Central Oregon

Many Sisters residents embrace roundabout plans

Proposed traffic circle has support

Proposed Sisters roundabout has fans

SISTERS, Ore. - The Oregon Department of Transportation is working with the city of Sisters to put a roundabout at the Barclay Drive and Highway 20 intersection. The move would be the first of its kind in the city.

If all goes well, the roundabout should be approved by the end of this year, and completed by 2016. The project is expected to cost around $1.4 million, but according to some, you can't put a price on safety.

"I think the roundabout is a good solution for the traffic pattern through the town," Tom Craven said Monday evening.

"It's really nice to know the safety factor is being considered," Terry Stohl said.

"They may have them in Bend, but Bend is not Sisters," Earl Schroeder said.

Sisters didn't even have a stop light until the recent Highway 20 construction project. On Monday, they were taken down. The city now plans to put a roundabout right in the heart of town.

"People want the roundabout," said Sisters City Council President McKibben Womack. "We've had several accidents there, and every time an accident happens people say, 'Hey, when are we getting our roundabout? We need to do something.'"

Whether it was a stop light or roundabout, change was coming. One resident told me she's glad it's the latter.

"The traffic circle will slow people down enough, but still keep the flow going, unlike a stop light," Stohl said.

Womack said the new roundabout should be able to accommodate semi-trucks passing through Sisters.

Schroeder believes it's the only way the traffic circle can work.

"If it's built properly, and right for both cars and longer vehicles, buses and trucks, I think we can all learn how to adjust our driving skills and get through there," Schroeder said.

The roundabout also could help local businesses.

"We want to slow people down, and it works to our advantage -- people slowing down before they come into our town," Womack said. "They're going to be looking around, seeing our shops and what's going on in Sisters, and hopefully stopping."

Overall, it's a change Schroeder believes is inevitable.

"People don't like change, but change is constant," Schroeder said. "We'll just have to go with the flow and drive carefully, that's all."

Womack said the roundabout is ranked fourth or fith on the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan for funding priorities.

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