Richland developing streetscape master plan

By Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldMay 3, 2013 

The city of Richland is developing a master plan to guide streetscape improvements, focused on four well-traveled arterial roadways.

The improvements could include things such as trees and vegetation, public art, medians and features to calm traffic, among other elements. The plan will include ideas for funding sources.

It's meant to be a road map -- a guide for long-term enhancements, said Laurel Strand, project manager. "By having a plan in place, then you have direction -- what the community wants. We want a direction for Richland," she said. Strand is Richland's parks and recreation manager.

She said many cities undertake master streetscape plans to provide some cohesion as they grow. Richland's plan will generate specific ideas for four corridors: Columbia Park Trail from Highway 240 to the Kennewick city limit; Leslie Road from Keene Road Trail to the Kennewick city limit; Keene Road from Interstate 182 to Gage Boulevard; and George Washington Way from Swift Avenue to Horn Rapids Road.

Each of the four corridors has its own personality -- George Washington Way, for example, dates to the city's original platting, while Keene Road is much newer -- and Strand said the streetscape ideas will reflect that.

The city council discussed the plan in a workshop session last month, and another workshop is planned toward the end of May.

A full draft should be ready at that time.

The engineering and planning firm Harper Houf Peterson Righellis Inc., which has offices in Washington and Oregon, is working with the city to develop the master plan. The council last fall authorized a $90,000 contract with the firm.

The city's parks and recreation commission also discussed the plan during a recent workshop.

Chairwoman Maria Gutierrez said a commission subcommittee is researching walkability, and streetscape improvements could -- among other things -- enhance pedestrian safety and walkability within the city of 49,000 people.

She encourages public feedback as the master plan process moves forward. "Since it is this early (in the process), the public can have input. That is one of the most exciting things," she said. "If community members have something they think is going to be appealing, welcoming, an enhancement, this is a great time to come forward and offer their suggestions."

To send thoughts to Strand, email lstrand@ci.richland.wa.us.

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