City officials recognize that the current improvements on Railroad Avenue are likely the most dramatic revisions that have happened on that street in several decades. In an effort to increase motorist’s awareness of the current improvements, the Public Works Department was tasked with researching creative ways to increase safety and reduce long-term costs associated with the ongoing maintenance of the street. In response, members of the Department’s Streets Team brought forward the idea to use raised traffic markers and corresponding reflectors to designate the turn pockets in the new center medians, similar to those used in various cities throughout Washington. Through consultation with the City’s engineering staff and several comparison city administrators, Shelton City officials decided this was the safest, most cost effective and aesthetically pleasing option moving forward.
One of the key factors in the decision to utilize traffic markers on Railroad Avenue was the desire to provide motorists with a tactile warning when approaching the new intersections. In addition to the red medians separating the two lanes of traffic lanes, the raised traffic markers provide a creative solution for highlighting the recent improvements.
Another added benefit of the traffic markers is the long-term cost savings. While the traffic markers are initially more expensive than simply painting the turn pockets, the long-term savings is substantial. Currently, the City pays to restripe the traffic lines on an annual basis. It is anticipated that after three years the City will be money ahead by selecting a more permanent solution.
City officials also considered the potential impact of raised traffic markers on special events that take place on Railroad Avenue. After several conversations with city administrators in Bellevue, Kent, and Tumwater, it became clear that traffic markers have no effect on the ability to host special events on the roadway, including those with pedestrian traffic in the street.
The City will continue to release project updates and closure notifications as work continues. It is anticipated that the road diet expansion project will be completed by the end of the week.