City of Vancouver receives state grants for SE 1st Street project

Plans to upgrade Southeast 1st Street, originally constructed as a farm-to-market two-lane road, have been under consideration for decades

VANCOUVER — The city of Vancouver has been awarded a $2 million Urban Arterial Program grant by the state Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) to help fund construction of Southeast 1st Street improvements between Southeast 177th Avenue and 192nd Avenue.

The city’s project will transform SE 1st Street into a complete urban street system with sidewalks, bike facilities, stormwater bio-retention, street lights, and sound walls where required. Photo courtesy of city of Vancouver
The city’s project will transform SE 1st Street into a complete urban street system with sidewalks, bike facilities, stormwater bio-retention, street lights, and sound walls where required. Photo courtesy of city of Vancouver

Meanwhile, a $400,000 TIB grant awarded to the city will help provide a safer route for pedestrians and bicyclists along Devine Road, linking Mill Plain Boulevard to 18th Street. Construction is expected to begin in 2020.

Both state grants were awarded to the city through the state Transportation Improvement Board (TIB).

Plans to upgrade Southeast 1st Street, originally constructed as a farm-to-market two-lane road, have been under consideration for decades. The city’s project will transform this outdated rural roadway into a complete urban street system with sidewalks, bike facilities, stormwater bio-retention, street lights, and sound walls where required. In doing so, the project will enhance safety, reduce congestion, provide a better road surface, foster economic development, and increase connectivity for homeowners, employees and businesses.

The western segment of this corridor project, between 164th Avenue and 177th Avenue, is fully funded as a result of federal grants awarded through the RTC, an earlier state TIB grant, and matching local funds provided by the city’s Street Funding Strategy revenues. Construction of this western segment is currently planned to begin in 2020.

The eastern segment, between 177th Avenue and 192nd Avenue, is currently under design, and right-of-way acquisition is anticipated in 2020. The $2 million TIB grant will support construction of this segment, currently planned to commence in 2021. The city will also be pursuing a federal BUILD grant in 2020, which, if successful, would fully fund the construction of the eastern segment of Southeast 1st Street.

In 2015 after extensive public input, the city adopted the multi-approach Street Funding Strategy to fill a funding gap for improving pavement conditions, providing local matching dollars to obtain grants, and improving safety, mobility and accessibility throughout the community. 

A major revenue component of that Street Funding Strategy has been the $4.8 million raised annually through Transportation Benefit District (TBD) vehicle license fees. Statewide Initiative 976 (I-976), passed by Washington voters in November 2019, removes the ability for local TBDs to implement a vehicle license fee. That is expected to greatly impact the city’s ability to have local funds to leverage and obtain grants in the future. City staff will be working with the City Council to review replacement revenue options for the removed $4.8 million in 2020.

For more information about the Southeast 1st Street Improvement Project, please visit www.cityofvancouver.us/firststreet. Learn more about the city’s Street Funding Strategy and view the 2018 Report to the Community here.

Information provided by city of Vancouver.

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