The Washington State Department of Transportation is seeking public input to help design a new bike and pedestrian overcrossing at the Northeast 54th Avenue and Northeast Stapleton Road interchange with state Highway 500 in Vancouver. The $5 million project is set to break ground late next year.
The 54th Avenue and Stapleton Road interchange and the nearby Northeast 42nd Avenue and Northeast Falk Road interchange originally functioned as fully signalized intersections until WSDOT removed the traffic lights, closed the freeway median and converted the crossings to “right-in, right-out” interchanges in late 2018.
The two intersections were the only sets of traffic signals in the middle of a six-mile corridor that was otherwise built to freeway standards, and they caused an inordinate number of rear-end collisions because drivers were caught off guard by red lights.
The update eliminated the need for Highway 500 traffic to stop – reducing crashes by about 70 percent, according to WSDOT – but it meant that drivers can no longer turn left onto SR 500 or cross the freeway at either intersection.
Pedestrians and cyclists were also partially cut off. The 42nd and Falk intersection had a preexisting footbridge over the freeway that is still in use, but the 54th and Stapleton intersection no longer has any crossing option for bikes and pedestrians.
The new project is intended to reconnect that intersection by adding a bike and pedestrian overcrossing similar to the one at the 42nd and Falk interchange. The project will also include some peripheral components, like removing the concrete traffic islands where the traffic lights once stood.
WSDOT will collect public input through an online survey available through March 31 at surveymonkey.com/r/SR50042Ave54Ave.
The survey includes questions about how often nearby residents would use the bridge along with questions about location and style preferences.
The project design phase is expected to begin this spring with a construction contract scheduled to go out for bidding in the fall of 2022, and construction starting by the end of that year.