Later this year, a contractor will take a look at one of Sunriver’s most prominent — and potentially most dangerous — sections of road.
On Monday, the Deschutes County Commission allowed the county’s road department to examine safety issues along the Sunriver Business Park, east of S. Century Drive and south of Sunriver Resort. The department will put out a request for a contractor, who will look at traffic flows at each of the intersections along the loop, particularly the troublesome spot where S. Century Drive, the main thoroughfare in the area, connects to Venture Lane, one of two main roads through the park. Chris Doty, director of the Deschutes County Road Department, said the contractor will consider several ideas submitted by the community, including the possibility of making Venture Lane a one-way road.
“I think it’s the front-runner,” Doty said of the idea.
Sunriver Business Park, established more than 20 years ago, is one of three business districts in Sunriver, along with the Village at Sunriver and a small collection of shops along Spring River Road, according to Kent Elliott, executive director of the Sunriver Area Chamber of Commerce. The business park is home to around 100 businesses, ranging from gas stations to physical therapy clinics to Sunriver Brewing Co., as well as a U.S. post office and Three Rivers School.
Elliott said that when the elementary school is in session and tourists are in town, the whole area struggles with congestion. The business park only has one entrance and exit point, off of S. Century Drive. Venture Lane has a separate two-way stop directly to the east, and Doty said it isn’t uncommon for backed-up cars to spill over from one intersection to another.
“Any time you have queued vehicles going into another intersection … you’re going to run into problems,” Doty said.
John Holland, a local property owner, said the congestion is compounded by the business park’s lack of sidewalks and bike lanes, and can be dangerous for kids walking or biking to Three Rivers School.
“We don’t want to kill a kid,” Holland said. “That’s our mantra.”
While Holland said there haven’t been any serious accidents to his knowledge, he added that there have been “so many close calls that we’re waiting for something to happen.” Elliott added that the business park continues to get more busy as the community grows, with Sunriver Brewing looking to add a tasting room, and plans for a food cart pod by the post office moving forward.
“We’re not a sleepy little recreational community anymore,” Elliott said.
Because of that, Holland and four other property owners in the area formed a committee to look at possible solutions to the congestion in the business park, including making Venture Lane only one way and additional entrance and exit points. The county road department will review those ideas.
Doty said it will likely take a month or two to find a suitable contractor to look at the business park, and several months after to take a look at the traffic flow, and devise ways to improve access for cyclists and pedestrians.
“I think this would probably be a good little winter project for somebody,” Doty said.
— Reporter: 541-617-7818, firstname.lastname@example.org