A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

East Albany Plan: It’s complicated

Written October 25th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

This drawing of potential road system changes was shown during Monday’s discussion of land use planning for Albany east of I-5.

Driving back to central Albany from east of I-5 might be more complicated in decades to come if one proposal for road system changes is carried out.

The city council and planning commission held another joint meeting Monday to talk about a possible new land-use and road map for the section of Albany east of the freeway, north and south of Highway 20.

I watched part of the meeting online. One of the drawings that got a good deal of attention was the one reproduced above.

It envisions a couple of intersections on Highway 20 where only right turns would be allowed. One would be at Fescue Street and the other at Price Road.

The map shows several new streets and a couple of roundabouts. The way it looks, traffic going from this area to central Albany would use the new streets and roundabouts in order to get on Highway 20 to head west across the freeway.

The rendering envisions a pedestrian bridge across the freeway, connecting the eastern section to the Lehigh neighborhood west of I-5 at about 18th Avenue.

The city has been working on this “East Albany Plan” with a slew of consultants for a couple of years. The idea is to map how the area should develop with more housing, commercial centers, and open spaces along the creeks.

Whether any of  the ideas are carried out on the ground is uncertain. This would depend on many unforeseeable conditions and factors such as the wishes of property owners.

For example, some of  those at Monday’s meeting talked about the importance of having grocery stores near the existing and proposed housing. The city can zone land for stores all it wants, but in Albany’s experience, grocery chains concentrate their branches where customers have to drive miles to get there.

As for any road changes, long wait times are the rule. ODOT has planned for changes along I-5 in Albany for 20 years or more, and yet nothing is on the schedule to be built.

Still, if you’re interested in the planning process — whether you expect to see the results in your lifetime or not — take a look at the East Albany Plan. Documents used in the planning were attached to the agenda of Monday’s meeting here.

If nothing else, looking through the material tells you how lengthy and complicated today’s land-use planning process has become. (hh)

Here’s a drawing of potential townhouses, apartments and commercial buildings north of Highway 20 near a future extension of Timber Ridge Road.



16 responses to “East Albany Plan: It’s complicated”

  1. Cheryl P says:

    You want to put a roundabout at 18th and Three Lakes?!? For God’s sake why?!? If the city has the money to buy out the homes there, then us it to make repairs where it is REALLY needed and not somewhere to fix something that isn’t broken!

    • Roy says:

      It is broken if you live on spicer Dr. You would know that and how bad traffic is and not to mention the people who just cannot obey the speed limit. Can’t even go out to your mail box without looking to make sure you don’t get hit by some crazy driver doing 50 or faster. So if you do not live on Spicer Dr you have no idea what you are talking about.

  2. Bob Woods says:

    You’re right Hasso. It is complicated. And the reason is pretty simple: Different people have different objectives.

    The City of Albany is tasked with trying to develop a plan that recognizes the different interests and tries to accommodate them as best possible. That is the ultimate objective of “Government”. And “government” isn’t an entity out there, it’s all the folks that live in Albany and exercise their right to vote and their right to participate in the discussion.

    Now the truth is, while a lot of folks vote, relatively few participate in the discussion to create the plan. That’s a shame because participation is what shapes the outcome.

    The conflict comes from those that don’t participate, but after the plan is designed scream bloody murder about what “the government” is doing to them.

    Those folks are the cowards of America. They ARE the government just like every citizen. But they are unwilling to forge an agreement, only willing to trash talk and destroy.

    I post this because all day today, no one commented. There are millions of dollars at stake in needed infrastructure to be implemented by the City.

  3. Hartman says:

    Imagine how horribly wrong things might go if there were any less planning.

  4. Don says:

    Is htere somewhere we coudl get a bigger, more readable map? thanks,

  5. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    “If nothing else, looking through the material tells you how lengthy and complicated today’s land-use planning process has become.”

    And, in a similar way, ask the average Albany citizen to explain URDs, CARA, and TIF.

    I’m reminded of a quote from John Steinbeck:

    “I know now why confusion in government is not only tolerated but encouraged. I have learned. A confused people can make no clear demands.”

  6. Roy says:

    With all the new housing development going on the east side down three lakes and spicer that will create a huge amount of traffic down Spicer Dr. Which already is horrible with people speeding well over the speed limit. Complaints and suggestions have been made like putting in speed bumps and routing fire department down 18th but nothing ever happens so yes the new street plan would be a good idea. Nobody would understand this unless you live on Spicer Dr. Se.

    • Sue Cutts Krieger says:

      I am no longer residing in the area or frequently traveling Spicer Road but it is not constructed and designed in a way that can handle the vastly increased traffic. That road is already overcrowded east of I-5 due to businesses and housing. I have to admit but I have been guilty of driving Fast on Spicer Road in the.past. Like since I was a teenager. It’s a great way to bypass hwy20 to get to Lebanon where I grew up. .

  7. Roy Jackson says:

    If you live on Spicer Dr. You would know the traffic problem there is. Everyone seems to think it is a 60 mile zone when it is 25mph. Complaints have been made as well as suggestions but no response from city or county. Now they are planning to build about 200 more homes and apartments which in turn would create a lot more traffic on Spicer so yes this would be a great idea go for it.


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