Photo by Ken Park
Cindy Marbut and Cheyenne Willey were sworn into their respective positions in the Bingen City Hall by Mayor Betty Barnes. Marbut is the city's new administrator/treasurer and Willey is deputy clerk.
As of Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Lots of changes will be coming to Bingen in the next 5 to 10 years, mainly in the realm of traffic.
During its Jan 16. Meeting, the Bingen City Council was given a presentation by Dale Robins of the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council (SWRTC). Robins presented Bingen council a summary of the study conducted by SWRT, assessing traffic conditions in Bingen and suggesting improvements that will be needed as the population in the area grows.
Beginning in February of 2016, the SWRTC assessed traffic conditions from where State Route 141A meets SR14 to just past Maple Street on the east end of Bingen. This study included highly trafficked intersections; for example, the Hood River/White Salmon Bridge and Oak Street in Bingen.
They were able to conduct this study by using Bluetooth technology over the course of three weeks.
They also conducted a stakeholder survey in April of 2017.
“Eight interviews were conducted with 10 participants who rely on SR-14 within the Bingen/White Salmon circulation study area to understand key transportation and economic development interests as well as critical pathways for emergency response. Interview questions focused on deficiencies in the local transportation system and ideas to address deficiencies. All interviews were conducted in person at locations in Bingen or White Salmon on April 5 and April 6, 2017. Interview participants included Underwood Fruit, Mountain Logging / DJ’s Repair and Rental, Dickey Farms, Rapid Ready Mix / Riley Materials, Bridge Mart, Bingen-White Salmon Police Department, Insitu and a community member (individual). The interview responses mainly focused on identifying transportation challenges and possible solutions, identifying critical pathways for emergency responders, congestion issues and safety issues on SR-14,” according to a lengthy document sent to all Bingen City Council members by the SWRTC.
After conducting the survey, the SWRTC found the following to be the most common answers:
Many described traffic as “constant” on SR-14 with increasingly greater congestion compared to the past.
Too many heavy trucks on SR-14 that should be on I-84. Improvements may be needed in town to enhance flow. Many businesses rely on SR-14 for truck deliveries.
Congestion is affecting truck flows and shipments as well as worker commute times.
SR-14 turn lanes would help trucks access businesses.
Safety is an issue for vehicles trying to turn onto SR-14 and pedestrians crossing SR-14 during heavy traffic periods
In his presentation, Robins noted that currently, the most significant traffic issue in the area, are delays getting on and off the bridge. It has been recommended by SWRTC that a ‘Split Phase” light signal is put in.
“Split phasing is a signal design that gives a green phase for all vehicle movements of one direction (e.g., northbound through, right, and left) followed by a phase for all movements of the opposite direction (e.g., southbound through, right, and left),” according to apsguide.org.
This would cost less than $25,000 but because it is on a state highway would need approval and backing from Washington Department of Transportation.
“Overall for right now, Bingen has decent traffic flow. Very few collisions, lots of parking and can handle the increased traffic flow in the summer. In 20 years, however, Bingen is going to have a big problem,” said Robins.
The trouble for Bingen right now is funding for these traffic improvements. However, some of them will be solved with the construction of the Marina access, known as Concept 14.
There are grants available through the state that provide funding for traffic safety initiatives but there would need to be conversations with the White Salmon City Council as well as Klickitat County and WSDOT.
The Bingen-White Salmon Police Department has moved into its new office on Jewett in White Salmon according to Police Chief Mike Hepner.
Members of the Skyline Hospital Board asked the Bingen City Council for a letter of support for the Hospital’s Emergency Department Expansion. The council in a quorum agreed to write a public letter of support for the project.