Anything coming? Hard to tell – Hasso Hering


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Anything coming? Hard to tell

Written March 30th, 2014 by Hasso Hering

straight cornerOregon law allows drivers to make a left on a red light if they are turning on a one-way street. So if you are sitting here on Third Avenue, waiting to go left on Lyon, you should be able to make the turn if nothing is coming down the street from your right. But as you can see, you can’t see, at least not far enough to tell if it’s safe to make the turn.

The city encourages and may even requires landscaping in and around parking lots, even though the advantages of shrubs on downtown lots are overrated, in my opinion. Shrubs are  especially out of place when they grow tall enough to get in the way of looking down the street to see if there’s a pickup or something careening toward the intersection at 35 mph to make the light. (The speed limit is 25, and ODOT has been complaining that it should be 20, but traffic on that main drag usually isn’t that slow unless there’s congestion.)

The obvious solution here is to be patient and wait for the light to change and not even try to make a left on red. This, though, is not the only Albany intersection where sight lines are obscured. Sometimes the fault lies not with not trees or bushes but a building (as on Water Avenue) or a big fat van parked near the corner and impossible to see around. On those corners, you take your life in your hands. Especially if, unlike in the photo above, you’re on a bike (hh)

4 responses to “Anything coming? Hard to tell”

  1. Shawn Dawson says:

    Hasso, a few blocks from there, in front of ‘The Depot’ Restaurant, the shrubbery is a real traffic hazard. My daughter works there and I now pick her up in the alley up the street rather than in front of the Depot due to the shrubbery. There are 3 lanes merging (1 from under the bridge, 1 from the ramp off the bridge, and 1 from in front of the Depot) and it is very, very difficult to see to merge in from in front of the Depot. The shrubbery needs to be removed and replaced with something much lower (grass? flowers?)

    • Hasso Hering says:

      This response came from Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa: “I think Mr. Dawson is referring to the lavender plants. Lavender should be trimmed back each year, once the flowers fall off. I don’t believe this has been happening and the plants are overcrowding the planter space. I will inform street maintenance to check if this is the City’s jurisdiction or ODOT’s.”

  2. Shawn Dawson says:

    Thank you Mayor Konopa for looking into a fix for this small issue. I guess I should have taken the time to visit city hall and ask about it in person rather than grumble on here, but I do appreciate the response. Thank you as well Hasso. Keep up the reporting.


    • Hasso Hering says:

      Mayor Konopa emailed this message: “You can tell Shawn thank you for the kind words. Staff checked in to the planter area that day and our parks maintenance will trim the bushes.”


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