Cedar Links Drive is on track for a major upgrade, but one resident thinks the city's requirement for a traffic signal at Foothill Road will create more problems than it solves.
"At night, cars will back up at the light, and a semi-truck will come over the hill and won't be able to stop," said Gary Edwards, a 62-year-old resident who lives close to the proposed intersection. "It's a recipe for disaster."
As a condition for development of the former Cedar Links golf course, the city is requiring a new intersection at Foothill Road to handle the additional traffic.
Edwards said he can understand widening Foothill and improving the "T" intersection with Cedar Links Drive, but he can't understand why the city would require a traffic light.
Edwards said he'd prefer the city just put a stop sign at Cedar Links or consider building a roundabout, pointing out how well they work in Bend.
The city does plan to install a roundabout where Cedar Links connects with Springbrook Drive, as well as adding sidewalks. The city expects the cost to be about $1 million, and construction could start next year.
Eric Artner, a local representative for Cedar Investment Group LLC, which is developing the golf course, said he thinks the new intersection and traffic signal are needed.
He said he doesn't see any problem with the hill just before the intersection.
"The line of sight to me looks pretty good," he said.
Artner said the intersection design, produced by two engineers, is in for review with the city, and he expects work to begin on it within a month.
The new subdivision on the 94-acre Cedar Links subdivision should also begin shortly. Artner said 16 lots are in for plan review.
"We're going to start slow," he said.
He said the project will include a 160-room congregant care facility, a mix of single-family houses and townhouses, and a 14-acre commercial area.
Artner said there have been discussions with the Parks and Recreation Department about a trail system through the project.
The city of Medford recently approved spending $1 million to create a 5.5-acre park on the west end of the former golf course.
Cory Crebbin, Medford Public Works director, said the city's analysis indicates a roundabout wouldn't work well at Foothill and Cedar Links — but would be effective at Springbrook.
He said the Cedar Links and Foothill intersection will be designed to make it safer than what's there now.
Cedar Links Drive currently makes a couple of jogs just before it meets at an acute angle with Foothill.
As part of the new configuration, Cedar Links would be moved to the south and intersect with Foothill in a more perpendicular configuration.
The city previously acquired a triangular piece of property wedged between Cedar Links and Foothill, where the new intersection would be located.
He said the intersection is necessary to accommodate the increased traffic expected from the Cedar Links development.
"Traffic signals are generally installed to improve traffic safety," he said.
The intersection will also be designed to accommodate four traffic lanes and a turn lane that have been proposed for Foothill Road, which traffic engineers want to upgrade to provide a more viable north-south route through the valley.
Crebbin said it's up to the developer of the Cedar Links property to design the intersection and pay for it, estimating it will cost about $600,000. He said the traffic signals would be installed in a manner that would leave room for future road widening.
Any new intersections are designed to minimize traffic backing up, and left-turn lanes provide a safer alternative than the existing two-lane Foothill Road, Crebbin said.
Traffic volumes and traffic movements will be a major concern for the city as it reviews the intersection plans, Crebbin said.
At the same time, the city can't account for all driving behavior in designing roads.
"People ask us all kinds of questions like, 'What about if a drunk driver comes along?'"‰" he said.
Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @reporterdm.