REDMOND, OR -- With hundreds of new homes being built in southwest Redmond, many residents worry increased traffic on Highway 126, also known as Highland Ave., will lead to more crashes at an intersection already known for serious collisions.
City Engineer Mike Caccavano says left turn lanes installed last year on Highland, at SW 35th, have helped. "The accident rate is way down at that intersection. It used to be a lot of rear-end collisions; and adding the left turn lanes has pretty much eliminated that. But you still have the potential for someone turning in from 35th. The left turn lanes didn’t help with that." In fact, Redmond Police blame a recent crash on a man trying to turn on to the highway from 35th. He suffered minor injuries and was issued a ticket for failing to obey the stop sign.
"What we need is more gaps and bigger gaps for people to get into," Caccavano tells KBND News, "And we don’t have that right now, so people take a chance from the side street." He believes those gaps could be created by shifting the 45 mile per hour zone to the west and slowing people down as they enter the city. And, he says he'd like to move the "driver feedback" sign that was recently installed in the area, which alerts drivers to how fast they're actually going, "Just posting a sign doesn’t slow people down, but I think that ‘driver feedback’ sign has been really effective. I’ve noticed the majority of people will slow down when they see that, and that wasn’t the case before. So, if we can get that speed backed up a little bit so they’re already slowed down at that intersection, I think that could help." Because it is a state highway, any changes to Highland must be approved by the Oregon Department of Transportation. Caccavano just sent a request to ODOT to study whether the speed zone can change, "We have to go through a process with the state and I’m just initiating that now. It typically takes three months, at the minimum, depending on the backlog."
Caccavano says the chances of ODOT approving a traffic signal, as some neighbors want, are very slim. Despite the addition of two large housing developments in the area, recent studies of current and projected traffic volumes don't meet ODOT's threshold for a light.