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Residents along Fischer Road complain about traffic woes

Washington County planner provides information at CPO 4K meeting

With the issue of traffic along Fischer Road was on the agenda for the April 16 meeting of Citizen Participation Organization 4K (King City), residents from Eldorado Villas and King Village showed up in force.

The agenda asked the following questions (which are followed by the collective answers given by people at the meeting): Is there an area along Fischer Road where visibility is limited, impeding safe driving or turning? (Yes) Would you like the speed limit on Fischer reduced/increased? (Reduced) Does parking along Fischer Road cause issues? (Yes) Is more or less space needed for street parking? (Less)

Stacy A. Shetler, principal engineer with Washington County's Land Use and Transportation Department, came to the meeting to hear what residents had to say as well as provide information about the county-owned and -maintained road.

Shetler said that eventually, Fischer would be made three lanes wide, including a center turn lane with a bicycle lane, because of increasing development in the area.

After a man in the audience asked if the current 25-mph speed limit on Fischer would be increased, Shetler answered, "There are no plans to increase the speed limit on Fischer Road by the county. If a request is made to increase it, the request would go to the Oregon Department of Transportation, and if the county and the city agree, there would be a study, and the speed limit could be set at the speed that 85 percent of the people go. "

A woman replied, "Twenty-five's good."

Another woman asked, "Where will the improvements go? There's no where to expand. There are condos and houses already there along the road."

Shetler answered, "It would mean a capital-improvement project, and the county would use land in the right of way, but it's probably not likely to happen in the near future."

A woman who moved into Eldorado Villas 38 years ago said, "It's hard to see when we pull out because of a pickup parked to the right on Fischer. You can't see."

According to Shetler, county code now dictates sight lines (the minimum distance drivers must be able to see), but roads like Fischer were developed before the standards were established.

"Land-use laws have changed over time," he added. "And it's not just the distance but the speed. If the speed limit is 25 mph, the sight distance is 250 feet.'

An Eldorado resident said that when he leaves the park on Eldorado Drive at 4 p.m., "It's like playing Russian roulette. Twenty-five becomes 35. Someone is going to get creamed or T-boned there. There is going to be a tragic accident."

A woman replied, "CPO 4K has been very active in trying to get the speed limit enforced. Eighty-five percent of the people driving on Fischer go 30 mph or less."

Shetler told the group that for better or worse, "Fischer and 131st are both collectors, and you're going to have more neighbors."

Right now, he said, at peak driving times, 400 vehicles per hour are driven on Fischer.

A man responded, "When Eldorado opened, there were probably 20 cars all day."

A woman said, "I'm a walker, and I cross that street. I take my life in my hands to cross Fischer. My dog and I have to lean out and look, and I have to listen for traffic.

"I thought about sneaking out and painting a crosswalk, but with my luck, I'd probably get caught and put in jail."

Several King Village and Eldorado Villas residents complained about the housing development that was put in at 125th Place, just east of Eldorado, several years ago.

A woman who has lived in Eldorado for 14 years said that since 125th was developed, several vehicles are consistently parked on Fischer between the subdivision and Eldorado, including one with Washington plates.

"There is 70 feet between Eldorado and 125th Place, and the curb should be painted red there," she told Shetler. "That will shut us up, and we'll go home and party."

Another woman said that the apartment complex at Fischer and Pacific Highway is full of families with young kids as is the 125th Place subdivision. "In between, there is a group of seniors on both sides of Fischer who walk dogs and drive slower," she said. "We need a whole new line of sight."

A woman suggested that the speed limit be changed to 15 mph and said (mistakenly), "People will go 25 mph, and King City will get the money from the tickets."