Redevelopment may increase traffic but road improvements can make that bearable, say consultants

According to a recent analysis produced by consultant DKS Associates, if it improves its transportation network, the City of Wilsonville can handle the increased traffic that would occur as a result of its proposed plan to turn Town Center into an attractive array of mixed-use facilities.

Based on the full build-out of Town Center by 2035, which could include a doubling of commercial square footage, the developments in Town Center are projected to boost traffic by 786 evening peak hour trips. However, the City doesn't project that the Town Center development will be completed by 2035.

To account for the traffic influx, potential improvements include eliminating eastbound and westbound turn lanes at the Wilsonville Road and Town Center Loop West intersection, constructing an intersection that connects the extension of Parkway Avenue with Wilsonville Road and stopping vehicles from entering the Town Center Loop West and Park Place intersection, among other changes.

"With improvements, the intersections would meet mobility targets on Wilsonville Road," DKS representative Garth Appanaitis said at the Nov. 5 Wilsonville City Council work session. "It (the changes) shifts conflicts away from the (Wilsonville Road and Town Center Loop West) interchange area to other roadways."

Appanaitis said eliminating turn lanes from Wilsonville Road to Town Center Loop West would be beneficial.

"The intention would be to reduce the number of turning conflicts that are now on Town Center Loop West and also to deter some of the traffic that is coming through there from areas to the north and to the west that aren't visiting the Town Center area," he said.

Due to planned residential development in Frog Pond Council President Scott Starr was skeptical of the analysis and indicated he believes the City should be more cautious about adding density in Town Center.

"It's mind-boggling to me," Starr said at the work session. "If we put in Frog Pond, we're already backed up where Chase Bank is right now trying to go west and our solution is to put in a ton more people to overload the system? Wow."

The presentation was informational and the City will discuss traffic in Town Center again at a later date.

5G technology could be an eyesore

During another informational presentation at the work session, Telecom Law Firm Managing Partner Jonathan Kramer provided the City an update on a new Federal Communications Commission policy that could create what he termed eyesores" across Wilsonville that would be "more ubiquitous than fire hydrants."

The FCC order limited municipal governments' abilities to regulate small wireless poles in the public right-of-way.

Kramer said that new 5G wireless technology requires small wireless facilities to be placed on essentially every block throughout communities and the FCC order is designed to accelerate the implementation of the poles, which Kramer said could include 60 small wireless poles per square mile per wireless carrier, compared to 10-15 for the current 4G technology. The facilities can be up to 28 feet for the equipment and up to three feet for the antenna. The ruling is currently under judicial scrutiny.

"That's a pretty conservative estimate of what's coming down the path and that's why the decisions made by City Council will have a tremendous impact on the look and feel of Wilsonville over the next 40 years," Kramer said.

`Kramer suggested that the City should consider requiring all equipment to be underground, with the exception of antennas, and to require the facilities be spread out enough so they don't clutter together.

The City will consider the issue again at a later date.

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