City of Pasco looks to improve safety along 20th avenue

PASCO, Wash. – Pasco city council will discuss major improvements to address issues of traffic and pedestrian safety on 20th avenue Monday night.

"It makes me nervous when I come to work and going home because it's pretty busy here on 20th," said Elena Hernandez of Pasco.

Hernandez works at Kids R Kids, a day care right on 20th Avenue.

"Sometimes I have to wait for five minutes or over here to try to get out of the parking lot," said Hernandez.

She worries she might get in a crash because of oncoming traffic.

It's this reason that the City of Pasco is working to make improvements along 20th from Lewis all the way to Sun Willows.

“The transportation system has really been under quite a bit of stress with all of the growth over the past several years. Pasco is the fastest growing city in the state of Washington per capita and nothing more than the transportation portion of Pasco really feels that," said Dan Ford, the city’s engineer.

Ford said 20th Avenue is a busy corridor because it leads to the college, the airport and the freeways.

To reduce traffic and make it safer for drivers and pedestrians, the city is making major changes.

They'll update traffic lights at six different intersections along 20th and install two new pedestrian crossings.

The whole point is to make it safer.

"From Lewis all the way up to Sun Willows, we've got an excess of 200 accidents and again there's probably a few more that don't even get reported," said Ford.

80 of those crashes were at the intersection of Court and 20th and 35 were at Lewis and 20th.

“With the amount of traffic and the amount of pedestrians, we absolutely want to make it as safe as we possibly can,” added Ford.

There will also be changes near Robert Frost elementary and by the highway ramp.

Those are all things that Elena is looking forward to for a safer commute.

"I'm happy they're going to make an improvement," said Hernandez.

The project will cost about $2 million and it will take the city nearly four months to complete.

The city said they don't expect the project to interfere with traffic.

Monday night is just a workshop, but once this passes through council, officials will talk about setting construction dates.