Oregon,  Quality of Life Benefits of Transportation,  Safety

Project overcomes challenges

The city of Rainier has a lot to celebrate following the recent completion of its A Street Rail Safety Project.  The project solved a major safety issue, improved traffic mobility and added street beautification.

“It is really going to revitalize our downtown area and make it one of the nicer downtown areas around,” Mayor Jerry Cole told the local paper.

 The A Street Rail Safety Project had many issues that stood out:

  • It was funded from multiple sources.
  • It involved three contracts and multiple contractors.
  • A railroad was a key partner.
  • The project reduced parking.
  • Conversion to one-way streets on each side of the rail line.
  • Maintaining pedestrian access to businesses was essential. 

Then, if that isn’t complex enough, add in the COVID-19 health requirements during construction.

All that considered, this project was a huge success making an eight-block section of downtown Rainier where an active Portland and Western rail line bisects the city’s main street (A Street) much safer. A Street runs parallel to busy U.S. 30 and is one of the city’s most active roads.

Rail safety was always a concern in Rainier. The Connect Oregon V program awarded $3 million to the city of Rainier to address the rail safety issue. While the operator of the rail line, Portland Western Railroad, was on board to help address the safety issues (contributing $750,000), local leaders saw an opportunity to also include mobility enhancements and address beautification and livability issues within downtown Rainier.

Funding for $11.1 million project came from 10 different sources including the Connect Oregon grant, the railroad, and $2 million from the ODOT Rail Division.

Rainier now has a much safer and modern multi-modal downtown, a rebuilt roadway, and aesthetic streetscape improvements that support the economic development of the city.

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