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Aurora Multimodal and Interurban Bridge Project

Project Abstract

Community desires to improve the quality of life in the city; promote development; security; stormwater quality; aesthetics.



2007 Global Award for Environmental Excellence: Earning rave reviews from the City of Shoreline and the public, the project garnered formal recognition from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) with its Globe Award, which honors U.S. transportation construction projects that demonstrate environmental excellence and stewardship and serve as role models for other projects.
Earning rave reviews from the City of Shoreline and the public, the project garnered formal recognition from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) with its Globe Award, which honors U.S. transportation construction projects that demonstrate environmental excellence and stewardship and serve as role models for other projects.

-- Excerpt from Aurora Multimodal and Interurban Bridge Project Submission Form --

Overview

The Aurora Multimodal and Interurban Bridges Project is part of the City of Shoreline’s plan to redesign 3 miles of Aurora Avenue North through Shoreline. Shoreline’s section of Highway 99 carries 45,000 vehicles per day and is a major transit and pedestrian route.

CH2M HILL developed a new multimodal corridor design for a 1-mile portion of the urban arterial. Because Shoreline had a heavy emphasis on community participation, CH2M HILL used a Context Sensitive Solutions process to deliver a preferred alternative that would have public support and constructibility. A Context Sensitive Solutions design approach also ensured the coordination with numerous stakeholder groups, as well as environmental compliance.

The project included intersection capacity improvements, transit lanes, two new pedestrian/bicycle bridges, sidewalks, access management treatments, utility undergrounding, landscaping, illumination, and stormwater management features. The first mile of Aurora Avenue was opened in a ribbon cutting ceremony in June 2007.

CSS Qualities: Process


The Aurora Avenue North Multimodal Corridor Project involved the City of Shoreline’s plan to redesign and redevelop the three miles of Aurora Avenue North (State Route 99) that run through Shoreline. Shoreline’s section of Highway 99 carries about 45,000 vehicles per day and is a major transit route and pedestrian corridor.

The goal of the plan was to improve pedestrian and vehicle safety, pedestrian and disabled access, vehicular capacity, traffic flow, transit speed and reliability, nighttime visibility and safety, stormwater quality, economic investment potential, and streetscape amenities.

CH2M HILL was selected by the City of Shoreline to develop a new multimodal corridor design for a 3-mile stretch of the urban arterial. Because Shoreline had a heavy emphasis on community participation in the planning and design development, CH2M HILL used a Context Sensitive Solutions process to more efficiently and effectively deliver a preferred alternative that had public support and constructibility. A context-sensitive design approach also ensured the coordination with, and cooperation of the numerous community groups involved in the project, as well as compliance with the many environmental jurisdictions involved in the project.

Working with various project stakeholders and public agencies, including a Citizen Advisory Task Force made up of representatives from the business community, neighborhoods and transit users, CH2M HILL used Context Sensitive Solutions to reach consensus on a preferred design concept that was unanimously endorsed by the Shoreline City Council. The recommendation included a set of implementation principles called the “32 Points” to ensure that the concerns of the community and the vision of the City Council were fully addressed during design and construction.

The 32 Points included provisions for the following:

  • Maximum numbers and widths of lanes (seven, including turning lanes), sidewalk widths, median widths, and locations of pedestrian crossings
  • Use of landscaping/colored pavement in sidewalk areas, as well as brick paving to soften the streetscape and strengthen the area’s suburban identity
  • Alignment of lanes and sidewalks to minimize impacts and maximize existing infrastructure
  • Use of regional-appropriate and drought-tolerant landscaping
  • A unified aesthetic theme in wall panels, light fixtures, signage, signature gateway designs, pavement patterns, colored pavement, landscaping, banners, and other street accessories
  • Use of local arts council and artists to solicit and provide art along the corridor
  • Connections to the area’s Interurban Trail
  • Stormwater management, traffic signal control, illumination, and utility line improvements
  • Right-of-way policies that retain or relocate existing businesses
  • Redesign of access points, driveways, and business parking lots, including clustered/shared parking lots to minimize land use needs
  • Partnerships with transit agencies, Washington Department of Transportation, and King County/Metro to provide increased service and capital/funding investments
  • Funding possibilities to assist and encourage businesses to improve their facades as the overall look of the corridor is improved

 

CSS Qualities: Outcome


Several of the “32 Points” developed as part of the project involved aesthetic and community values for the new corridor. Many details incorporated into the corridor reflected the City’s 1% for the Arts Provision. These included undergrounding of overhead utility distribution utilities; electrical outlets on light poles to allow for stringed lights and other décor for holidays and special occasions; scored and colored pavement for sidewalks; artwork on the bus stop crowns which celebrate the lifecycle of water and feature inlaid glass accents; the overall shape of overhead bridges which resemble interurban street cars and include changing colors of lights on the bridge end panels; and concrete artwork on the bridge ramps which were created by a local artist and continue the water theme with molded net floats, fish, star fish, and rock shapes.

The Aurora Avenue North Multimodal Corridor project includes construction of the Interurban Trail, a 3-mile non-motorized transportation system developed along the former Interurban Rail Line. Users of the Interurban Trail will be able to walk or bike from one end of Shoreline to the other without the fear of motorized traffic. The Trail will link neighborhoods, businesses, and parks, forming a connection through the whole community. Pedestrian bridges over the Aurora Avenue corridor are included, and feature similar aesthetic features of the corridor, as well as attractive landscaping.

The Interurban Trail’s close proximity to Aurora Avenue and the economic core of Shoreline will provide access to nearby shopping, services and employment, plus access to transit centers at Aurora Village and the Shoreline Park and Ride. The trail project, when completed, will also include rest stops, trailhead, interpretive historical and natural features, and directional signs. Other community benefits include:

  • Access management treatments to greatly reduce the incidence of traffic crashes. Previous accident rates, before the corridor redesign, were 8 accidents per million vehicle miles; this rate is anticipated to be reduced by 30 to 50 percent with the corridor improvements.
  • The Interurban Trail provides a safe amenity for walking and biking, and is the new focal point for this City. The Trail bridge over Aurora Avenue is now a community landmark.
  • Improved and landscaped sidewalks along the corridor will enable residents to walk to local shops and to access transit services.
  • The project has been a catalyst for redevelopment along the corridor. Substantial new economic investment in the City of shoreline has occurred in anticipation of this project and more are in the development stage.

 

The project surpassed the stormwater requirements of the Washington State Department of Ecology's 2001 Stormwater Management Manual for Western Washington, as well as King County's Surface Water Design Manual. The most conservative criteria from the two manuals were used. CH2M HILL also greatly reduced the net impervious surfaces for the project area by adding landscaped buffers, medians, and other planted areas. The design team also incorporated several types of stormwater treatment to improve water quality. The project met regulatory requirements to implement access management measures. A raised median was incorporated to help reduce traffic conflict points. Also, the number of driveways along the corridor were reduced and consolidated. CH2M HILL reduced the number of crossing conflict points at uncontrolled locations from 800 to only 60, and reduced the number of merge/diverge conflict points at uncontrolled locations from 1,000 to only 400.

Utilizes Innovative and/or Cost-Effective Mitigation Techniques
Construction of the first mile of the Aurora Avenue North Multimodal Corridor began in the summer of 2005 and included the Interurban Trail Pedestrian Bridges project. By combining these two major capital projects into one integrated construction effort, CH2M HILL helped the City of Shoreline reduce costs and impacts to the community. As part of the project, many stakeholders and regional transit agencies wanted to implement Bus Rapid Transit in this corridor. Property owners were concerned about encroachment into their sites and did not value transit. To alleviate concerns, CH2M HILL developed a new concept for the State of Washington, called "Business Access and Transit Lanes;” this concept allows auxiliary right-turn access into/out of properties and side streets, and also provides a priority lane for transit. Transit vehicles were provided in-line stops at bus zones, and only transit vehicles are permitted to cross straight through intersections. With this project, this new innovation is now being applied throughout the state, and has become a new element in the Washington State Department of Transportation Design Manual.

Other cost-effective mitigation measures included the following:

  • State design guidelines required implementation of center raised medians. Property owners and tenants were concerned that reduced access would impact their businesses. CH2M HILL developed mid-block left/U-turn bays at strategic locations to mitigate these concerns.
  • The proposed cross-section for the improved corridor would have created significant encroachment on several properties and buildings. At five adjacent properties, the team provided allowances which reduced the sidewalks to minimum, interim widths of 7 feet to eliminate significant impacts. At a future time when these properties redevelop, they will build out the full sidewalks and landscaping.
  • Pedestrian-friendly driveway aprons were first developed for this project. To enhance pedestrian access along sidewalks, especially for the physically and visually challenged, CH2M HILL developed and tested a short apron design which incorporates the apron within the first 4.5 feet, so that the 7-foot sidewalk has a flat profile.

 


Further Reading:
PDF Icon    Aurora Multimodal and Interurban Bridge Project Submission Form

PDF Icon    Aurora Multimodal and Interurban Bridge Project ARTBA Award


Earning rave reviews from the City of Shoreline and the public, the project garnered formal recognition from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) with its Globe Award, which honors U.S. transportation construction projects that demonstrate environmental excellence and stewardship and serve as role models for other projects.     
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