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home : current news : current news June 20, 2018

5/29/2018 1:37:00 PM
Transportation safety plan recommended
By Sue Stafford

At their May 17 meeting, Sisters Planning Commission voted 6-1 to recommend approval, with conditions, of the Transportation Safety Plan (TSP) update to Sisters City Council.

The recently completed TSP update was undertaken to improve circulation on the east side of town, including improvement to the intersection of US20 and OR126. In the plan are recommendations for both near-term and long-range improvements.

Members of the committee included representatives of all interested stakeholders, including City staff, ODOT staff, bicyclists and pedestrians, Planning Commission, City Council, citizens, and other regional players.

The condition had to do with the proposal to formally designate Washington Avenue as a bicycle and pedestrian boulevard, which would require changing street parking to parallel parking, installing sidewalks, and including a formal bike lane.

Included in the update is a short-term solution to congestion at the intersection of US20 and Locust Street, making entry onto Highway 20 safer. By installing a mini-roundabout, which could be done with no additional acquisition of land, eastbound truck traffic utilizing the Barclay Drive alternate for getting through town would experience little delay at the US20/Locust intersection, encouraging more use of the alternate route by freight traffic and getting trucks off Cascade Avenue.

Making Barclay a through street, with no eastbound stop at the intersection with Locust/Camp Polk, would also help encourage truck traffic to utilize the alternate route.

A third component of the alternate route calls for realigning Barclay, removing three curves and installing a multi-use path to the side of the street. Commissioner Daryl Tewalt questioned the need for the multi-use path beside Barclay.

Four of the commissioners agreed that the Washington Avenue bicycle boulevard concept needs to be revisited. Testimony from longtime Sisters resident Dave Moyer, who has lived on Washington since 1972, asked commissioners to reconsider that part of the TSP. Part of the bike boulevard designation would require parallel parking along Washington and Moyer estimates that if that happens, "approximately 100 parking spaces would be lost."

Moyer indicated that historically the decision was made by the City to leave the parking from the alley parallel to Hood and Washington Avenue to the south of town as natural as possible, without paving and formal parking spaces.

A 30-year resident who also lives on Washington concurred with Moyer, saying that the current parking situation allows for RVs, vehicles with trailers, and busses for public events like the Quilt Show, to park along Washington and still be close to downtown.

Four of the commissioners agreed with the longtime residents that more study may be needed on that one issue, so they attached a condition to their recommendation of the TSP to the Council.

Approval of the TSP will come before the Council on June 27, at which time the public can make comment. Letters may also be sent to the City Recorder beforehand.

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