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'Our community does remarkable things when we pull together '

Last summer, a young girl, maybe 12 years old, crossed the intersection of Bryant Road and Boones Ferry Road on a bike. It was sunny, but she was in a hurry, because the crosswalk light has a short fuse. She crashed into the curb — no curb ramp — and nearly hit her head on a fire hydrant. Cars continued to stream by. No one stopped. Measure 3-406 would place bike lanes, sidewalks and wheelchair ramps there. It would also calm traffic, making the street safer for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

Nine months out of the year, cars speed through puddles, drenching children on their way home from school. The kids carry 20-pound packs like mules over buckling sidewalks studded with utility poles. There is not enough room to push a stroller, or a wheelchair, much less for two people to walk shoulder-to-shoulder. Where walkers pass one another, one must step onto the roadway. Even while standing on the sidewalk, you are at risk of being hit by a side-view mirror or a vehicle exiting a drive-through. Every day, from our business, we see people scramble across Boones Ferry Road; using a crosswalk means going one-half mile out of your way. Young children, the elderly (with walkers), mothers pushing strollers, and others in wheelchairs play Russian roulette crossing the street amidst cars traveling 30 miles per hour. We are afraid that someone is going to die.

Our family operates an after-school learning center in the heart of Lake Grove. Although we live on the other side of the lake, we regularly walk between our home and work. Many of our employees and customers walk to the center as well. We also drive quite often. Our children have literally grown up at the office, helping with the family business, experiencing life in an automobile-oriented village. For years we did not feel safe letting them walk along the street. After 10 years of witnessing the emergency that is Boones Ferry Road, finally, something is about to happen. Lake Grove may not feel very village-like right now, but local residents and business owners have high hopes; they think of the area as a village, and they want to improve it. Measure 3-406 is an important first step.

While recent building remodels have given Lake Grove a face-lift, private development alone cannot solve the all of the problems with the street. In fact, the street is an impediment to further private investment. The current configuration of Boones Ferry encourages speeding and forces drivers to make dangerous turns between closely spaced driveways. From our business, we frequently see drivers entering private parking lots, looking for a turn-around that does not exist. Traffic accidents (many go unreported) occur almost weekly, and there are no bus waiting shelters or bike lanes; cyclists have to keep up with autos or meander in and out of driveways to avoid being hit.

In addition, Boones Ferry regularly floods when it rains. Measure 3-406 would add sidewalks, traffic signals, crosswalks, lighting, bike lanes and drainage. It would also fix driveways, giving drivers a safer way to access local businesses.

Our community does remarkable things when we pull together. Please vote for a safer Boones Ferry Road; vote yes on Measure 3-406.

Scot and Debbie Siegel are Lake Oswego business owners and residents.