CCAR The Voice of Clark County Real Estate: Infrastructure Investments

Posted August 24, 2019 in Special Features

Rian Davis, Clark County WA real estate agent

It is no secret that Clark County is experiencing major growth in virtually every corner of the county, and developing it’s own unique identity apart from just being a piece of the Portland-Metro area. New homes and businesses have developed in recent years, as well as catalytic community projects like the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex, Vancouver’s Waterfront, and the growth and investment at the Port of Camas-Washougal. A key component to all the change has been investment in infrastructure, and transportation specifically.

Investing in road systems can have a wide range of positive impacts. First and foremost, maintenance and safety upgrades have immediate impacts for residents and businesses alike. In areas of growth, improving intersections, widening existing corridors, and implementing features that allow the roads to be safely used by mass transit, pedestrians, and bicyclists can have long-lasting effects on the surrounding neighborhoods. These improvements can lead to the development of new neighborhoods, attract new businesses and employers, and allow easier access to the beautiful natural resources that are spread throughout the county.

In recent years, Clark County has pursued some major infrastructure projects in order to improve mobility, safety, and accommodate growth. The expansion and improvements on Highway 14 in Camas and Washougal have improved traffic flows and assisted in the continued growth of those communities. Heading westward, we have seen the birth of a new major corridor in Clark County- 192nd Ave, which features homes, grocery stores, restaurants, and a variety of retail and service establishments that create their own eco-system. There have been continued changes to major roads heading north towards Battle Ground, turn lane and stop light changes on SR 500, and a new overpass in Salmon Creek that creates easier access to businesses and Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital.

Perhaps the two largest infrastructure investments are still works in progress for Clark County- the implementation of Bus Rapid Transit and the replacement of the I-5 Bridge. Completed in January of 2017, C-Tran’s first implementation of Bus Rapid Transit, known as The Vine, is intended to provide quick in-and-out service between Vancouver Mall and downtown Vancouver utilizing the Fourth Plain corridor. While there were obvious investments in new busses, there were also investments in the bus stops that allow the busses to pull in and out of the stops without holding up vehicle traffic. In the two-plus years since rolling out, it has grown in ridership with another route of The Vine is in the works to serve the Mill Plain corridor.

That leaves the I-5 Bridge, certainly the largest infrastructure investment this generation will likely see in Clark County. While there is still discussion about creating new corridors and crossings, the replacement of the I-5 bridge recognizes the growth of the region and the changing demands of transportation over the last 100 years is an urgent need. The current bridge impairs interstate transit, which has negative impacts on livability, commerce, and our ability to grow as a community. There will certainly be a tremendous amount of discussion upcoming regarding funding and features, but the bridge replacement will stand as one of the most catalytic infrastructure investments that this community has ever made.

REALTORS support investments in infrastructure, as they have positive impacts on the safety and efficiency of neighborhoods, impact housing affordability, and create economic development activity that bring jobs to the community. While the needs of every community are different, along with conversations regarding how to pay for the investments, implementing and maintaining a safe and efficient transportation system should be a high priority for all communities, and REALTORS will continue to advocate for common sense investments that benefit their clients and communities.

Rian Davis
Public Affairs Director
Clark County Association of REALTORS®