From: GALLUP Steve S (LCPW)
To: City of Westfir
CC: SOLIWODA Mike, KEPPLER Peggy A (LCPW), HURLEY Daniel M, BUCH Heather H
Sent: Fri, 27 May 2022 10:10 AM
Subject: City of Westfir Speed Management Request: Westfir-Oakridge Road
Thanks for taking my phone call and answering a few questions I had related to the attached letter/petition from the City Council and Citizens of Westfir. Please forward this response to the Mayor and City Council.
Traffic Operations has completed a review of the speed management request on Westfir-Oakridge Road and performed a speed study that included measuring drivers’ speeds. Based on the data in the study, current posted speed zones along Westfir-Oakridge Road appear to be appropriate and the request for a 25 mph speed zone for the entire roadway is not supported by the existing speed data. When establishing a speed limit, the main premise is that most drivers are prudent and will voluntarily comply with a reasonable speed limit. To determine what is reasonable, we measure drivers’ speed and the speed at which 50% of drivers are at or below is the Oregon standard for determining a speed limit. On Westfir-Oakridge Road the speed measurements showed the 50% speed to be 27 mph within the 25 mph posted zone, 33 mph within the 35 mph posted zone, and 45 mph within the 45 mph posted zone. Other factors that are considered in the study include: vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle volumes; road function and purpose; lane and shoulder widths; available sight distances; intersecting street and driveway density; pavement surface material; and crash frequency and severity. If speed limits are set artificially low, this could lead to poor compliance as well as large variations in speed which could create more conflicts, passing maneuvers, and crashes.
The new Lane County Bicycle Master Plan recognizes Westfir-Oakridge Road as a priority bicycle network and recommends capital investments to improve safety. We need to identify funding to implement those recommendations which we will continue to explore through grant opportunities. When we’re able to secure funding, we would like to work with the City to refine the design concepts. Until then, I believe we can address the concerns with increase pedestrian and bicycle travel on the road with additional warning signage, specifically bicycle/pedestrian warning signs which are diamond-shaped with a black legend on a yellow background. These warning signs will alert drivers that bicycles and pedestrians may be present and to proceed with caution.
Speed feedback signs that display actual speeds to the driver so that they can adjust their traveling speeds are an effective traffic calming tool. These signs have proven to be effective at reducing speeds, especially if they are periodically moved to different locations. Lane County has eight of these signs which we rotate throughout lane County. We did note that there is an existing permanent speed feedback sign on the east end of the 25 mph speed zone leading into the downtown area. The request to install another permanent speed feedback sign near the middle portion of the straight away on Westfir-Oakridge Road (approximately 100 yards east of the “Welcome to Westfir” sign) should complement the traffic calming effort and is supported by the County. The installation, maintenance, and operation of this additional permanent speed feedback sign should be the City’s responsibility and will need to obtain a Lane County Facility Permit before beginning the work. Our R/W Facility Permit manager is Mike Soliwoda and he will provide you with an application and is cc to this email. The request for automated enforcement by a speed camera mounted on this device is not approved because Lane County is not on the list of jurisdictions authorized for operating photo radar under ORS 810.438.
Just as indicated in the letter that safety of your residents is paramount, safety is a high priority for Lane County and the Board of County Commissioners adopted a Transportation Safety Action Plan in 2017. We are currently implementing engineering and education actions to reduce fatal and severe-injury collision in Lane County. Crash data shows that most of those collision are due to some driver error; therefore we are trying to build awareness about individual responsibility to develop a culture of safety. Thank you for your letter/petition and for being an advocate for safety.
Steve Gallup | Traffic Engineer
Transportation Planning, Permits, and Operations Supervisor
Lane County Public Works
Engineering & Construction Services
3040 N. Delta Hwy, Eugene OR 97408