OFDNA’s Comment on the Ward Project at Murphy Road

//OFDNA’s Comment on the Ward Project at Murphy Road

OFDNA’s Comment on the Ward Project at Murphy Road

OLD FARM DISTRICT NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION

COMMENTS RE MURPHY ROAD MASTER PLAN

PZ-19-0517

    We would first note that the timing for comments on this project, from December 14 to January 3, was reduced by the holiday season.  This made it extremely difficult to conduct a thorough analysis of the impact this huge development will have on both the Southeast NA and the Old Farm District NA.

The fundamental problem with this plan, as further explained below, is that it fails to make the safety of school children the top priority.  Given the huge amount of additional traffic this development proposes, the plan should have considered better speed control and additional roundabouts on both Murphy and Country Club Drive, as well as additional protection for pedestrians.

The proposed mitigations in infrastructure are inadequate because they are based on projected traffic patterns and trip generations which are unrealistically optimistic.

As well, the traffic analysis appears to omit consideration of the Knott Road and 15th Street area traffic increases.  The projects already approved, funded and started by the City include a 37 acre park and new high school.  Another junior high is already scheduled to be built around 2024-25 and the City annexation of The Elbow is “in progress.”  We cannot create future problems by failing to design Murphy to these standards; Murphy already has problems in that dedicated turn lanes into existing and proposed neighborhoods are restricted by the lack of right of ways.

In particular, the mitigation requirements of the Transportation Facilities Report/Transportation Impact Analysis are based on an analysis of the traffic volume and patterns after full build out, which could be up to 15 years.  The Report anticipates 794 site trips during the evening peak hour and 7,574 site trips during a typical weekday.

Its analysis is based on numerous algorithms concerning trip generation for single family housing, and outdated physical traffic counts as follows:

  • Traffic counts were conducted at the study area intersections on Thursday, December 13, 2018 from 4 pm to 6 pm.
  • Intersection of High Lead Road and Country Club Drive on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 from 4 to 6.
  • Counts taken at the intersection of Mountain High loop at Country Club Drive on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 from 4 to 6.  (See page 15.)

These traffic study parameters seem to be done for the benefit of developers.  They are not current, nor are they done at the busiest times for a number of days over the entire year.

Even now, residents living to the north of Murphy report there are substantial delays for vehicles trying to turn left out of Benham Drive due to the long queues of vehicles delivering and picking up children at the Jewell Elementary School.  The additional 795 housing units which the Master Plan proposes will only aggravate congestion on Murphy and pose increased dangers to both vehicles and pedestrians.

In short, outdated vehicle counts conducted for two hours on a single day and generalized algorithms do not accurately reflect the traffic and safety problems this Master Plan will create.  As a result, the mitigations proposed are not adequate.

The OFDNA is particularly concerned with the following:

1)  A roundabout needs to be built at the intersection of Country Club Road and Murphy before any housing units are constructed.

The Report concludes that 221 units can be constructed before the intersection of Country Club/Murphy road before the intersection exceeds City of Bend operational standards.  This is not realistic.

2)  There should be a pedestrian crosswalk, lighted, from the multiuse connector in the north development across Murphy to the ASI/proposed park.  It is inevitable that children are going to walk straight across Murphy to get to the park; they are not going to walk several hundred feet to other crosswalks.

3)  The master plan proposes only two entrance/exits onto Murphy.  Instead of aligning them so that one can drive directly across Murphy from the north to the south subdivision, they are separated by two lot widths and made into two T-intersections.  The purpose of this odd configuration appears to be to avoid building another roundabout there. But this design creates an extreme hazard to both pedestrians and vehicles. These T-intersections should be replaced by a roundabout.

As proposed, this design allows northbound vehicles to turn left to go west on Murphy at the same time southbound vehicles are turning left to go east on Murphy.  Both drivers will have to contend with the heavy east-west traffic on Murphy as well as trying to avoid each other. There will inevitably be collisions at these T-intersections.

This design is particularly hazardous to pedestrians, especially children trying to get to Jewell.  Unless they walk several blocks to the west to access the roundabout, the proposed northbound road is the only way children living in the south development can cross Murphy to get to school.

The proposed pedestrian refuge median is totally inadequate:  it requires the child look both ways for east-west traffic and also behind and ahead to avoid north and south bound traffic.  A longer median which would allow only right-hand turns is not practical.

Development realignment with a connecting roundabout is necessary to solve both the pedestrian and vehicle problems.

In short, this present design is an extreme hazard to school children and must be modified.

4)  Timber Ridge Subdivision/High Lead Road. This is the low-density development directly south of the Country Club and west of Country Club road.  High Lead Road is the only entrance/exit from this subdivision and it does not correspond with any of the proposed exits from the new development.  We believe that the exit from High Lead Road should be sited directly across from one of the Master Plan exits onto Country Club Road, and that a roundabout should be built there.

This feature would provide needed traffic calming on a long road prone to speeding—which will feature parallel parking bays once this plan is accepted.

Proper ADA approved crossings also need to be created at such a roundabout.  There are no other planned upgrades to Murphy Road; if the proper safety measures and ADA compliance features are not installed with this project, we are not only kicking the can down the road, but creating another ADA issue for the City to deal with later.

5)  Rae Road.  This plan encourages pedestrian traffic along Rae Road, which at present has no sidewalks it’s entire length.  Sidewalks on both sides of Rae Road should be constructed as part of this plan.

6)  There is a high embankment just east of Benham and west of the Murphy Road/Country Club Road intersection; this creates a blind corner.  Unless the roundabout is constructed before any additional housing goes in, there will traffic backed up to this corner which will increase the risk of rear-end collisions.

7)   Slalom Road.  The plan fails to acknowledge and address the problems at the existing intersection at Slalom Way and Murphy Road.  This intersection provides access from Murphy Road to Jewell and an adjoining neighborhood. The intersection appears to remain without pedestrian access—no curb cuts, no lighting, no painted markers.  These should be minimum improvements to this intersection, given the volume of traffic the plan proses to introduce.

8)  Country Club Road.  This plan adds four new streets connecting to Country Club in T-intersections without any traffic calming or pedestrian crossings whatsoever.  There is also a bike/ped access path that is dumped onto Country Club Road without a nearby crossing; a multipath similarly lacking crossings.

At a minimum, there should be a marked crossing where the existing Fairway Drive will meet a “future street” immediately across Country Club.

9)  Kids will take the most direct path to school through the ASI.  There should be further study of how to deal with this foot traffic by installing better traffic control, in particular safer crossings and a large pedestrian median.

10)  The City should also consider sidewalks in the older neighborhood west of Jewell, because many more children are going to be moving through this neighborhood to get to school.

11)  The proposed pedestrian bridge over the RR tracks should have a direct tie to the ASI in the development area.

12)  The current schools will be inundated with a serious population increase.  Will new schools be ready in time?

13)  BDC 3.2.200 re Tree Preservation.  As with the Skyline West development, the plan challenges the validity of BDC 3.2.200, alleging it violates ORS 197.307(4).  We agree.

It is essential that some of the mature ponderosa and juniper be saved.  This plan proposes to cut them all down because Bend lacks a strong tree preservation code which imposes “clear and objective” standards for tree preservation, the standards required for consideration of all developments.

We believe a new tree preservation code should be a priority and should be addressed before any developments are approved.  As it is now, the trees which make Bend a unique place to live are being senselessly destroyed. It is not enough to replant street trees:  the City-approved list does not include the ponderosa and juniper which are unique to Bend and which are so important to our quality of life.

Thank you for the opportunity to record our concerns for this project.  We would be glad to assist in any further discussions about these plans.

Sincerely,

Karon V. Johnson

Land Use Chair representing OFDNA


View proposed plans and more information about the project here.

By |2020-01-08T19:53:38+00:00January 8th, 2020|Categories: Land Use|Tags: , |Comments Off on OFDNA’s Comment on the Ward Project at Murphy Road