A sidewalk and repaving project to improve safety and accessibility is part of pending Birchwood neighborhood enhancements.
The street project, scheduled to begin construction on Monday, Aug. 28, will improve pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle safety along West Maplewood Avenue between Northwest and Alderwood avenues. In addition to resurfacing, the project will add curb, gutter and sidewalks to the east side of the street, add bicycle lanes in both directions, and improve street lighting and accessibility by bringing curbing and intersections up to current standards required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“Improving access with ADA-compliant curbs will benefit all in the neighborhood,” said April Barker, City Council representative for the City's First Ward, which includes W. Maplewood. “It provides a safe crossing point for those with strollers and kids on bikes as well those with mobility challenges.”
The W. Maplewood corridor has been identified as a high-priority multimodal connection by the Birchwood Neighborhood Plan, as well as the City of Bellingham's Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plans. The corridor serves children walking to nearby Birchwood Elementary and Shuksan Middle schools. The construction project, which is expected to last about six months, is partially funded by an $895,000 federal Safe Routes to School grant as well as the voter-approved Transportation Benefit District #1.
This street project includes “1% for the Arts” with the goal of adding aesthetic interest to the W. Maplewood corridor by incorporating artwork that celebrates and promotes the neighborhood. Jennifer Kuhns submitted the winning proposal – to create mosaic artwork with neighborhood participation – which, she noted in her application letter, “generates a sense of empowerment and inclusion [and] is more likely to be protected and cherished.”
Mosaic mandalas will be installed next spring on W. Maplewood locations marking the project area. The 3' sidewalk inlays will depict plant and wildlife native to the area. In addition, three street light posts will be wrapped at the base with mosaic “flower faces” created by children from the neighborhood earlier this summer.
For more information on the street construction project, contact Project Engineer Steve Day at (360) 778-7944 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The City of Bellingham's Transportation Improvement Plan, required by State law, includes all pending street projects as designated by the City's Comprehensive Plan (section on Transportation) and is intended to ensure City streets are safe, maintained and accessible.