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Despite lack of bike improvements, council approves transportation plan

Resident, council members point out plans deficiencies

PASCO — Despite the lack of bicycle and pedestrian improvements requested by the City Council, council members unanimously approved a six-year transportation improvement plan during a meeting Tuesday, June 20.

City Interim Public Works Director Jacob Gonzalez reported on the plan, which prioritizes transportation needs, before the opening of a public hearing.

Resident John Scheline used the public hearing to voice concerns about the plan's lack of “needed improvements on Oregon and A Street.”

He asked the council to re-evaluate and “actually go through the process with the city.”

He was the only speaker to address the council, but not the only one calling the plan deficient.

Following public comments, Mayor Pro Tempore Craig Maloney expressed concern over the lack of bicycle and pedestrian connections from downtown to the river.

Those improvements were previously discussed for inclusion, he said.

“Our feedback (as council members) is, I think, critical” he said. “These plans are the city’s way to setting priorities.”

Maloney said he wants to see the council's bicycle suggestions incorporated into the plan and to be sure “our priorities for transportation are reflected in our planning as the City Council.”

Maloney also addressed the comment from Sheline, asking whether it will be addressed in the future.

Gonzalez assured the council that the plan is only guide that can be adjusted, and “further refinement can be considered and accommodated.”

Councilman Irving Brown also expressed concern over the lack of plan changes, and asked whether there should be any action without them.

Gonzalez once again said the plan is a tool to identify areas in need for improvement.

He said needed projects would “begin to identify themselves."

Councilwoman Zahra Roach also commented on the importance of including bike and pedestrian access, noting she had been on the Planning Commission

“We have adopted a bicycle plan and it has never really been embraced,” she said.

The lack of changes and the needed bike and pedestrian access “is a priority for me,” she said.

“I think that people might need some education on what is and isn’t allowed,” Roach said, speaking about the types of vehicles allowed on bike and pedestrian trails.

Maloney moved to approve the plan despite his “frustrations."

The council unanimously agreed to the plan.

In other business, the council continued discussion of vacation of a right-of-way along East A Street.

Snake River Agriculture has requested the vacation of a portion of East A Street and South Oregon Avenue.

Following a public hearing on the request, the issue was postponed until July 17.

 

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