A8 Ellendale and Levens intersection.jpg

The intersection near Lyle Elementary School will soon have a traffic signal.

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DALLAS — The Dallas City Council approved installing a traffic signal at the intersection of West Ellendale Avenue and Levens Street near Lyle Elementary School.

The second of two options — the other is a roundabout — is the least expensive and invasive of the two choices the city’s engineering consultant presented.

Tom Gilson, the city’s engineering supervisor, said the consultant Keller & Associates completed a technical memo with two options in August of 2020. The council had a work shop session on the intersection in December.

“In that (technical memo) they went into further detail on the construction of two long-term solutions for that intersection, one being a roundabout and one being signalization.”

Gilson said the city received input from the Dallas School District and parents of Lyle Elementary School students. Gilson said, the city received seven responses, one from Dallas Superintendent Andy Bellando, one from a teacher and five from parents.

“Basically, the unanimous support was in support of a signal, and not a roundabout.” Gilson said. “So, it is actually staff’s recommendation that the council approves going with the option of a signal.”

He added that a signal costs less than a roundabout.

“It actually doesn’t require us to acquire any additional right-of-way from all the adjacent properties.”

He added it’s the option most citizens wanted. 

Though not everyone attending the Jan. 19 meeting was thrilled with the choice.

Dallas resident Joe Koubek used the public comment portion of the Jan. 19 meeting to express his disappointment that city staff recommended a traffic signal. He believed the roundabout the best option to improve traffic flow at the intersection.

Keller & Associates listed  a roundabout as one of two long-term solutions for the intersection.

“A roundabout would require thinking outside the box. We certainly can’t have that in Dallas, Oregon. People might start to assume that we are a progressive city,” Koubek said. “One thing is for sure: The drivers of northbound, uphill, fully loaded trucks will be thinking of you every time they have to stop at that light.”

 Councilor Kirsten Collins asked Gilson to explain why a roundabout wasn’t the better option for the intersection.

“I think, No. 1, is people are scared of roundabouts,” Gilson said. “My gut feeling is that a lot of the people who are against them aren’t as familiar with them.”

However, in this case he said that a significant amount of property would need to be acquired to build a roundabout. All properties around the intersection would be affected.

“I wouldn’t say that staff has an apprehension about roundabouts,” Gilson said. “We actually support them when they are in the right location. We just don’t believe that this is the right location for a roundabout.”

Councilor Paul Trahan asked if the lane structure at the intersection would need to change with a signal.

Gilson said the size of the asphalt section would not change, though pedestrian ramps would need to be added.

“The nice thing about going with the signal is we would be able to remove the stop sign which we had to place out in the middle of that intersection to make it an all-way stop, which would open it up to all trucks being able to go through there,” Gilson said. “Now we are restricting oversize vehicles. After the stop sign comes out it would be able to open back up to all vehicle traffic to go through there.”

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