Several major projects are poised to modernize and transform traffic patterns around the Corvallis campus over the next several years. Three of these projects – the Washington Way Improvement Project, the 16th/17th Street Renewal Project and the Benton Place Corridor – have recently achieved major milestones and are leading the way toward meeting the goals outlined in the OSU Transportation Plan, which was finalized in 2018. These projects prioritize multiple forms of transportation with top consideration given to accessibility concerns, pedestrians and bicyclists.
Transforming traffic on Washington Way
After several years of planning, construction on the Washington Way Improvement Project is well underway and will bring significant safety, accessibility and sustainability updates to one of OSU’s most heavily used streets. Washington Way is the only east-west corridor that provides through access for private vehicles on the Corvallis campus.
The challenges associated with the project were daunting: the existing street was located within Union Pacific Railroad’s right-of-way and needed to be moved 10 feet to the north for safety reasons. The sidewalks were narrow and left pedestrians uncomfortably close to vehicle traffic. The street lacked designated bike lanes and needed ADA improvements at railroad crossings.
OSU completed a series of assessments to determine the best solution for Washington Way. The finalized plan outlined a multi-modal design that accommodated ADA access, pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers and the railroad safely. Major improvements include ADA-compliant railroad crossings, wider sidewalks, functional landscaping, improved lighting and redesigned intersections. A notable feature is the two-way cycle track – the first of its kind in Corvallis – that will create a dedicated route for cyclists, fully separated from vehicle traffic.
Initial work on Washington Way began in 2020 and construction is expected to wrap up in 2024.
A redesigned north-south corridor for bicyclists & pedestrians
In March, the Corvallis city council approved OSU’s request to assume ownership of three key streets located within campus boundaries: SW 16th Street, SW 17th Street and SW A Avenue. This will allow OSU to repair a failing steam line located under 17th St. and move forward with plans to improve sidewalks and build a two-way cycle track along 16th St., A Ave. and 17th St.
The steam line replacement is scheduled for summer or early fall of 2023, followed by several other improvements including wider sidewalks, enhanced lighting and a two-way cycle track, which will be a north-south addition to the one currently being constructed along Washington Way. After wrapping up the 16/17th Street Renewal Project, the focus will shift toward redeveloping the Benton Place Corridor to the east of Goss Stadium. Eventually, the university hopes to close Benton Place to private vehicle traffic and extend the two-way cycle track from SW Western Boulevard to SW Jefferson Way. Opening up safer, separated pathways will reduce conflicts between pedestrians and bicyclists, reduce the number of car trips on campus, minimize parking demand and move the university toward carbon neutrality.
The 16th/17th Street Renewal Project is expected to be completed by fall 2023. The Benton Place Corridor expansion is in design and tentatively slated to begin in 2026.