With safety and the number of crashes being a major concern on SR 500 in Vancouver, the Washington State Department of Transportation took input on three concepts to improve the corridor.
About 100 people signed up to meet with WSDOT at an open house at Roosevelt Elementary School Thursday evening.
In five years they have seen nearly 400 crashes, about one every four days, according to a WSDOT spokesperson.
The first concept, called no access, would remove existing signals. WSDOT said to get on or across SR 500 drivers would use St. Johns or Northeast Andresen Road.
Pedestrians and cyclists would cross SR 500 at Northeast 42nd Avenue and Northeast 54th Avenue. Transportation officials said this concept would cut crashes by 90 percent.
The second concept, called right in, would remove existing signals and add merge lanes.
It would only permit right turns at both locations to get across and SR 500 drivers would U-turn at St. John's or Northeast Andresen Road or take local streets.
The final concept, the restricted crossing U-turn, would incorporate U-turn signals to generate a better flow of traffic.
People told FOX 12 they were concerned about the number of crashes and how changes might impact neighborhood side streets.
“I've been in one of those wrecks on the freeway and it's pretty bad,” Vancouver resident Stephen Ham said. “My sister took a toolbox to the back of the head and it bent my toolbox so they're pretty vicious crashes. It breaks all the bolts in the seats, people are lucky to walk away from those ones where you got almost no speed and them something's hitting them out of nowhere.”
“I want to weigh the risk of people traveling 500 with the convenience factor for us having access to 500 plus look at any potential risks that occurs in our neighborhood by shifting the traffic to our residential streets,” Clark County resident David Benedicktus said.
WSDOT will likely decide on one of these concepts this summer. Funding for the project would cost between $3 million and $6 million dollars and at this point, it's unclear where that money would come from once there is a decision.
WSDOT is looking for feedback on the concepts being considered. Anyone who would like to fill out the survey can visit: http://sr500safety.infocommunity.org/en/
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