A plan to enhance two intersections and slow down traffic in the Pearl District near downtown is being reviewed by city officials and likely will be ready for the bid process by this fall, according to the engineer overseeing the project.
Doug Duke of the Jacobs Engineering Group, the firm hired by the city to plan the project, said he hopes to have approval of the plans by the middle of the month, allowing the project to go out to bid. He said demolition and site preparation work could start by winter.
"The way it's looking, by the end of the year, you could see them out there working," he said.
The work in the Pearl District is part of a larger $3.1 million streets improvement package in the area that includes the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of 10th St. and Elgin Ave. The Pearl District portion of the package carries a price tag of $800,000, with the money coming from tax increment finance district funds.
Plans call for the installation of attention-grabbing asphalt overlays bearing a Pearl District logo in crosswalks at 6th St. and Peoria Ave., and 11th St. and Peoria. New bollards, streetlights and stoplights also will be installed. A third, painted crosswalk will be installed at 8th St. and Peoria.
The plan also calls for the creation of traffic-calming measures through the corridor, a move intended to make it safer for motorists turning against traffic near a small hill at 8th and Peoria. Flashing signal lights and new signs will warn motorists to reduce their speed to 25 mph through the zone. Another flashing sign warning drivers to slow down will be installed at 5th St. and Peoria.
Pearl District Association officials hope the improvements attract new businesses to the area. The district has been working on a new pilot program that would serve as an alternative to traditional zoning for the past couple of years, and that program likely will go to city officials for approval later this year.
District residents also are hoping to see progress this year on a planned five-acre storm water detention project just north of Centennial Park that not only would relieve flooding issues in the area but also potentially serve as a magnet for developers. The so-called "West Pond" would be bounded by Madison Ave. on the west, 4th St. on the north, Owasso Ave. on the east and 5th Place on the south. The $9 million project would be heavily landscaped and include a number of amenities such as fountains, overlooks and a pier. The acquisition of property for the project already has begun.
Assuming the street improvements package isn't plagued by any delays, Duke estimated all the work would be complete by end of summer 2011.
"We'll do the first two Peoria intersections first," he said. "We hope to be through with those by the end of spring, then we'll do the roundabout project."
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