Framework plan proceeds after two-way flap fizzles
Hillsboros city planners deserve an award for patience.
Late last month, the city council nixed the six-year-old plan to convert a section of downtowns streets from a one-way grid to a two-way grid unequivocally closing a controversial chapter in city history.
But rather than a final answer to the ongoing question of whats best for downtown, the repealing of that ordinance only prompted more questions, such as: whats next?
City councilors and members of the citys planning and economic development departments determined at a recent work session that many of the plans set into motion based on a two-way grid wouldnt need to be scrapped, reevaluated or even reworked.
In short, the citys Downtown Framework Plan would go forward without any interruptions, save for winter.
According city spokesman Patrick Preston, the final conversion decision will mostly affect sign placement on Main Street because vehicle traffic will not be moving from both directions, as was previously anticipated.
And, the addition of ADA parking stalls will continue, as well as the strategic relocation of loading zones to improve access, he said.
But the road striping needed in order to relocate loading zones to the end of each downtown block and to add accessible parking stalls as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act will have to wait until after the rainy season has passed.
In the meantime, city public works staff will make sure plans dont need to be modified, said city Transportation Program Manager Tina Bailey.
The big takeaway from the work session, said Hillsboro Pharmacy and Fountain owner Doug Johnson, was how the city showed its commitment to making downtown better.
Pulling the plug on two-way streets didnt pull the plug on their commitment to downtown, Johnson said.
To reinforce that opinion, city Economic Development Project Manager Karla Antonini discussed the citys plans for the new Downtown Storefront Improvement Grant Program.
Similar to Metros Storefront Improvement Program, the citys plan will also match remodeling costs dollar for dollar up to $40,000. But unlike Metros program, the city will have more flexibility with which contractors, architects and services can be used.
Previously, only Hill Florist and Lets Play took full advantage of Metros program.
Antonini and Hillsboro Downtown Partnership (HDP) executive director Saira Siddiqui hope to see more business owners use the citys new program.
We work to make downtown pop, Antonini said. But for downtown proprietors to get involved, they have to send in letters of interest, she added.
And to receive all the latest downtown business updates, newsletters and promotions, text HDP to 42828.