Kadlec and Goethals Drive

Last night, the City of Richland held a public hearing during the city council meeting to address a proposal from Kadlec Regional Medical Center.

As part of their campus master plan, Kadlec has proposed that part of the Goethals Drive ROW be vacated. The ROW would be used to expand the hospital’s campus by adding 14 acres east of Goethals Drive to the current 11 acres, though nothing would be built over it as the city would still retain the utility easement. Below is a map of Kadlec’s proposal for the future campus. (Note that this is a screen capture I took with my iPhone during the live broadcast of the meeting, so clarity is a bit of a issue.)

20130507-215108.jpg

One thing that’s important to note is that Kadlec would mitigate the closure of Goethals Drive with a new connector road running between Jadwin Ave and Gilmore Ave. In the original proposal, Kadlec was requesting the ROW of Goethals Drive from 535ft north of Swift Blvd to the intersection of Carondelet Drive. However, that was revised to only go to approximately the southern edge of an acupuncturist located at the corner of Goethals Drive and Gribble Ave after multiple citizens submitted comments addressing impacted access to the office.

During the public hearing, a total of 20 people made comments. For the most part, those in support were affiliated with local businesses/organizations while those opposed were local residents, especially those who live in the north end of the city. Below is a list of quotes and general ideas that were brought up in the comments.

  • Goethals is a way to bypass Hanford-related congestion on main arterials, will no longer be an option.
  • A parking garage should be built next to the Corrado Medical Building.
  • Columbia Basin College and Kadlec have a great partnership, will benefit both.
  • Revisions to streets will create a pedestrian friendly environment.
  • Traffic is a bit of an issue for nearby churches on Stevens Drive, will only be worsened by closure of Goethals Drive.
  • Could impact access for police and fire/paramedics to area.
  • Someone could be injured at neighboring skate park, would add 2 minutes to emergency response time.
  • Will increase the traffic on Stevens Drive in north Richland, which was already impacted by redesign of Jadwin/Stevens/Hwy 240 intersection.
  • Build a pedestrian overpass.
  • Traffic study that concluded closure of Goethals Drive would not cause impact needs to be reviewed further.
  • Stevens Drive needs to become 4 lanes again.
  • Consider the local land owners in this process.
  • Kadlec has a proven record of excellence in patient care, campus expansion will only improve that.
  • Is there a financial impact for the city (i.e. a stoplight at the new street connecting to Jadwin Avenue)?
  • A bad idea that will be irreversible, unlike the Lee Blvd “road diet” that can still be fixed.
  • An underground pedestrian tunnel (“like the one at Silverwood [amusement park]”) should be built.
  • “Hospitals don’t like people to die, but you’re killing the little guy.” (Reference to the impacts on acupuncturist.)
  • Travel on Goethals Drive is faster than Stevens Drive or Jadwin Avenue.
  • Kadlec workforce has increased threefold over the last decade.
  • Traffic study showed that most traffic on this portion of Goethals Drive was for healthcare.
  • May impact patient access at neighboring in-patient counseling center operated by Lourdes (hospital in Pasco).
  • Creates additional recreation opportunities in area.
  • For pedestrian safety, a sidewalk along the west side of the ROW should be retained.
  • If an evacuation of North Richland were needed (i.e. nuclear disaster), this would reduce options for residents.

Of the 20 commenters, 7 were in favor of this proposal, while 9 were firmly against. The other 4, while not coming out in favor of it, only addressed personal concerns with the proposal.

Although the public hearing has been held, the City of Richland is still accepting comments on this for the time being. (A final date was not mentioned during the council meeting.)

For myself, I will go ahead and support this proposal. While I do still have some concerns about the “pedestrian friendliness” of the proposed campus design, I think the design is a good use of the land available and it does not get fully consumed by surface parking like I had originally feared. I think the suggestion for a sidewalk along the ROW is an excellent idea, and it possibly could become a pathway along the Marjorie Sutch Greenway (north of current Kadlec building, highlighted in map above). I highly suspect that even if the City Council does not approve this, Kadlec will still move forward with their expansion plans.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter. Feel free to leave a comment below, or send me a tweet to@ziggzagzac. Thanks for reading!

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