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Cedar Mill News
Volume 7, Issue 6


June 2009
Students often dash through traffic at this location. Photo by Neil Hefty

Sunset High will get an additional crosswalk

Washington County will receive Federal Economic Stimulus money to install solar-powered “School Speed 20” lights at 15 schools throughout the county. Due to high traffic volumes and ongoing pedestrian safety concerns on Cornell Road in front of Sunset High School, it will be a high-priority location.

As an add-on to the Cornell-Murray improvement project, the county will also install a raised concrete median “pedestrian refuge” in the center lane and a marked school crosswalk with signs and pavement markings. Considerable savings will result in combining this work with the existing project. The median work should be completed by the end of August but installation of the flashing lights may not be completed until after school starts.

County traffic engineers, local business owners, school representatives and others gathered in May to discuss the proposed project. Attendees saw a short version of the video taken on May 5th, 2009 showing students crossing Cornell Rd near the center school driveway (shown in the aerial diagram). Actual pedestrian counts for the entire school zone show approximately 600 students crossing Cornell Rd between 7:00 AM and 4:00 PM during one typical school day. About 150 of these students were crossing in the unprotected area near the LDS Seminary and the Sunset Athletic Club. Some of the students could be seen running and darting between vehicles during peak traffic congestion. There have been a number of injury accidents at this location, which makes it a priority for the county.

sunset crosswalkThe speed zone on the west end of the school (adjacent to the sports field) will be shortened by approximately 600 feet once the flashing lights are installed.

Currently, the 20 mph speed zone on Cornell is in effect during all school hours. When the flashing lights are installed, Oregon law requires that they operate “only at times when children are scheduled to arrive at or leave the school.” Normal hours of operation for school flashing lights in Washington County are 30-35 minutes in the morning and again in the afternoon, which covers standard arrivals and departures. Sunset High has varied arrival and departure times through out the day. Washington County has discussed these non- standard times with the Oregon Department of Transportation and received approval for the lights to flash for extended times, possibly up to six hours.

An added benefit of the new school flashing lights will be that they are controlled by a pager system and can be reset on very short notice for changes in arrival departure times due to weather or other conditions. The county will work with both the school and the LDS Seminary to provide adequate coverage for their scheduled classes each year when it is demonstrated that students are arriving and departing for classes at these facilities.

The concrete median island will shorten the available space where vehicles turning left out of the Sunset Athletic Club (SAC) driveway can take refuge. This may slightly increase the wait to turn left during peak traffic hours, but the impact should be minimal

The county says that in order for these improvements to be effective, they must be accompanied by a pedestrian education campaign for the students and enhanced enforcement of both vehicle and pedestrian laws by Beaverton Police and Washington County Deputies.




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Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291