Project Shakespeare Traffic Impact Analysis Released in Advance of Public Hearing

Project Shakespeare, a proposed beverage distribution facility in the northeast corner of the Pioneer Industrial Park in Canby, is expected to add over 1,500 vehicle trips a day to the roads immediately surrounding the facility if its full expansion plans are realized, according to an in-depth traffic analysis submitted to the city as part of the project’s design review process.

The initials designs include a facility that spans more than 531,000 square feet, over twice the size of the Canby Fred Meyer store located not far away on SE First Ave, which would make it easily the largest building in Canby and one of the largest industrial buildings in the Portland metro area. But its designers also submitted plans for two future expansions, which would add another 112,000 square feet each, for a grand total of over 755,000. 

The traffic study was based on a full build-out, to predict the maximum impact the facility would have on area roads. The verdict? It’s going to bring a lot of cars — but not more than the transportation system can handle.

More on that in a moment. But first, here’s what else we learned in the detailed project materials released by the city recently in advance of the project’s hearing before the Canby Planning Commission on Monday:

  • If approved, developers expect Project Shakespeare to begin operating next year, in 2020.
  • Developers expect the project to open with 242 employees, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Project Shakespeare is planned to consolidate and replace three existing facilities within the Portland metro area. 
  • The project’s primary access will be three separate driveways on SE First Avenue. Access points will also be designed and constructed on the two other roads that border the site, Mulino Road and South Walnut Street, but these will be closed except for emergency access for this first phase of construction.
  • The plans include 389 parking spaces for passenger vehicles and 136 spaces for trucks.

Based on the size of the facility, the type of business and the operations of similar facilities, the traffic study predicted Project Shakespeare would generate a total of 784 vehicles trips in and 784 trips out per day, for a total of 1,569. (I know that math doesn’t add up, but that’s what it says.)

However, because the facility would operate 24 hours a day, they plan to offset shift changes and deliveries to avoid peak hours (7 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.). During those peak hours, the traffic study says Project Shakespeare would add only another 81 trips to the existing traffic in the morning and 89 trips in the evening.

In an email, Planning Director Bryan Brown explained why this is so important.

“The peak hour a.m. and p.m. determinations are what is considered critical in determining whether any mitigation is necessary to maintain city or county level of service mobility standards,” he says. “The 24-hour traffic count is more understandable to the layperson, but the busiest time of day is what causes failure at intersections and such when delay and turning conflicts are worse.”

The traffic engineers looked at the predicted impacts on the eight intersections they believed would be most impacted, finding that the increased volume would not overwhelm any of the existing junctures except for two: Sequoia Parkway and Hazel Dell Way, and Highway 99E and Haines Road.

The study found that a traffic signal would address the concerns at Sequoia and Hazel Dell, the plans for which are already underway. The developers would be expected to pay for 5 percent of the cost of that project, which is approximately equal to their share of the traffic volume at that intersection.

There are no clear mitigation measures that could address concerns at 99E and Haines, the traffic study says, because the intersection does not meet the traffic counts necessary to warrant a signal due to low side street volume.

Doubtless, there will be a number of local citizens who will weigh in on the project when it comes up for public hearing on Jan. 14. Several have already submitted testimony that appears in the record.

Melvin Borg, the owner of one of the involved properties, wrote in: “Make it happen. For too long, we have lived in a non-conforming status on property zoned light industrial. Let’s put it to use.”

However, Roger Skoe, a local resident, submitted a detailed commentary expressing concerns about the proposal. He was especially wary of the idea of funneling hundreds of trucks through residential streets like North Redwood and Haines, which he believes would happen.

“Mixing industrial area truck traffic with cars and motorcycles traveling as fast as they do on S. Haines Road, with other cars slowing to exit for residences would seem to create an increased safety hazard,” he says. “Adding industrial area truck traffic to such a mix would only seem to increase the problem on a road that has not been designed and built to accommodate the increased truck traffic.”

The Planning Commission’s hearing on Project Shakespeare will begin at 7 p.m. Jan. 14 at City Council Chambers. See the project’s traffic study here.

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