street, 8th Street or Grant Road, if the speed limit is reduced on 5th Street.
Another pedestrian improvement to the roadway has been the installation of raised crosswalks. Melton said they’re starting to gain a little more in popularity because they lift the kids up so that they’re more in the eyeline of traffic.
Drivers are alerted to the raised crosswalks by arrows painted into the road surface at their juncture.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, a raised crosswalk can reduce vehicle speeds and enhance the pedestrian crossing environment.
Raised crosswalks are typically installed on 2-lane or 3-lane roads with speed limits of 30 mph or less and annual average daily traffic below about 9,000.
Melton said he’d noticed drivers traveling over the new raised crosswalks on 5th Street at 40mph and subsequently dropping their speeds to 20mph when passing through again.
He said raised crosswalks aren't quite as harsh as speed bumps, but definitely noticeable to drivers traveling faster than 20-25mph
About $9 million overall, mostly federal and state money, is being used to improve 5th Street.
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Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart