MacArthur Boulevard - 2013 Microsurfacing & Restriping Project

Traffic Count Summary & Information

2013
In April of 2013, a traffic count was conducted along MacArthur Boulevard to measure traffic volume and speed. The results of the count were approximately 6,500 vehicles per day traveling both directions of MacArthur between Andresen Road and Lieser Road. Average traffic speed in both directions was 37 mph, with 85 percent of the vehicles traveling at or below 41 mph.

2014
In April of 2013, the City again conducted a traffic count along MacArthur Boulevard to measure current traffic volume and speed. The results of this count were approximately 6,100 vehicles per day traveling both directions of MacArthur between Andresen Road and Lieser Road. Average traffic speed in both directions was 36 mph, with 85 percent of the vehicles traveling at or below 40 mph.

Comparing 2013 and 2014 Counts
Traffic volumes and speeds were slightly less, but not to the extent to indicate a noticeable change in speed or volume based on striping changes.

Please note: The above information for both 2013 and 2014 are the result of a simple traffic count and not an in-depth traffic study. These traffic counts provide a cost-effective and efficient snapshot of volumes and speeds.


 

New Lane Configurations in 2013

MacArthur Boulevard, from East Mill Plain Boulevard to South Lieser Road, received a new top coat of microsurfacing in 2013. Striping of the new lane configurations and installation of the thermoplastic for crosswalks and bicycle was completed after the microsurfacing.

Drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians are reminded to pay close attention to traffic pattern changes and watch out for others, as the new lane configuration becomes more familiar. Key in the striping project were a recent study of traffic conditions and a close look at safety issues, which showed that reducing MacArthur to one vehicle lane in each direction would not impact the level of service and would improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists, alike.

Please note that as new microsurfacing cures, the surface becomes smoother. Often with microsurfacing and slurry sealing, the initial surface is not as smooth as traditional asphalt paving and will even shed small pieces of rock for a few weeks after application. With time, however, the surface gets smoother, and after a winter, it can be difficult to differentiate an asphalt paved surface from one that has been microsurfaced.    

Microsurfacing begins as a coarse liquid application of dense-grade aggregate, asphalt emulsion, water and mineral fillers. The quick-setting emulsion allows traffic to begin using the new surface in a short time, as little as an hour depending upon conditions. The finished sealant forms a thin shell over the street's existing asphalt surface, extending the life of the underlying pavement.

More about this Project 

City efforts to consider all aspects of the next best step for MacArthur Boulevard - its configuration of vehicle lanes, bicycle lanes and parking - have included extensive public engagement and research of various options, expanding the reach of what had been started by a small group on the draft MacArthur Visioning Plan, detailed in a 2010 report.

As part of the most recent MacArthur effort, city staff looked closely at various comprehensive and multi modal transportation plans adopted by Council over the years that would apply to this project. This includes the Transportation System Plan, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan, and the 2011-2030 Comp Plan update.

Lastly, based on feedback and a preliminary proposal discussed with the community in February and March, a more extensive traffic count and speed study was conducted along the corridor this April 2013. Traffic conflicts and collision history were also reviewed. All of those components, ultimately, were used to inform and guide the restriping of MacArthur.

The striping layout includes the following elements:

• MacArthur from Mill Plain Boulevard to Lieser Road - restriped for one vehicle travel lane in each direction.
• Turn lanes at Devine and Andresen intersections - slightly modified to include a vehicle left-turn lane, through lane and right-turn lane.
• The eastbound intersection at Lieser Road - remain similar to how it is now, with current configuration of left-turn and through/right-turn lanes, including retention of two vehicle travel lanes as you approach Lieser.
• New right-turn only lane for entrance of Marshall Elementary School.
• Dedicated bike lane for both east and west directions along entire corridor.
• New paint line along existing median to better define the outer edge of the vehicle lane.
• When space is available, striped buffer zone between travel lane and bike lane.

Vegetation was trimmed along the median for sight distance in advance of microsurfacing, and Andresen has been repaved from MacArthur to Mill Plain, also as part of the 2013 Pavement Management program.

Why the New Lane Configurations?

In March of 2012, the city returned to the community with a proposal to maintain the existing travel lane configuration with two lanes of traffic in each direction and a dedicated bicycle lane in each direction. Unfortunately, this option did not provide for a safe and adequate bike lane in the section from Andresen to Lieser. A shared travel lane for both vehicles and bicycles was proposed.

Based on further research and feedback, a new traffic study was conducted that provided new data. Staff also looked further into past safety issues, possible configuration options, and consistency with various transportation and planning documents previously adopted by Council. The result is the new proposal, listed above under Project Plans for 2013. Based on national and local traffic engineering standards, the reconfigured MacArthur will continue to meet the needs of the current traffic volumes while allowing for full bike lanes in each direction.

Click here to view project memos for details about consistency with planning documents, traffic study, safety concerns and other issues that helped guide and inform the new striping plan.  

Project Description

The current project involves placing a surface treatment, microsurfacing along the entire length of the MacArthur Boulevard corridor in the summer of 2013. The work consists of repairing poor areas of pavement, removing the existing striping, placing the microsurfacing over the top, and restriping the street. Since the street will have a “blank slate” after the micro-surfacing is placed, the City sought ideas and input from local residents  regarding the striping configuration on MacArthur as part of the pavement management project.

Since microsurfacing is a preventive maintenance treatment, only the road surface and striping will be addressed as part of the work. Drainage, sidewalk, ADA, and intersection improvements are not included as part of this project.

To learn more about microsurfacing, visit our Pavement Management pages.

Project Timeline and Outreach Summary

October /November 2012
- Project Web Page updates: www.cityofvancouver.us/MacArthur
- Online Community Survey (comments received through the end of November)
- Postcards to over 700 adjacent residents/businesses
- Email notices to Neighborhood Associations, churches and schools along corridor
- Office of Neighborhoods E-Newsletter notice
- Hand-delivery of informational flyers to 36 businesses along corridor
- Sandwich board signs placed along corridor
- Informational Table at Marshall Elementary Family School Dance, Oct. 12
- Neighborhood Traffic Safety Alliance (NTSA), Oct. 16
- Clark Communities Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Oct. 23
- Community Outreach/Informational Gathering, Oct. 24, Marshall Elementary School
- Community Outreach/Informational Gathering, Nov. 3, River Maiden Coffee
- Vancouver Heights Neighborhood Association, Nov. 29

March/April 2013
- Community Follow-up: 5-7 p.m., Tuesday, March 12, at Marshall Elementary School
- Postcards to over 700 adjacent residents/businesses
- Email notices to Neighborhood Associations, churches and schools along corridor
- Office of Neighborhoods E-Newsletter notice
- Hand-delivery of informational flyers to businesses along corridor
- Sandwich board signs placed along corridor

July/August 2013
- Spring/Summer 2013: Street prepping and patching
- Summer 2013: Microsurfacing and restriping, currently expected to occur between July Fourth and Labor Day, as schedule and weather allows.
- City Council Workshop: June 24, 2013
- Postcards to more than 700 adjacent residents/businesses
- Email notices to Neighborhood Associations, churches and schools along corridor 

Comments/Survey Results
Comments, suggestions and ideas obtained from throughout the community were important in helping guide and inform the city’s plans for the restriping of MacArthur Boulevard. A simple, online survey proved to be a convenient and quick tool for residents to share their thoughts about the corridor and indicate how the current street serves daily, as well as occasional, users. Please note that this online tool was intended to be an easy, informal to gather input and understanding, not a technically accurate survey. There were no additional costs to provide the online questionnaire and the questions in it were not configured so as to produce a final determining ‘vote’ or decision. 

FAQ's

Q: Why did the City of Vancouver’s Public Works Department looking at striping options along MacArthur?
A: MacArthur Boulevard will get a new top coat of microsurfacing in 2013, from East Mill Plain to South Lieser Road, as part of the city’s Pavement Management Program. When completed, new striping will be painted on the surface. The street will be a “blank slate” after the microsurfacing, presenting a fresh opportunity to take a close look at whether to change MacArthur’s striping configuration – which determines vehicle lanes, bicycle lanes and parking – or leave it as is.

Q: Why seek input? What’s wrong with MacArthur as it is now?
A: MacArthur Boulevard, which is classified as a minor arterial, moves many people in many different ways – vehicles, buses, bicyclists and pedestrians – along a fairly wide corridor. It may function just fine for you as it is now. Or perhaps changing the configuration of lanes would help it to function better for you. We think gathering input from the community is important to this process. We’ve heard from some, and want to offer the opportunity to all who travel this corridor to weigh in and possibly provide some new, creative solutions!

Q: Why were you only asking about the striping and lane configurations? Can’t the city do more to MacArthur Boulevard?
A: This is basically a Pavement Management project limited to microsurfacing and paint. Funding for any additional improvements is extremely limited.

Q: There was a “visioning study” done on the corridor several years ago. Why is the city looking at MacArthur again?
A: There are some similarities and some differences, primarily in scope, outreach and funding. The MacArthur Boulevard Corridor Vision Study, completed in 2010, was an effort of the Dubois Park, Evergreen Highlands, Father Blanchet Park, and Vancouver Heights Neighborhood Associations and the City of Vancouver’s Office of Neighborhoods. The bicycling community was also represented in shaping this vision. Participants looked at all of MacArthur Boulevard, from East Mill Plain Boulevard to South Lieser Road and a variety of long-term issues including traffic calming, traffic safety, bicycle and pedestrian access, aesthetics, drainage, lane configurations and intersection improvements. The project, which included a visioning workshop and discussions, resulted in conceptual proposals. The Vision Study was not formally adopted or presented for acceptance by the Council nor was it adopted as part of the action plan for the neighborhoods.  (See the bottom of the webpage to view the final 2010 MacArthur Boulevard Vision Study.)

This current effort is a Pavement Management project. The options here are focused on how the city might best use the striping on this “blank slate” after microsurfacing takes place in summer 2013. Several years have passed since the visioning process. Any potential major reconfiguration of traffic lanes on an arterial merits a broad public discussion. Vancouver Public Works worked to build upon that previous visioning effort and extend the outreach to all area residents, businesses, churches, school staff and parents, bicyclists and commuters in the hopes of gathering as much input as possible to help inform and guide the decisions needed prior to the 2013 Pavement Management program. 

Project Background

In 2010, the MacArthur Boulevard Corridor Vision Study was completed as part of a joint effort between the Dubois Park, Evergreen Highlands, Father Blanchet Park, and Vancouver Heights Neighborhood Associations and the City of Vancouver’s Office of Neighborhoods. The study covered the entire MacArthur Boulevard corridor from East Mill Plain Boulevard to South Lieser Road and examined long term options and issues for the street including traffic safety, bicycle and pedestrian access, aesthetics, drainage, striping configurations, and intersection improvements.

This project was initiated by residents living near MacArthur Blvd who wished to develop a twenty year future-vision for a safe, efficient, accessible, aesthetically appealing and environmentally sustainable multi-modal corridor. During this process, the goal was to create a vision and plan sponsored by the neighborhoods to guide future corridor changes. In 2010, the City coordinated this effort on behalf of the neighborhoods by holding a community visioning workshop, meeting with residents, discussing various corridor ideas and settling on a common vision. However, the plan was not adopted into a neighborhood action plan nor presented to City Council for acceptance at the time. See the bottom of the webpage to view the final 2010 MacArthur Boulevard Vision Study.