By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Rebuild or reroute? Carlton residents talk with ODOT

Rusty Rae / News-Register##
Alissa Loberg, road designer for the Oregon Department of Transportation, addresses a capacity crowd in the Carlton fire hall Wednesday night. About 175 area residents came out to hear about ODOT’s plans to redo Main Street.
Rusty Rae / News-Register## Alissa Loberg, road designer for the Oregon Department of Transportation, addresses a capacity crowd in the Carlton fire hall Wednesday night. About 175 area residents came out to hear about ODOT’s plans to redo Main Street.
Map supplied by ODOT##
A proposed reroute of Highway 47 in Carlton would take northbound traffic farther north on Pine Street, rather than turning to go through downtown. Traffic would turn on Monroe Street instead, then go through a gentle curve to return to the state highway at the north end of town. Southbound traffic would use the same route in reverse.
Map supplied by ODOT## A proposed reroute of Highway 47 in Carlton would take northbound traffic farther north on Pine Street, rather than turning to go through downtown. Traffic would turn on Monroe Street instead, then go through a gentle curve to return to the state highway at the north end of town. Southbound traffic would use the same route in reverse.
Map supplied by ODOT##
ODOT plans to rebuild the sectionof Highway 47 that runs through downtown Carlton unless citizens push for a different route by early April.
Map supplied by ODOT## ODOT plans to rebuild the sectionof Highway 47 that runs through downtown Carlton unless citizens push for a different route by early April.
Rusty Rae / News-Register##
Citizens crowded into the Carlton fire station to speak their minds about proposed road work on Highway 47 in Carlton. Some favor an alternative route that would take trucks north of Main Street; others worry about possibly losing parking downtown.
Rusty Rae / News-Register## Citizens crowded into the Carlton fire station to speak their minds about proposed road work on Highway 47 in Carlton. Some favor an alternative route that would take trucks north of Main Street; others worry about possibly losing parking downtown.

Most of the 175 people who attended a meeting with Oregon Department of Transportation officials in Carlton Wednesday agreed about one thing: They want trucks to stay out of Carlton.

However, ODOT officials said that building a bypass around the city is not in the plans.

Rather, they are committed to rebuilding the three-block stretch of Highway 47 through downtown Carlton by 2023 and improving two 90-degree curves, making it easier for trucks to wind their way through the city.

Or, if Carlton residents make their preferences known right away, the state agency is willing to consider rerouting the state highway so it runs north of Main Street. This would keep trucks out of the narrow downtown area, although they still would pass through Carlton.

The reroute also would require the state and city to trade ownership of the routes — Pine and Monroe would become part of the state highway system, while Main Street would return to city ownership. This would allow the city to shut down the street for events, if desired, ODOT officials pointed out.

They also noted that the rerouting project could be done without shutting down Main Street during the tourist season. The $7.6 million downtown rebuilding project is scheduled to run from about April to September in 2022 and 2023, and business owners worry it will kill commerce.

Twenty-seven residents spoke during the nearly two-hour meeting in the fire hall. Fire engines were moved outside in order to accommodate the standing-room-only crowd.

Some speakers favor the reroute, which would take northbound traffic straight up Pine Street and left on Monroe, then into a sweeping curve back to 47. 

Others said such a realignment would encourage trucks to go too fast through Carlton, even though the speed limit would remain 20 mph, endangering children and other pedestrians.

Business owners along Pine and Monroe said they were worried that turning the streets into a state highway would hurt their business and their ability to load and unload materials.

Ken Wright, whose winery and tasting room are on either side of Pine, said rerouting Highway 47 would “cut Carlton in half” and make it difficult and dangerous to cross from one side of town to the other.

A woman asked the state to install a traffic signal at Pine and Main, the east end of downtown, which now is marked by a blinking light.

An ODOT traffic planner said the intersection probably doesn’t meet criteria for that type of traffic control. She and her colleagues said other types of pedestrian crossing controls would be included in either project, although crosswalks would not necessarily be marked.

Some speakers said they would be happy to have Main Street improved, but fear losing downtown parking. Rebuilding plans call for replacing parking with bike lanes, which Barrel 47 owner Andy Rabung said would result in a loss of more than 50 spaces.

Several said they would rather keep Carlton’s Main Street as it is and see the money spent on building a permanent bypass that would take trucks around, instead of through, the city. Again, John Huestis, leader of the ODOT project, said that is not an option.

Speaker Annette Madrid urged her fellow Carlton residents to support local businesses, no matter how the project is done. 

Huestis said his agency will rebuild the decrepit state highway unless the city pushes for the Pine/Monroe reroute by early April.

The rebuilding project will fix the pavement and underlayment, bringing the two-lane street up to modern standards. It also will improve sidewalks and curb cuts for pedestrian access. At both ends of downtown, it will “soften” the intersections, giving more room for trucks to make the turns.

Rebuilding a state highway requires adding bike lanes, Huestis said, so they are included in the plan instead of on-street parking. However, after previously hearing from Carlton officials and business owners about the potential impact of losing parking, he said his team has applied for an exception.

Still, Huestis warned, he cannot say the request to keep parking over bike lanes will be approved. No similar exceptions have been OKed in other parts of the state.

City Manager Dennis Durham said Carlton officials have been talking about ways to increase parking near downtown. The city needs more parking, he said.

He urged Carlton residents to make their preferences known — rebuilding or rerouting Highway 47 — to city council members, Mayor Brian Rake or city hall. The council will discuss the issue at its next work session, to be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, at the American Legion Hall across from city hall.

For more information, call the city at 503-852-7575.

 

Comments

Mudstump

"Several said they would rather keep Carlton’s Main Street as it is and see the money spent on building a permanent bypass that would take trucks around, instead of through, the city."

I agree with these folks.

BruceA

They Should buy the properties on the south side of Grant street and have the reroute go from Pine street down Grant street and then turn down in front of Carlton Truck shop which would line back up with 47 at the Carlton Corners intersection. This would avoid splitting Carlton in two and have the least impact on parking.

msantone

BruceA's route would allow Carlton to expand to the North as a town. The Grant Street route would not help the residential neighborhood to the south. But the North route won't great for the north neighborhood. Hwy 47 through Carlton has no easy solution.

Kat758

Either way, the wineries should have to pay, the residents would not have this problem if not for the wineries and their visitors.

yamhillbilly2

I guess some folks have such a blinding hate of the wine industry they haven’t noticed the log trucks, metro’s garbage hauling trucks, and a very high percentage of the other large trucks that pass thru Carlton have no connection to the wineries and their visitors. Why not try to stay realistic during this discussion? Or, is your hate all consuming?

BruceA

I agree Yamhillbilly. The wineries are the biggest economic driver in this community and Carlton is so much better with them than without.