More traffic problems ahead
by Michael Scheinfein, Cedar Mill resident
Many Cedar Mill residents are inconvenienced by construction along
Barnes and Cornell but traffic problems in our community are just beginning.
New construction along Cornell between Cedar Hills and 119th, part of Polygon
Northwest’s Teufel Nursery project, has commenced. The City of Beaverton
approved this project knowing that traffic flow at or above capacity
resulting from residents in the new development would strain neighborhood
transportation infrastructure to the point of failure.
According to publicly available documents filed with the City, during
Phases 1-3, when around 900 units of the 1310 approved units will
be constructed, the only access road into the Teufel property will
connect to Cornell between Cedar Hills and 119th. Until access via Barnes
from the south is provided after Phase 3 Cornell will need to accommodate
~2000 additional vehicles each day.
Developer Polygon Northwest employed Kittelson and Associates to
prepare the required Traffic Impact Analysis Report (TIA). According
April 2004 TIA filing, the existing volume-to-capacity ratios during
the morning rush hour at the Saltzman/Cornell and Cedar Hills/Cornell intersections
are 85% and 93% respectively. Other intersections along Cornell are presently
utilized at ~80% or more, and, the “NW Barnes Road/ NW Cedar Hills
Blvd intersection ... currently operates at LOS “E” during both
the a.m. and p.m. peak hours.” In a traffic report, a Level Of Service
classification “E” (LOS “E”)
indicates “unstable flow at or near capacity. Comfort is extremely
poor and driver frustration is high.”
The TIA requires a Planned Transportation Improvements plan (detailing
associated costs). The Kittelson TIA acknowledged that the Cornell/Cedar
Hills interchange will be over capacity at project completion since
the proposed transportation improvements can do little to alleviate
the congestion. The Washington County traffic engineer responsible
for the County component of the road project in the Cornell corridor
indicated that the City’s improvements
to county roads were inadequate to fund required road improvements.
For example, the County determined that ~$2.3 million was required
for road improvements to an intersection along Cornell if Teufel was approved;
the City only offered ~$500,000 saying that they would only be responsible
for 20% of the traffic. Yet that 20% increase in traffic will cause the intersection
to be over capacity.
The City requires a Mitigation Identification and Analysis report
methods of mitigating on-site and off-site deficiencies for present and proposed
phases of the development. The analysis shall make recommendations for the
improvements necessary for safe and efficient traffic flow.” The Kittelson
report admits that “Like several other intersections in the site vicinity,
the projected year 2009 capacity-related deficiencies could be addressed through
the widening of NW Cornell Road to a five lane cross section; however, this
widening is in conflict with the Cedar Mill Town Center Plan and there is
insufficient right-of-way to accomplish this improvement. In lieu of constructing
capacity improvements, Polygon Northwest will make a TIF-creditable proportionate
share contribution towards the capacity improvements needed at this intersection.” The
remedy—”Polygon Northwest will contribute $80,000 towards future
improvements at this location,”—was accepted by the City in lieu
of a bona fide traffic capacity solution.
The approval process for the Teufel Nursery Project was complicated
by jurisdictional issues of annexing this “property island” by
the City since responsibility for roads adjacent to the property
lies with the county.
Do Beaverton development priorities override County traffic capacity
guidelines? Will County Fire and Police be able to access our (county)
neighborhoods when Cornell, Cedar Hills and Barnes are clogged beyond
capacity? Should the City be allowed to not fully fund projects required
to bring road infrastructure up to specification that directly result
from the City’s approval of
a development plan?