Wilsonville's development raises traffic concerns
Evidenced by the laundry list of projects on its docket, the City of Wilsonville has ambitious plans for development in the area — which could lead to a wider array of housing, jobs and amenities in Wilsonville.
But development has drawbacks too — including incessant construction and amplifying traffic.
And these intertwined issues sometimes bleed from major intersections into residential neighborhoods and cause homeowners consternation.
According to residents who attended the Feb. 22 Wilsonville City Council meeting, these issues are playing out in the Meadows neighborhood.
Seven Wilsonville citizens spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting complaining about excessive and speedy traffic flowing into their neighborhood.
They said excess traffic deriving from the intersection of Wilsonville Road and the merging of Advance Road and Boeckman Creek Road is funneling into Willow Creek Drive and the Meadows residential neighborhood.
"At the intersection at Boeckman and Advance and Wilsonville roads, the traffic backs up a long way and citizens leave that area and go into our neighborhood and come out another entrance," Meadows resident Bob Leineweber said.
Construction of the new Meridian Creek Middle School required road improvements that impacted the intersection of Wilsonville Road and Advance Road, which City Manager Bryan Cosgrove says likely pushed drivers into the neighborhood to avoid construction.
Councilor Scott Starr, who lives in the Meadows neighborhood, says traffic has diminished since school construction completed but that the issue could worsen once Frog Pond West is built out. Construction in Frog Pond West is slated to begin this summer and Cosgrove says it could take 5-7 years to be completed. And traffic issues might not halt once it's finished.
"When Frog Pond comes in there's concern people will use that as a quick release to get over to the schools (Wilsonville High School and Boeckman Creek Primary School)," Starr said.
"There's gonna be some temporary discomfort out there," Cosgrove said. We want to minimize the impacts to existing neighborhoods."
Meadows neighbors expressed concern that the influx of traffic and dangerous speeds they were seeing endanger children in the neighborhood.
"When it comes to riding bikes, I'm not able to give children the same benefit I've had because the speed is outrageously fast," Meadows neighborhood resident Calvin Palmer said. "Whatever solutions we're able to come up with is going to go a long way toward being able to build that community where you can be out in your front yard and talk with your neighbors."
"We have a lot of children in the neighborhood and that's a big concern that something could happen," Meadows neighborhood resident Claudio Martinez said.
Some residents suggested closing Willow Creek Drive off from Boeckman Road but Cosgrove said that would be an extreme measure. Cosgrove also said the city typically does not add speed bumps to address residential traffic complaints.
However, Cosgrove mentioned conducting a speed survey and traffic analysis and said the City will meet with the Meadows Homeowners Association before determining the extent of the study.
Cosgrove said the speed survey would likely assess traffic at various points of the day and days of the week over a one or two week period.
"We need to figure out how to influence it. We don't want to take draconian measures out the box but we don't want to be so incremental we don't have an effect," Wilsonville Mayor Tim Knapp said.
"We can figure out if people are exceeding the speed limit on a regular basis or just a certain time of the day, Cosgrove added
Martinez suggested adding a warning sign alerting drivers turning from Boeckman Road into Willow Creek Drive of the speed reduction from 40 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour. Starr, would prefer to see the implementation of a stop sign on Boeckman Road rather than a traffic light, to force cars to reduce speeds rather than fly into the neighborhood when the light is green.
"You make a left or right turn, you aren't going to be able to go down unless there's a warning sign to let people know they have to reduce their speed," Martinez said.
However, Cosgrove has noticed that when it comes to speeding in residential neighborhoods, perception often contradicts reality — as it is not uncommon for the City to conduct a speed study and not find the elevated speeds reported by residents.
"I just want to make sure we're looking at this with more data," Cosgrove said.