City asks for traffic light at Cedar

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By JAYSON JACOBY

Of the Baker City Herald

The Campbell Street traffic light has a home: Cedar Street.

The Baker City Council chose that intersection for the light, which city officials have wanted to install for more than a decade.

It could be in place as soon as 2006.

Councilors voted 4-1 Tuesday to ask the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to put the signal at Cedar Street rather than one block to the east at Oak Street, the intersection ODOT officials prefer.

ODOT will pay for the light because the section of Campbell Street between Main Street and Interstate 84 also is part of a state highway.

andquot;Cedar Street is a win-win situation,andquot; said Councilor Dennis Dorrah, who owns York's Park Grocery on Campbell Street west of Cedar.

Dorrah noted that the owners of businesses near the Cedar Street intersection want the light installed there.

And residents who live along Oak Street just north of Campbell don't want the light in their neighborhood.

Bill Emery, who owns Humble's service station at the corner of Campbell and Cedar, told the council Tuesday that he thinks that intersection is the best spot for a signal.

Debbie Townsend, who along with her husband, Paul, owns Paul's Transmissions on Cedar Street just north of Campbell, also endorsed the Cedar intersection.

Jeff Jackson, who lives on Oak Street north of Campbell, gave the council a petition signed by several of his neighbors, all of whom oppose ODOT's proposal to put the traffic signal at the Oak intersection.

Charles Hofmann was the only councilor who prefers Oak Street over Cedar Street.

Hofmann said he thinks the traffic signal should be at Oak because that street is closer to the two shopping centers that generate much of Campbell Street's traffic: Baker Towne Square and the Safeway-Rite Aid complex.

Although ODOT officials deferred to the city council on the location of the traffic light, they aren't so flexible on other Campbell Street issues, including the number of lanes.

ODOT engineers intend to maintain the current configuration, with one vehicle lane and one bicycle lane in each direction, with a center lane for left turns.

Councilors discussed alternatives Tuesday, including returning to the four-lane system in place before 1997, but they did not ask ODOT to consider changing the three-lane set up.

But ODOT's Teresa Penninger, who attended Tuesday's meeting, said the only other option the agency would consider is a five-lane configuration, with two vehicle lanes in each direction and the center lane for turns.

But that option would require the city to eliminate not only the bicycle lanes, which the council doesn't consider mandatory, but also curbside parking, which councilors do want to preserve.

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The Baker City Herald
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