FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
General questions about reconstruction of Pullman's Main Street
What is Project Downtown Pullman?
Project Downtown is a multi-year City-led effort to reshape Downtown Pullman’s streets and public spaces to build community, experiences, and economy. Project Downtown includes projects identified in the Downtown Master Plan and the first phase of the project will establish project priorities.
How will Project Downtown Pullman impact downtown businesses, residences, or properties?
The goal of Project Downtown Pullman is to make long-term improvements to streetscape and public spaces that foster a thriving community and downtown economy. With wider sidewalks, businesses can offer outdoor seating and sidewalk sales without impeding pedestrians. Enhanced public spaces will create opportunities for gatherings, while improved wayfinding signage will help everyone discover downtown’s fantastic amenities.
Any construction project is disruptive to impacted businesses, residents, and community members. The City of Pullman, the Downtown Pullman Association, and the Pullman Chamber of Commerce are committed to working with businesses to mitigate the impact of construction.
Who is involved in Project Downtown Pullman?
The City of Pullman hired Welch Comer Engineers to lead phase one of Project Downtown Pullman. To guide Welch Comer, the City of Pullman appointed a Steering Committee of eight community members who own business or property in downtown Pullman. The Steering Committee also includes representatives from the Downtown Pullman Association and the Pullman City Council.
How can I be involved in Project Downtown Pullman?
Interested community members are invited to sign up at www.projectdowntownpullman.org/contact to receive ongoing communication about Project Downtown Pullman.
Where can I find more information about Project Downtown Pullman?
Information about Project Downtown Pullman, including an extensive booklet providing the benefits and tradeoffs of concept designs, is available online, at www.projectdowntownpullman.org.
How will this project improve accessibility for all on Main Street?
Reconstruction of Main Street will include all new sidewalks, free of trip hazards and inclusive of ADA-compliant pedestrian ramps at all corners. Additional ADA-compliant parking will be introduced, including van-accessible stalls on each block. ADA-compliant diagonal parking stalls will be added on Pine and Kamiaken Streets for easier loading. Extended sidewalk curb bulbs will shorten crosswalk distances, making it easier and safer for mobility-challenged community members to cross streets.
Does reconstruction of Main Street alleviate traffic congestion on Grand Avenue?
Main Street, as well as Grand Avenue, are Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) highways. Both streets function as arterial streets in Pullman’s vehicular transportation network, and the intersection of Grand Avenue and Main Street plays a particularly important role in moving vehicles through Pullman.
WSDOT uses a letter grading system to measure the level of service on its roads, with “A” being the best and “F” an unacceptable level of service rating. In its current configuration, the intersection of Main Street and Grand Avenue functions at a Level of Service D, which is acceptable in a downtown environment. In the planned reconfiguration, the intersection will remain at a Level of Service D.
Traffic modeling suggests that based on Pullman’s growth, the level of service at the Grand and Main intersection will fall to a level F in 5-10 years. The concept design phase explored removing parallel parking on Grand Avenue to introduce an additional lane of traffic in each direction to improve level of service. After extensive feedback from adjacent property and business owners, the final design retains one lane of traffic in each direction, a center turn lane, and parallel parking on both sides of Grand Avenue. The final design enables conversion of the road to two lanes in each direction with simple surface striping modifications should the need arise in the future.
It should be noted that the Grand Avenue project is considered an Add Alternate. Work will only be done on Grand Avenue if bids are favorable and funding is available.
Why can’t we return Main Street to two-way traffic?
This was reviewed extensively, and after careful evaluation, Main Street needs to remain multiple lanes of westbound traffic to accommodate overall traffic volumes and trucks turning north onto Grand Avenue. It is not possible to move trucks onto Paradise Street because the acute angle of the northeast corner of the intersection, where Rancho Viejo Mexican Restaurant is located, is too sharp for truck turning movements.
Why do the existing street trees have to be removed and replaced with new trees?
After careful consideration and consultation from a team of professional landscape architects and arborists, the City Council determined that retention of the existing street trees would be inconsistent with the project’s goals to eliminate trip hazards in sidewalks and create more space for people-centric activities, like sidewalk dining and outdoor retail sales.
The existing trees will be removed and replaced with appropriately sized new trees. The new trees will be set in tree wells and surrounded by a section of floating sidewalk that will enable tree root growth to minimize sidewalk damage.
Why can’t we get trucks off Main Street?
Main Street and Grand Avenue are state highways that play a big part of the regional vehicular transportation network, especially for vehicles moving north and east through Pullman.
The City of Pullman has applied for funding to study alternative truck routes, also known as freight routes.
The best long-term solution is to construct a bypass, which will require significant federal and state funding to complete. At this time, funding for such construction is not available.
What to expect during construction
Pedestrian access to businesses will be maintained
Main Street Closed to Vehicular Traffic
To complete the project most efficiently, the construction plan is to completely close Main Street to vehicular traffic beginning in May after WSU graduation and continuing through the summer of 2024.
Paradise Street Temporary Two-Way Traffic
Paradise Street will be converted into a temporary two-way street during construction.
Temporary Truck Route
A temporary truck route will divert trucks onto Bishop Boulevard rather than through downtown Pullman.
Freight and Merchandise Deliveries
We will work with each section of downtown to coordinate merchandise deliveries, as well as ensure food delivery services like DoorDash have the necessary access to businesses.
Main Street Pedestrian Access to Businesses Maintained
We are committed to maintaining pedestrian access on Main Street to businesses through the construction period. Currently, the draft contract instructs the contractor to limit business door access closures to no more than three days to allow for the new sidewalk in front of a business to be formed, poured, and cured. If the contractor needs more than three days to perform this work, they will be required to provide a temporary ADA-compliant access, typically firm wood ramping, to provide customer access to buildings. The specific timeline of pedestrian access modifications will not be determined until a contractor is hired for the project, likely in February 2024.