Northwest Despain widening is back on the agenda

By on Thursday, March 16th, 2023 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

PENDLETON – The Pendleton City Council will discuss three options available for Northwest Despain Avenue at its first meeting in April. The original plan was to repave it to 36 feet, allowing for parking on the north side of the street.

Residents and business owners in the area protested the widening. They are asking that the street be rebuilt but retain the same width of 30 feet. That is now one of three options that could be selected. If it’s the option the council chooses to take, Public Works Director Bob Patterson says it will mean the project can’t be started until next year.

“We didn’t survey the existing curb line and curb lines are the basis of design,” he said. “We’d have to re-survey and re-start.”

Patterson said choosing to keep the width unchanged will not address safety issues that he says are addressed in two other possible options. While it would add ADA accessible curb ramps and storm drainage systems, it would not address the bulb-out curbs that are considered important to ensure the safety of pedestrians crossing the street.

Option 1 is repaving the street to 32 feet wide. That would enable the city to add ADA accessible curb ramps and bulb-out curbs as well as additional storm drainage systems. This option expands the lanes of travel to 12 feet in either direction. The second option, widening it by six feet, is the one that was scheduled to begin this spring. The third option is to leave the width unchanged but repair the road.

The Despain project had been scheduled to begin this spring but is now delayed to tentatively start in spring 2024.

Graphic is the plan the city had planned to begin this spring until residents objected.