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Cedar Mill News
Volume 6, Issue 4


April 2008

Traffic light at Dogwood and Saltzman?

If you think it’s hard to get into and out of the Waglreen’s/library parking lot now, just wait and see what the county has in store for us.

The Saltzman Road Improvement Project will widen Saltzman, with an additional northbound through-lane from Cornell that will stretch past the parking lot exit before merging into one northbound lane. There will also be a center turn lane, and the southbound right-turn lane onto Cornell will also be extended northward. So Saltzman may be as many as five lanes wide at that point.


This concept drawing shows how vehicle and pedestrian circulation could be improved by extending Sue St. to meet Dogwood and extending Dogwood to 123rd. It also represents a possible new configuration for the Shell station which would allow Barnes to extend northward to Dogwood. (click map to enlarge)

Additionally, the southern driveway (just north of Cornell) is going to be eliminated as part of this project. It is a traffic hazard, but many people use it anyway. That means that all of the traffic entering or leaving that lot to go onto Saltzman will be funneled into one driveway. For that reason alone, it would seem like a traffic light and crosswalk at that corner would be a good idea.

Pedestrian safety is another issue. We are all supposed to be walking more around our “Town Center,” right? But have you ever tried to cross Saltzman to get from Bales to the library? Every day, groups of preschool kids from the Methodist preschool are shepherded by their teachers and aides to attend library programs. It can be harrowing.

Bales recently added a new driveway west of the store to allow drivers to exit the parking lot by using the extension to turn onto Dogwood. As people learn about this, it should help with congestion at their other driveways, but will also be putting more traffic onto Dogwood, most of which will be turning left/north onto Saltzman.

However, the county maintains that the location doesn’t “warrant” a light. “Warrants” are a complex set of criteria that the county uses to establish the need for a traffic light or other road improvement. These include traffic speed and volume, anticipated number of turns, accidents, and likely “stacking” of cars behind people making turns.

The Washington County Department of Land Use and Transportation (DLUT) tells us, “The design team has heard this issue loud and clear from several of the [Saltzman] project’s Focus Group members and has looked extensively at this intersection, trying to see if the warrants for a traffic signal are met. Unfortunately, even with future development and with the connection of Dogwood with Thriftway and Shell to the west as well as a connection to 123rd to the east, the need for a signal at this intersection is still not met and the design team would not recommend the installation of a signal at this location as part of this project. With that said, the design team is proposing to install empty conduit at this location for the future when a signal is needed.”

The county is planning to install a light on Saltzman at 128th where the Bauer Oaks entrance is. They tell us there’s enough traffic there to warrant it. But not at Dogwood?

A light at this corner would have to be electronically coordinated with the light at Cornell to avoid cars stacking up through the Cornell intersection. But we’re confident that the engineers can figure out how to make that work.

One of the critical elements of a well-functioning Town Center is a grid of alternative routes beside the main streets. Cedar Mill is quite lacking in this now. Dogwood is an excellent candidate for this role. It offers a potential to be extended to the west to connect to Dale, and there are also plans to connect it eastward to 123rd.

This is a great opportunity for the county to stand behind the vision of the Cedar Mill Town Center, instead of just applying formulas that don’t fit our reality. If the DLUT can’t justify a light at Dogwood, then perhaps the County Commissioners can step in and save the situation.

Read about the Dogwood Stoplight petition to the County Commission...

(Sign the petition online at www.petitiononline.com/97229A/petition.html)



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Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
12110 NW West Rd
Portland, OR 97229