News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Controlling speed in a neighborhood

Traffic volume and speed are increasing all over town, especially in the downtown core. In an attempt to bypass that bottleneck, residents and tourists alike are using neighborhood streets as alternative routes, especially on Jefferson, Washington, and Creekside Drive. Instead of traveling at the posted speed of 25 mph, drivers often far exceed that limit.

The residents in the Timber Creek and Creekside neighborhoods will tell you that, now that the bridge on Creekside Drive over Whychus Creek has been discovered, any number of vehicles, many inappropriate for a narrow neighborhood street, use that route to cut through from town to Highway 126, avoiding the intersection at Highway 20 and Locust Street.

In the last traffic safety study conducted by the City, data substantiated the concerns of the surrounding neighbors: Too much traffic, traveling too fast. The Timber Creek homeowner’s association voted to install three speed “humps” on their private Timber Creek Drive, which has signage indicating it is private and not for through-traffic use. People ignore the sign, so the homeowners decided to install the humps to hopefully discourage cut-throughs.

The City agreed to install two speed humps on either end of the Creekside Drive bridge. All five humps were installed last week.

Public Works Director Paul Bertagna indicated that the bridge humps are 10-mile-an-hour humps and are three to four inches high. They create quite a bump if hit at higher speeds. Signage is now in place to warn drivers, and white arrows on the asphalt mark them, but not everyone slows down until after they hit the first hump. Drivers headed toward Highway 126 seem to speed even more once they are over the second hump, creating dangerous situations for residents of Creekside exiting their neighborhood or walking to their mailboxes located across Creekside Drive.

Timber Creek neighbors report that large lumber trucks, double-trailer dump trucks, and others often use the cut-through, speeding and blowing through stop signs in an area where a number of small children and dogs live and play.

Janet MacConnell lives in the house right next to the northern speed hump on the bridge. She does think the current measures are slowing some traffic down.

“I hope it will eventually cut down on traffic,” she said.

MacConnell reported seeing one motorist who hit the hump at a high rate of speed, stopped his car, and got out to see if he had done any damage to the undercarriage of his car.

“I hope people get used to the humps and will slow down,” she said.

Creekside resident Susan DeGroat said, “I love the bumps. It is slowing people down. I think it will take time for people to get used to them.”

What really worries her is the blind corner to the north of the bridge, with people taking it too fast and too wide. Many neighbors think a head-on crash or side-swipe is inevitable.


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