Serious safety concerns about location for proposed Bi-Mart

By Barb Palicki, Retired Brookings Police Officer January 08, 2011 04:00 am

This had started as a rather lengthy commentary concerning the issues of Bi-Mart and the location that has been suggested.

That has now been shredded as I have been rudely awakened to the fact that, even though a “conditional use permit” has not been issued, it does not matter. Even with the apparent serious problems, the only appeal process available will be to the council and they have already voted as to this happening.

What serious problems, you may ask.

The issues are very clear to those residents who live in the area from Highway 101 to the ocean and Railroad from Fifth to Oak  and  101. Will a traffic engineer be consulted? This is not just a one- intersection issue – this increase in traffic will have a ripple effect throughout the area.

•You have three streets feeding onto Railroad in less than 100 feet, and with a large amount of traffic exiting onto Railroad from Wharf, vehicles on the other streets will have great difficulty making turns. One of the three is Cove, and on Cove you have Cal-Ore Life Flight. They do a great job and do not need to have problems getting onto Railroad to answer calls, especially life threatening one. We all know how some people drive oblivious to what’s around them, and how sometimes they don’t yield to emergency vehicles.

•Railroad is in horrible condition and needs to be redone from Fifth to Oak. There are serious concerns about pedestrian safety since there are many areas missing sidewalks and curbs along the entire length. Will the City of Brookings pay for fixing it, or will it be assessed to the property owners along Railroad?

•With the increase in traffic – which will end up at the intersection of Oak and 101 –  that intersection will need to have the traffic signals changed to allow safe left turns, which means new signage, plus the two sides of Oak will need to be cycled to green, one at a time. Is ODOT prepared to agree to the expense?

Growth is good for Brookings, but not taking into consideration the pedestrian/ traffic safety concerns is questionable as to caring about residents. This should not be a “throw it in and let everyone fend for themselves” type situation.

Is Bi-Mart willing and able to pay for everything that needs to be done?

And what about the 60 jobs that may be generated? Are they quality, full-time, permanent jobs?

My guess would be the top three to five positions will be given to people brought into the area as management, while the remainder will be  part-time and minimum wage, with no benefits.

The problems that will occur with traffic and pedestrian-safety in that location, and the entire fix that is needed  – is it worth it? Do residents need or want that type of business in that area?

How about trying to attract a high-tech-type manufacturing business that would provide good, long-term jobs to enable our young residents to remain in Brookings and live their lives here?

This isn’t about being against having a Bi-Mart – many people like to shop there – but there are other locations that would not present the same pedestrian and traffic-safety concerns.