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Cedar Mill News
Volume 3, Issue 11


November 2005

Congestion at the gate – will it improve?
By Virginia Bruce with help from Larry Barnes

A large proportion of the auto traffic coming into Cedar Mill arrives via the intersection of Cedar Hills Boulevard and Barnes Road. As Cedar Mill has grown, this intersection has become increasingly congested. And before long there will be significant increases in traffic through this intersection when Polygon Homes completes the Teufel Development.

If the Wal-Mart store is approved by Beaverton, traffic is expected to increase by nearly 20% at some times. In addition, when the work on Highway 26 is completed, cars coming from the south on Highway 217 will no longer be able to use the Highway 26 ramp to exit onto Cedar Hills Boulevard, but will exit onto Barnes Road near St. Vincent’s Hospital. They’ll end up in the same intersection, but will be approaching it from westbound Barnes, to continue straight through or turn right onto Cedar Hills.

Washington County always tries to get developers to pay for roadwork improvements that are needed as a result of development. In this case, according to County Engineer Greg Miller, “Polygon Homes will pay for some of the improvements needed for this intersection, including all but one of the eastbound to south right turn lanes on Barnes, and extension of the two through lanes each way on Barnes west of the intersection, and Polygon will build only a portion of the expansion on Cedar Hills north of intersection. Polygon will also do only a short section of the westbound right turn lane on Barnes to east of intersection.”

Miller continues, “The details and timing will come as we evaluate the Walmart development—we are currently awaiting resubmission of their application—it was incomplete the first time. We’re also waiting for Peterkort to resubmit their master plan (on hold because of annexation of much of the area by city—they must now address city as well as county standards). We are working with all parties to make sure that the improvements done by each developer are in a logical sequence and minimize the amount of interim work that has to be torn out by the next phase.”

Some of the problems and concerns with these plans are highlighted on the accompanying diagram: 1. Another island may be needed here to separate lanes, preventing people from attempting to make last-minute right turns. 2. Traffic in the right-turn only lanes, if it gets backed up, could block the right-in-only driveway into the proposed Wal-Mart lot further west. 3. Heavy traffic in the southbound lane may block the westbound US 26 ramp. Additionally, traffic heading for the US 26 eastbound lane will need to cross two lanes. 4. Wal-Mart’s plan did not address the pedestrian and cyclist safety hazard under the US 26 overpass. The overpass is owned by the Oregon Dept. of Transportation (ODOT) and the county and ODOT are working out a solution to this. Miller says, “We are also working with all parties to plan how the bike and pedestrian circulation will work throughout this area. This is a particularly difficult problem where Cedar Hills goes under 26, but when we’re done, there will be bike and pedestrian facilities there.”5. Left turn and through lane traffic is likely to block the westbound US 26 off-ramp, and 6. This through lane is not aligned through the intersection and may result in collisions.

Even if Wal-Mart withdraws its application, or if it is denied by Beaverton, the corner will eventually hold some type of large retail development. It’s encouraging that the government agencies are working hard to delineate additional road capacity, but it’s also clear that whatever happens, this intersection will only get more frustrating for people trying to get into and out of Cedar Mill. Maybe we’d better just all stay home!



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The Cedar Mill News
Published monthly by the Cedar Mill Business Association, Inc.,
P.O. Box 91177
Portland, OR 97291-0177

Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
12110 NW West Rd
Portland, OR 97229