Oroville Mercury-Register

Council to consider Skyway expansion

- By Rick Silva rsilva@paradisepo­st.com

While the Paradise Town Council will be dealing with the interim urgency ordinance on Tuesday night, it will also address an old controvers­ial issue in town: The Skyway.

According to the agenda, the town staff is recommendi­ng that Skyway between Pearson Road and Elliott Road be expanded to five lanes — two northbound, two southbound and a center turn lane with parking on the east side of Skyway only.

The two other options for the town council to recommend is four lanes with two northbound and two southbound lanes and parking on both sides of the road; and a three-lane road with one northbound, two southbound lanes, a center turn lane and parking on both sides of the road.

Whatever option the council approves, it will not happen until late 2022 or early 2023.

According to the agenda, the recommenda­tion by the staff is based on the community feedback and technical analysis by a consulting team.

If the council approves the staff recommenda­tion it will mean the removal of all on-street parking along the west side of Skyway and requires future redevelopm­ent of properties fronting Skyway that will need to be based on available offstreet parking provided on each developmen­t site or in public parking areas.

According to the agenda, most of the remaining structures along the skyways west side between Pearson and Elliott currently have on-site parking today. The new project will also remove six pedestrian-serving bulb outs along the west side of the Skyway, which would extend the crossing distance for pedestrian­s trying to cross the road.

The staff believes that pedestrian crossings will continue to use existing flashing beacons, and removing on-street parking along the west

side should increase pedestrian visibility.

However, the staff does say that pedestrian crossing can be negatively impacted by a five-lane configurat­ion. as opposed to the current road constructi­on.

The staff report also points out if the Skyway goes to five lanes, there is the potential for motorists not stopping in both lanes, going the same direction, for a pedestrian crossing the roadway.

Staff also points out that increasing to five lanes on Skyway is likely to increase speeds by drivers, although they say 12-foot wide travel lanes may mitigate those speeds.

The staff also notes that evacuation traffic capacity would increase to allow up to three travel lanes evacuating in either direction through the use of the center turn lane. They add that prior experience indicates community members are comfortabl­e utilizing the center turn lane during traffic evacuation­s.

The staff report also says future growth of traffic volumes beyond pre-fire conditions plus 20% would be accommodat­ed by the fivelane design, eliminatin­g the need to reconsider the corridor configurat­ion for an estimated 20-year horizon at least.

The road was reconfigur­ed in 2014 from four lanes down to two with a turn lane and better parking throughout downtown. That was considered to be from Pearson Road to Elliott Road along the Skyway.

The council will also be asked to direct the public works staff to remove the raised median in front of Town Hall that serves as an existing crosswalk.

They will also be asked to remove a raised median at Pearson Road and Black Olive Drive during a planned payment rehabilita­tion.

The council will be asked to direct staff to discourage vertical elements in future public works projects like bulb out, central islands and splitter islands on emergency access roads.

They will also be asked to coordinate with Butte County Public Works and further evaluate the cost and feasibilit­y to re-open Honey Run Road to twoway traffic as it was before the Camp Fire.

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