Tualatin Library – Our Community’s Gathering Place
Why are our elected officials considering projects which damage our library?
Consistently year after year, residents of Tualatin state that our library is a key civic asset, along with our park system. It is not a stretch to say many citizens believe our library is the “heart” of our community – reaching out to all ages, socio-economic levels, employed and unemployed, and all ethnicities. Last year the library experienced over 360,000 visits and with over 10,000 hours of volunteer time, generously provided.
The library building not only includes the library, but to the east in the same building are City planning and engineering departments. Additionally, the library provides three valuable public meeting spaces of varying sizes which are in constant use.
The City Hall, located to the south on the City-owned parcel, houses the City court and finance department, with City Council meetings also held there. The building is approximately 4,880 square feet, separated into 2 floors. On the parcel, between the City Hall and the library is the “library street”, 50 feet wide offering a crosswalk mid-block.
As part of Nyberg Rivers development, a new street, “A” street, will be built to intersect Lower Boones Ferry Road between the library and the shopping development, providing a northern street connection. There will also need to be constructed a replacement building to house the services currently located in the Council Building. No decision has been made at this time on the location, size or cost of a replacement structure.
Proposed City Hall Relocation: (aka Option A)
A feasibility study ordered by the City produced several options for a replacement building to be constructed on the land adjacent to the Library. The preferred option is depicted above, and proposes a new 2-story building totaling 9,500 square feet- almost doubling the size of the existing City Hall. This building would house the current services in the existing City Hall, plus the administration department. It would not be large enough to move the planning and engineering departments from their present location in the library building nor the City’s Community Services department presently in a building at the Community Park. So the question arises, is the cost to build the new Seneca St extension($1M) and a new City building ($4M) worth the cost and impacts if the new city building is not large enough to accommodate all key city departments? Shouldn’t we plan a City building large enough that encompasses all departments and allows for public meeting space and other needed features?
Tualatin City Library – Impacts of A and Seneca Streets
Why has Council approved these roads which negatively affect our library?
1. Will our library be an island amid a sea of ashpalt?
The Master Plan of Nyberg Rivers and Resolution 5163-13 require two streets to be constructed which impact the library: A Street (51 feet wide) and Seneca Street extension (90 feet wide). In the subsequent Public Facility Decision the parking strips are deleted with the road width reduced to 74 feet, page 35, PFR-14. Some residents stated during the CIO public hearings that our library will be surrounded by four busy streets: Martinazzi, Boones Ferry Rd, A Street, and the Seneca Street extension. Will our library be less approachable for pedestrians and bicyclists? Is this what we want to do to our library when the trend for other libraries is to situate them in a “green area” surrounded by lawns, trees, and community gathering areas allowing library programs to take advantage of the attractive outdoors?
2. There’s not enough parking NOW…
Only 66 usable parking stalls now
The library receives many accolades from Tualatin residents, but the major complaint is lack of parking. On the entire City-owned parcel there are currently 103 spaces, broken into three separate parking lots. The north lot behind the building, currently provides 37 spaces, but is not even accessible for library patrons, and used for City vehicle parking. So the “usable” spaces available for current library and City Hall use are only 66 stalls. These are located in the parking lot in front of the library and the parking lot adjacent to the Council Building.
3. There will be even LESS parking…
Will there only be 35 usable parking stalls?
There may be only 35 stalls truly available and accessible for library visitors. Once A and Seneca streets are constructed, their presence reduce the number of available stalls for our library already limited by inadequate parking.
Parking Stalls for Each Lot
|Assumption:||Based on SRG Proposal for Seneca Street width of about 68 feet|
|Current||Projected||Accessibility by Public|
City vehicle parking
|Moderately difficult and
may be used for City
Stalls possibly available for public parking may only be those in the front lot. The south lot may be difficult to cross Seneca St as it will be 74 feet wide with only 1 crosswalk now planned at the intersection of Martinazzi and Seneca. So use of that lot may become more difficult with few library patrons parking there. Additionally, it may be used by the City and not available to the public at all.
If the north lot is not accessible for visitors and the south lot is off limits for public parking or seen as difficult, then the reality may be that there are only 35 parking stalls available for library use-a significant decrease from the 63 stalls presently available in the front and south lots.
However, City staff indicate there may be 74-84 stalls available depending on site layout and road configurations (email, 12/23/2013).
3. Increased traffic
Does the Seneca St. extension only help Nyberg Rivers shopping center?
One of the major justifications for Seneca Street is an expected sharp increase in the traffic to the Nyberg Rivers shopping center. Some on Council have stated both A and Seneca streets are necessary to ease congestion on other Tualatin roads, and to serve the shopping center by moving traffic more easily in and out. If markedly increased traffic does occur, the impacts to our library will include: 1. increased difficulty getting in and out of the lots, and 2. longer wait times with the required signal at the Martinazzi and Seneca St. intersection. With increased congestion may come additional hazardous incidences for visitors to the library – particularly families, children, and elderly.