Of the Keizertimes

A widening and resurfacing project on Sunset Avenue will go forward after a Keizer City Council vote Monday night.

Public works staff had held a town hall recently to address public concerns, including a petition signed by several people living on the street, that widening would cause loss of parking space and possibly interfere with homeowner-installed improvements, like shrubbery, that crossed into the public right-of-way.

Some were concerned that a wider street would mean more speeding and traffic. Joy Beebe, a Sunset Avenue resident for 55 years, supported resurfacing but opposed widening. She said the planned pedestrian and bicycle lanes would do little good in terms of keeping non-vehicle traffic out of the street.

She also said drainage was an existing issue and predicted further problems in the future.

“(Will) we need to wear rubber boots to get the mail?” Beebe said.

John Avery, who captains the local neighborhood watch, said bicyclists and skateboarders were routinely riding in the middle of the street – “a testament to how quiet the street is.

“I don’t believe there is enough pedestrian traffic to have (the shared lane) on both sides of the street,” he said.

Denise Voll supports the project, and wanted to see upgrades to the intersection with 5th Avenue.

“It’s a difficult way to walk, especially if you’re headed to the pool or (Willamette Manor) Park,” she said.

Bill Lawyer, interim public works director, said traffic counts showed about 1,140 trips per day – down from 2006 levels and consistent with citywide trends that show less vehicle trips overall. Speeds also weren’t a significant concern after study, Lawyer said.

The street is identified in the city’s transportation systems plan as a collector, and is up as part of the annual resurfacing priorities list.

In other business, the council:

• Approved an amendment to the park management contract with Keizer Youth Sports Association, terminating it on July 31, 2012 instead of ending in 2013. The move came as KYSA is seeking additional funds to operate the park and its leaders are considering ending the arrangement if more cash isn’t appropriated. The city manager can extend this agreement until later in the year if needed to accommodate fall leagues.

• Adopted a preliminary economic vision to be included as part of the city’s economic opportunities analysis.

• Awarded a bid of $97,440 to Stettler Supply and Construction to replace the 17th Avenue pump well.