Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on November 6th, 2009 at 8:48 am
“The sheer number of serious collisions between pedestrians and cars this past week demonstrates that our traffic safety deficit is not found in one person’s error.”
— Steph Routh, Director of Willamette Pedestrian Coalition
On Sunday night, two young women were struck by a car while attempting to cross the street at SE 80th and Foster; one was killed and the other seriously injured. Several other traffic incidents in which people on foot were killed or sustained major injuries also occurred in the past week in Oregon.
Portland’s pedestrian advocacy group, the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition (WPC), says these incidents demonstrate an acute need for more investment in complete streets. They plan to hold an awareness action at the site of the fatality on Foster Road to bring attention to this issue. Here are more details on the event:
There will be a quiet safety awareness action along SE Foster Rd near 80th Ave. on Tuesday, 10 November 5:00-6:30pm. If you would like to participate, you are invited to bring a homemade sign that asks everyone to watch out for one another and to share the road safely. Please contact the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition with any questions or comments: steph at wpcwalks dot org.
(Photo © J. Maus)
In a statement released this morning (download PDF here), the WPC also expressed serious concern over the state of infrastructure, safety, and awareness of the needs of people walking through public space and called for “immediate response and change.”:
Funding is essential to improving our region’s pedestrian environment. Entire neighborhoods remain without sidewalks. Pedestrian connections to bus stops and business centers are incomplete or absent in many areas. Additional funding is necessary, and our elected officials need to prioritize transportation that is used by everyone, for everyone is a pedestrian at some point in their day. The recent transportation bill that passed the state legislature, for example, did not raise the minimum spending on bicycle and pedestrian facilities from 1% to 1.5%, which would have been a small but a positive step. Instead, we received earmarks for highway projects. This is recessive and needs to change.
The WPC statement also drew attention to the fact that the number one cause of pedestrian injury in Portland is failure to yield to people in crosswalks. Oregon law states that every corner is a crosswalk and that vehicles must “stop and stay stopped” when a person wants to cross whether the crossing is marked or not.
Pedestrian safety issues don’t usually gain as much attention as bike safety issues do in Portland, even though the number of people killed while walking far outpaces those killed while riding a bike. From 1996 to 2007 there were 130 people killed in traffic while walking versus 29 people killed while biking.
Pedestrian Safety Awareness Action
SE Foster Rd near 80th Ave.
Tuesday, November 10th 5:00-6:30pm
Download Willamette Pedestrian Coalition Press Release for more details (86kb PDF)