SISTERS — Officials in Sisters turned to community members for help in refining their transportation system at a public presentation and meeting Tuesday at City Hall.
The presentation from consultant Matt Kittelson, Kittelson and Associates, Inc., focused on multiple options — both short and long-term — for a variety of traffic issues that are currently plaguing the city’s transportation system on the east side of town. The majority of concerns from the crowd of about 50 people focused on speed enforcement and eliminating freight trucks from the downtown corridor, but the overall reception of the multiple options was positive.
The proposed realignment of Barclay Drive, which would move freight trucks and other traffic out of downtown, interested property owner Art Blumencron, he said, because of two businesses he owns in the immediate area.
“I think this is a great idea,” Blumencron said about the possible realignment. “You can get the truck traffic out of downtown when it backs up during the quilt show, for example.”
City staff sought feedback on the U.S. Highway 20 and Locust Street interchange, where odd angles and unenforced speed limits make the interchange unsafe. Kittelson walked the audience through three different long-term options that included various designs for a roundabout, while explaining that each design has its advantages and disadvantages. But a short-term option would be a basic “small-scale roundabout,” he said.
A proposed roundabout to help ease circulation between U.S. Highway 20 and Oregon State Highway 126 and refinements to the pedestrian and bicycle system master plans were also topics that city staff sought feedback on.
“This is just a refinement, not an update to the plan,” Kittelson said. “This is like juggling the best and worst options.”
The crowd was large by small-town standards, Mayor Chuck Ryan said, but a stronger turnout would help officials determine what is best for Sisters.
“This was very successful because we had a decent turnout,” he said. “Even though this is preliminary and there’s a lot of different options, we are excited — as a city — to get the input from the public. For our public meeting for the water and sewer rates we had three people show up. So this was fantastic.”
The process still needs to move to the planning commission and the city council before city staff can begin to explore funding options, Ryan explained, and community members are encouraged to submit feedback until the Dec. 15 deadline.
“The quicker we get a plan together, the quicker we can get funding,” he said.
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