It’s hard to get anywhere without a plan – especially if you’re talking roads, bikeways and signal lights
It appears that the number one traffic concern in Toledo these days is trying to make the Dairy Queen Triangle work better for those coming from and going to Toledo on Highway 20.
Going west from Toledo toward Newport allows drivers to enter Highway 20 with an easy view west, but requiring a crick-in-the-neck hard jerk of your head to the right in order to see any traffic coming from the east. Lots of near misses at that intersection has won it widespread notoriety of drivers taking their lives in their hands by using it, especially during busy times of the day and holiday weekends.
But there’s no other option but to use it since the other side of the Dairy Queen Triangle doesn’t let you turn west on 20, only straight across to the Siletz Highway or right, eastbound on 20.
During a Toledo Transportation Plan update, an ODOT engineer and a representative from engineering firm CH2M HIll said there may be a couple of options Toledo could pursue. One, signalize both Highway 20 intersections at the Dairy Queen Triangle, or a single signal at 20 and the northeast apex of the triangle. Both would cost a lot more money than just installing a signal light or lights. There is required highway widening to create turning lanes, new signage among others. As from where that money would come is anyone’s guess at this point but ODOT’s rep said it could happen – but only if the city adopts a good transportation plan like the city has been working on for some time, and then start asking ODOT foir money. It may not come right away, but constant pressure coupled with a willingness to put up at least a little bit of city match money will greatly increase the city’s odds of being successful – in that it’s not just a Toledo project but rather a REGIONAL project since just about everyone on the central coast passes through the Dairy Queen Triangle driving along Highway 20.
Other aspects of the pending transportation plan calls for more wayfinding signs, including TRUCK ROUTE signs to help prevent trucks from getting wedged between buildings in the downtown. The town should add a right turn lane on business loop 20 at “A” Street, reduce the slope to let freight trucks use East Slope Road, and allow large trucks to access the Siletz Kiln Site.
Make the “A” Street rail crossing more civilized. Same for Butler Bridge Road and 1st Street rail crossings.
The plan also calls for filling in the gaps between stretches of sidewalks, like along Burgess Road, Business Loop 20 from East Slope road to Sturdevant, Douglas Street/SE 3rd, East Slope Road, “A” Street Loop 20 to NW 1st and along Bay Boulevard.
The tentative plan calls for more crosswalks and includes more signage, and where warranted, flashing lights. More crosswalks at schools, Butler Bridge Road, SE 2nd and Main, NW 1st midblock crossing and Butler Bridge railroad fencing.
The plan also calls for bicycle boulevards – transforming certain neighborhood streets into priority bicycle and pedestrian thoroughfares. The plan calls for more trails, more wayfinding signs to encourage visitors to explore downtown Toledo on foot or by biking.
The plan calls for making railroad crossings more comfortable for drivers; especially for pedestrians and bicycle riders. Several on the council and the planning commission agreed that some of the railroad crossings in Toledo are simply awful.
The plan also calls for considerable education of the motoring public to be aware that bicyclists and pedestrians have the same right to city streets as drivers and that everyone should watch out for each other.
Other proposed policies of the draft transportation plan call for a convenient and robust in-city and intercity public transit and an intercity multi-use trail. Also in the plan is a suggestion to establish a “peoples-march” route within Toledo, offering other ways to explore and enjoy the town. And, OH!…explore the feasibility of establishing a water taxi between Newport and Toledo…maybe even a ferry!
As for further water related transportation enhancements, the plan tentatively calls for assessing whether Butler Bridge could some day accomodate taller boats and barges, explore piers for barge access at Depot Slough (GP), a canoe/kayak/mini-sailboat lauching area near downtown and a place for Port of Toledo’s dredge tailings – somebody jokingly suggested, “to expand the Toledo Airport.”
The transportation plan will be discussed in the weeks ahead, culminating in public hearings before the city council sometime in July or August. Again, the council and the commission were told that if the city has a reasonable transportation plan on the shelf, when money becomes available their chances of making real progress improves substantially.