Fourth Plain Blvd and Fort Vancouver Way Safety and Mobility
The Fourth Plain Boulevard and Fort Vancouver Way Safety and Mobility Project is split into two project phases. Phase 1 is underway.
Phase 1: West Corridor (2023) The first phase of the repaving, restriping, and safety upgrades will be on Fourth Plain Blvd from F Street to Fort Vancouver Way, and Fort Vancouver Way from Fourth Plain Blvd to Mill Plain Boulevard. Paving, striping and facility updates are happening in the Summer and Fall of 2023.
Phase 2: East Corridor (2024) The second phase of the repaving, restriping, and safety upgrades will be on the road segment of Fourth Plain Blvd between Fort Vancouver Way and Andresen Road. This segment is planned to be repaved in 2024.
What is the project about?
The Fourth Plain and Fort Vancouver Way Safety and Mobility Project is studying how to improve safety, mobility, and comfort for people on Fourth Plain Blvd (from F St to Andresen Rd) and Fort Vancouver Way (from Mill Plain Boulevard to Fourth Plain Blvd). These roads have a history of safety problems and are not comfortable for anyone, including people walking, biking, using a mobility device, or riding the bus. Over 300 crashes occurred on Fourth Plain Blvd between 2018 and 2020 alone, making it the most unsafe corridor in the entire City. The design options being considered can be done without widening the existing roadway by re-purposing a traffic lane and could be constructed in 2023 and 2024 as part of already planned paving projects.
This project is part of the Complete Streets program – a citywide initiative to increase safety and mobility for all community members and all the ways we travel.
How has the community been involved?
The Fourth Plain and Fort Vancouver Way communities are at the center of the project. Community engagement for this project was scheduled to happen in two major milestones:
In Spring 2022, we began reaching out to community members to gather feedback on transportation needs and priorities along these streets.
What we heard from community members:
- A lack of safe crossings across Fourth Plain Blvd.
- High vehicle speeds.
- Unsafe conditions for people walking and riding bikes along these streets.
In Fall 2022 we asked community members to provide feedback on draft improvement concepts for Fourth Plain Blvd and Fort Vancouver Way. We sought specific feedback on potential options for updating the roadway to make it safer for people walking, bicycling, and using ADA mobility devices (like wheelchairs and walkers) along these streets.
What we heard from community members in Milestone 2:
- Residents and business owners expressed support for repurposing a traffic lane to improve bus reliability and bicycle access.
- Community members that walk, bike, or use a mobility device on Fourth Plain Blvd, prioritized increasing physical space between cars and people walking, biking, or using a mobility device; improving pavement/repairing potholes; and slowing vehicle traffic.
The City is considering improvements to make Fourth Plain Blvd and Fort Vancouver Way safer for all travelers regardless of how they travel including:
Repaving and Pothole Repair
Fourth Plain Blvd and Fort Vancouver Way will be repaved in 2023 and 2024 as part of the City’s existing paving program. Repairing and repaving the street will make it safer and more comfortable to drive, bike, and ride the bus along the corridor.
The City is considering repurposing a vehicle travel lane (also called a “lane reconfiguration”) to install new or buffered bike lanes and/or bus and right turn only lanes along the corridor.
Traffic analysis shows that repurposing a travel lane would result in similar vehicle travel times as today due to improved bus, bike, and pedestrian operations and rerouting of some through traffic onto routes like SR 500. Lane reconfigurations have been implemented in many communities across the northwest and have proven benefits, including:
- Safety improvements: lane reconfigurations in the Pacific Northwest have generally resulted in a 20% – 50% reduction in crashes, reduced vehicle speeds, and reductions in aggressive driving.
- Increases in business revenue: a lane reconfiguration project in Spokane resulted in 10% increase in sales tax revenue.
- Creating a more comfortable environment for people walking and biking: A lane reconfiguration on 125th Street in Seattle, a resulted in 100%+ increase in people walking and biking after implementation.
The City is exploring ways to make it safer to cross Fourth Plain Blvd and Fort Vancouver Way. Improvements could include repairing and restriping existing crossings. The City also has a separate project to design two new crosswalks that will be installed in the future.
Improved bike lanes
The existing striped bike lanes on these streets are inconsistent and do not provide physical separation from moving traffic. The City is developing design options for filling in these existing gaps and exploring treatments like buffered bike lanes to provide greater physical separation between bikes and traffic. Buffered bike lanes also increase pedestrian safety by creating more distance between existing sidewalks and vehicle traffic.
Bus and right turn only lanes
The Vine currently operates in mixed traffic with cars, sometimes slowing down both the bus and drivers. Bus and right turn only lanes (also known as “Business Access and Transit (BAT)” lanes) create dedicated space for buses and right-turning vehicles only, improving bus reliability and increasing safety for all users. BAT lanes improve pedestrian safety by creating more distance between the existing sidewalks and vehicle traffic.
Repaving and corridor improvements to Fourth Plain Blvd and Fort Vancouver Way are planned for two separate construction phases:
Phase 1: West Corridor (2023) The first phase of the repaving, restriping, and safety upgrades will be on the road segments of Fourth Plain Blvd (F Street to Fort Vancouver Way) and Fort Vancouver Way (Fourth Plain Blvd to Mill Plain Blvd). These segments are planned to be repaved in 2023.
Phase 2: East Corridor (2024) The second phase of the repaving, restriping, and safety upgrades will be on the road segment of Fourth Plain Blvd between Fort Vancouver Way and Andresen Road. This segment is planned to be repaved in 2024