Critics charge traffic impact from big box downplayed in study

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The above graphic shows how the Area C proposal fits in with the neighborhood. (Photo illustration by Andrew Jackson)

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

An opponent-funded review of the Keizer Station Area C traffic impact analysis calls the developer’s study “inaccurate” and “flawed.”

The review by Rick Nys of Greenlight Engineering states the original traffic impact analysis (TIA) “may understate the effects of the proposed development on the transportation system.”

According to the latest information from Kittelson and Associates, the firm which prepared the Area B and C traffic studies, once built out the development will generate about 940 total trips during the afternoon peak hour. The study does not address traffic outside the morning and afternoon peak hours, and opponents have noted the as-yet-unnamed store – which could be Walmart – is likely to be open 24 hours, increasing traffic at all hours.

One objection Nys had was that the Chemawa Road – Verda Lane intersection is not included in the TIA, despite that the intersection is failing during afternoon peak traffic according to the city’s Transportation System Plan.

City officials are planning a roundabout for that intersection. They have said the developer won’t be required to help fund improvements there because it wasn’t meeting acceptable service levels prior to any development.

Nys also said the driveway for the proposed big-box grocer sits about 170 feet south city regulations allow.

“The proposed location will be in place for years to come and will quickly become a problem for the city, to which there are only difficult and expensive solutions,” Nys said.

Neither Nys nor representatives from Kittelson and Associates responded to interview requests from the Keizertimes.

The letter from Nys is not the first objections opponents have had with the traffic impact associated with the proposed discount grocer. A letter submitted at February’s Planning Commission meeting by Matt Hughart and Hermanus Steyn of Kittelson and Associates attempted to address some of the concerns:

• Regarding increased traffic on Ridge Drive – The proposal would connect Ridge Drive to McLeod Lane, creating a roadway from Chemawa-McLeod  southeast to Ridge Drive, south alongside Keizer Little League Park to Keizer Road.

The letter states school speed zone limits and several speed humps, along with “limited regional connectivity to the rest of the city,” would likely limit traffic to “those residents who live along the corridor.”

Hughart and Steyn concluded “no special capacity-based mitigation is necessary.”

• Regarding objections to the time of year traffic counts were conducted (July, when opponents said more people would be on vacation and not on local roadways), the engineers from Kittelson and Associates said traffic counts were adjusted to factor this in.

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1 Response for “Critics charge traffic impact from big box downplayed in study”

  1. BHRIO says:

    I totally agree the traffic will be horrendous if area C is developed in it’s present concept. I will be voting YES on measure 24-314.
    I am usually very pro-business and believe in private property rights,but this development I think is not a good fit for Keizer.This is how I see it.
    First of all if a Wal-Mart or Food for Less is the anchor it will probably bring more crime to the area. Costing the city even more money for police and services. All one has to do is go to the Lancaster area and get a glimpse of what the entry of these two stores has done to the area. Fischer Road behind both these stores in a high crime area and also high traffic. Since there is very little sidewalk also a danger for pedestrians. One has to wonder if the city of Salem planned for the area.
    Wal-Mart is known for its “stay the night in our parking lot” This also will bring an element that is more transient to the surrounding areas.
    All in all Keizer was promised a silk purse and we got a pigs ear,from our planning commission and the developer.We can do better than this. Let’s start planning for a community that is sustainable,upscale and a desirable place to live. The future of Keizer depends on it. I fear some of our City Council and Manager have aspirations to use this project as a stepping stone to other positions in government.

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