Residents call for crosswalks near W. Keizer swim club, park

Increased, fast-moving traffic, growing number of visitors to Willamette Manor Park and a lack of adequate crossing opportunities led to a lengthy discussion at a meeting of the Keizer Traffic Safety, Bikeways and Pedestrian Committee Thursday, June 13. 

“We have a situation in the summer where children have to dodge traffic,” said Dana Baugher, who lives near the corner of Honeysuckle Street North and 5th Avenue North. She said the problems have only grown in the past two to three years. 

Upgrades to Willamette Manor Park have drawn more visitors to the park that sits behind the Holiday Swim Club. Coupled with nice weather, traffic through the neighborhood is increasing and the lack of dedicated parking for either facility narrows the streets. There is no crosswalk allowing those who live or park west of the area to safely cross the street within a reasonable distance. 

After bringing the situation to the attention of the Keizer Police Department, speed trailers were set up in the area, but those have had an exacerbating impact. 

“We’ve had some blatantly challenging [the speed trailers] to see them light up,” Baugher said. “ I think it’s a recipe for disaster and somebody is going to get hurt.”

Baugher’s husband Wes Jackson also spoke on the issue and said the crosswalk issues are especially problematic for those with mobility issues. There are ramps on opposite ends of the block but no way to reach them without traveling in the street between Hornet Lane North and Dennis Lane North. 

“It’s obvious that it was constructed to codes of a different era,” Jackson said “It’s clear to me that formal painted sidewalks might go a long way to controlling some of the issues and there should be speed bumps to force people to slow down.”

Carol Doerfler, president of the West Keizer Neighborhood Association, said rapid action is needed. 

“I don’t care if there wasn’t a crash in 17 years, this is dangerous and it needs to be taken care of,” Doerfler said. Doerfler was commenting on information from Keizer Police Department Sgt. David LeDay that found no crashes had occurred in recent times. 

Mike DeBlasi, chair of the committee, said the problems were the result of design flaws. 

“The design gives signals that you can drive faster,” DeBlasi said, alluding to the wide road length in the area. 

No one from Keizer Public Works was able to attend the meeting, but Deputy City Recorder Debbie Lockhart said she spoke to Keizer Public Works Director Bill Lawyer about the issue. She reported his concerns about adding a crosswalk and creating a false sense of security for pedestrians who use it assuming vehicle traffic will stop. 

Hersch Sangster, a member of the traffic safety committee suggested a speed hump with a crosswalk on top of it. 

Members of the committee hoped to visit the site this month and come back with a recommendation to vote on in July. 

“I say we come back at the next meeting to make a recommendation and I don’t consider money an issue,” said David Dempster, a member of the committee.