Gearhart transportation plan vital for grant funding – Local News

R.J. Marx/The Daily Astorian

Carl Springer of DSK Associates addresses the Gearhart Planning Commission.

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GEARHART — The city could be on the road to applying for more than $28 million in grant funds for projects as diverse as bike lanes, trail connections, public transit and tsunami evacuation routes.

The Planning Commission voted 6-1 Thursday night to forward the Gearhart Transportation System plan to the City Council.

If the council adopts the plan, Gearhart would be considered more competitive for grant money to fund “aspirational” projects.

“One of the requirements for most of those grant applications is it has to be in an adopted plan for the city,” Carl Springer, of DKS Associates, said. “Now they can actually check that box, assuming it gets adopted (by City Council). Without it you can still apply, but you’re less competitive.”

Wish list

After the city applied for and won a grant to fund the plan in 2015, the Oregon Department of Transportation selected and hired DKS to prepare the document.

Over the last year and a half, DKS and members of Gearhart’s Transportation System Plan Advisory Committee held a series of public hearings in which residents presented their goal and wish lists. Among them were a safer U.S. Highway 101, regional bike trails and neighborhood connections.

DKS prioritized investments with four tiers, from the $1.2 million likely to be available through existing funding sources to a more than $20 million wish list that exceeds the likely level of city and state funding through 2040.

At the lower figure, the city could provide traffic calming devices, tsunami evacuation route identification, bike parking and wayfinding signage, among other enhancements.

Higher cost “aspirational” projects include sidewalk replacement, road extensions and Highway 101 reconfiguration. Bridge improvements over Neacoxie…

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