Happy Valley City Council unanimously gave City Manger Jason Tuck the go-ahead last week to move forward with $50,000 in projects designed to improve pedestrian and traffic safety.

Public Safety Director Steve Campbell, who co-presented the project to the council May 6 with Public Works Director Chris Randall, said they decided on the plan based on citizen response to three improvement recommendations made by the Traffic and Public Safety Committee.

The first will prohibit crossing and left turns, but allow right turns on 152nd Avenue and Misty Drive. They said multiple traffic accidents have been caused by cross-traffic and left-hand turns. This addition will cost approximately $40,000.

The second will add a four-way stop on 145th and Ridgecrest based on a request from the Jackson Hills Homeowners Association

“Crosswalks can give pedestrians a false since of security,” Campbell said. “This allows motorists to come to a complete stop.”

Though he eventually agreed to the motion, City Councilor Tom Ellis suggested building a pedestrian-activated light instead of the four-way stop.

“It just seems like we have a lot of stop signs in Happy Valley,” Ellis said. “In my opinion, I don’t know if stop signs are needed.”

Campbell countered: “I know not everyone likes stop signs, but it is sometimes a necessity to get everyone to stop.” He also said adding stop signs would be much more cost effective than adding pedestrian-activated lights.

Eventually, Ellis came around to the idea of the four-way stop sign.

Finally, the group will work to stop speeding in residential areas by adding data signs that monitor car speed. Police officers will use the data to more easily reprimand speeding drivers. The signs would be installed on high-traffic residential streets and be rotated around the city every three to six months. The project will cost $6,000.

“I’m comfortable with the recommendation,” Mayor Lori DeRemer said.

Tuck said the money would come from a longstanding privilege tax that allocates 1.5 percent of local Portland General Electric electricity bills toward public-safety improvements. DeRemer is satisfied with the project and thinks safety is a high priority.

“Safety’s one of our biggest issues. I think this is the product we’re coming up with,” he said.

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