Two women who were crossing SE Foster Blvd at 80th Ave on foot last night were struck by a car. One woman, 23 year old Lindsay Leonard, died on the scene. The other,
29 23 year old Jessica Finlay, is in critical condition.
According to the Oregon State Police, the women were crossing Foster in a crosswalk southbound from the Fred Meyer parking lot. Here’s more from the OSP: “The vehicle was travelling westbound on Foster and witnesses stated that it appeared neither pedestrian saw the vehicle approaching.”
Local TV station KPTV interviewed neighbors who say the intersection is poorly lighted. The intersection has a painted crosswalk and a small pedestrian island, but no traffic lights or pedestrian signal.
Witnesses told KOIN that a bus had stopped in the right lane to let the women cross, but that the person driving in the left lane did not see them.
Local business Sock Dreams has confirmed via Twitter that Leonard was an employee. Sock Dreams has been active in the bicycle community, sponsoring events such as Filmed by Bike and the Pedalpalooza Kickoff Dance Party.
The three bicycle fatalities in Portland so far this year have all been in the far eastern part of the city; many occurred in areas like this one where infrastructure is primarily designed for driving cars.
There were two other pedestrian crashes in the area over the weekend, both on highways, one fatal.
Update – November 3, 10:00am – The police bureau has released the identity of the driver, 40-year-old Tito Jose Feliciano of Vancouver, Washington. He has not been cited or charged.
A commenter has informed us that Ms. Finlay is suffering head trauma and remains in critical condition.
Same situation as the E. Powell fatality last year – car in one lane stops at crosswalk, pedestrians proceed, car in second lane hits pedestrians. I am terribly sorry.
I live in this area, and in fact used this same crosswalk (while riding my bike to Fred Meyer) just a couple hours before this fatal crash.
It’s a persistently dangerous crossing. A young boy was killed a few years ago at this same spot, which is what prompted the installation of the crosswalk.
The 35-mph speed limit seems to be a contributing factor. Cars are going too fast through this area to see pedestrians, especially when it’s dark. I would like to see my neighborhood association lobby PBOT to lower the speed limit on more sections of Foster to 25 mph.
You touch on one of the key issues in how our City approaches traffic safety – speed.
The problem is that for some silly reason ODOT is the only agency with the power to set speed limits. Mayor Adams has shown interest in taking that control away from them… but so far, that’s how it works.
If PBOT could change speed limits, far fewer people would die on our streets every year.
It seems that the crosswalk here is kind of poorly positioned right next to the bus stop, so that if a bus is stopped there, it both becomes confusing whether the bus is stopped at the bus stop, or at the crosswalk, and also blocks the visibility of both the pedestrians and any cars passing on the left.
I think something that would be awesome in the meantime, while trying to get authority over speed limits (and maybe even in addition to), would be to install pedestrian operated traffic signals at marked crosswalks on busy streets like this (Powell and Burnside would be other good examples). Traffic signals that would stay green unless a pedestrian hit the button, but that would make it absolutely clear that there is a pedestrian crossing and you need to stop.
Lowered speed limits won’t do much to prevent the type of accident that claimed the life of this young woman. What Portland needs more than lower speed limits are smarter, more aware drivers, smarter, more aware pedestrians, and smarter, more aware (and law-abiding) cyclists; the only close calls I’ve had this year involved other cyclists blowing through stop signs.
I didn’t say speed had anything to do with this specific crash. I was responding to a point raised by MeghanH.
I agree with you we all need to be smarter, more considerate road users… but I stand by my assertion that more power to set speed limits by PBOT (rather than at the state level) would equate to less death and serious injury on our roads.
sorry to get off-topic.
Lower speed limits would actually do a lot to help with traffic injuries and fatalities. More reaction time + less force = fewer fatalities. It’s science. (Not that I’m against everyone being more aware and more intelligent…)
Many drivers don’t realize that the Oregon law states that you must stop if for any reason a vehicle is stopped in a lane next to yours. Its not okay to just speed up and go around them. I was pulled over on my bike by a motorcycle cop a few years ago because a car in the lane next to me was stopped to let a pedestrian cross, which I had been unable to see. I almost got hit crossing at 12th and Harrison a while back for this exact same reason.
Until the world is perfect and all drivers, pedestrians and cyclists obey every letter of the law every time, speed limits are one of those few blunt instruments we have as citizens to protect ourselves and other vulnerable users.
I agree with Dave that the bus stop at this spot complicates how drivers react both to the street traffic (blowing around the bus) and pedestrians (confusing those waiting for the bus with those crossing the street).
@ Brian —
Does this apply to buses stopping at bus stops? If so, there are tons of violators all the time. I think this wouldn’t apply in this case
speed kills! bottom line.
Hopefully the driver has to bear at least part of the blame. If I’m approaching a crosswalk and a bus is stopped on my immediate right, cutting off my visibility, I’m at least going to slow down.
On a side note, I’d rather eat glass then have to bike or cross on Foster and/or Powell. The speed limit on both roads should be lowered.
Speed is very much the issue.
Hit by a car at 20 mph, 97% of pedestrians will survive.
Hit by a car at 30 mph, 80% will survive.
Hit by a car at 35 mph, 50% will survive.
Hit by a car at 40 mph, 10% will survive.
As we all know, posted speed limits have little to do with the average speeds on a given road. Most drivers,, while not consciously ignoring the posted speed limit, look more for other visual cues, such as the width of the road, the width of the lane they’re in, spacing of street furniture, visibility, and, most important, the speed of other drivers. Roads designed to encourage high speeds can be posted with any number of speed limit signs you want, and cars will fly through. And the police do little to stop it, because they prefer to set their speed traps in areas where there are no obstructions, where they can best calibrate their radar guns.
That said, I also hate the way bus stops are positioned right behind crosswalks and intersections, so the bus acts as a huge sightline barrier to safe navigation of cross streets and crosswalks.
While details are still emerging and it’s too soon to know specifics, I must say that I do have issues with the wording by the OSP: “The vehicle was travelling westbound on Foster and witnesses stated that it appeared neither pedestrian saw the vehicle approaching.”
Note the framing of this incident. It’s the pedestrians who failed see the car. Not “the driver didn’t see the peds,” or “the driver passed a vehicle which was stopped at a marked crosswalk” (which I believe is illegal).
it might be helpful if bus stops were placed on the far side of the intersection. it has always struck me as odd that the stops are at the near corner, creating the ambiguity mentioned in comment 4.
for what its worth, I really appreciate bikeportland covering stories about pedestrian fatalities. While your website is a fantastic place to learn about portland’s amazing bike culture and bike plans, you’ve also done an admirable job of moving the conversation towards livable communities and healthy active transportation, and I heartily applaud any and all editorial coverage of pedestrian issues, especially as they relate to the bigger picture of transportation justice and sustainability in Portland.
I noticed the same thing. It’s the whole “blame the victim” mentality, in which every possible effort is made to excuse the motorist.
A story about a motorist killing and injuring pedestrians is of course the perfect opportunity to complain about cyclists blowing through stop signs, isn’t it? Shame on you.
Shortly after I graduated high school oh so many years ago they stopped requiring drivers ed classes using real vehicles on a closed course and on the busy highway. Back then you didn’t pass (and didn’t get a license) if you couldn’t (among other things) drive a standard column shift van in reverse around the whole course and parallel park it. I seriously doubt most drivers today could match the safety skills required of the average high school student from 1979. And we would never dream of zipping by a stopped vehicle in a ped crossing. For too long we’ve failed as a society to take motor vehicle operation as seriously as we should and now we are paying the price with multigenerations of desperately ignorant unskilled drivers. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.
The actual bus stop is on the other side of the crosswalk. If the bus were stopped at the bus stop the rear end blocks the crosswalk. Johnathan quoted koin’s story that the bus had stopped to let the women cross, not necessarily to load/unload.
I pass this spot almost daily and what I notice is people going westbound on Foster sprint off the line at 82nd when the light turns green. That block has a lot of congestion. In that block between 82nd and 80th, there is an arby’s entrance and exit, a Fred Meyers entrance, a crosswalk, bus stop and a very shot left hand turn lane for Harold that is short and backs up often. In this instance I believe it is a matter of speed and attentiveness to safely negotiate this intersection.
I was at the corner of 82nd and Foster on my bike when an ambulance turned in front of us to get to the accident.
Did these girls not peek around the front of the bus to make sure the next lane of traffic over was clear? The only way I can imagine this accident occurring is if both girls just wandered right into the road without looking left and right (at the front of the bus). Not placing blame, but really, these are the most basic fundamentals when we as kids learn to cross the road: look right and left, and if a vehicle stops to let you pass through, you STILL need to look both ways to make sure nothing is coming in the lanes said stopped vehicle may be blocking the view to.
This is a tragic story. I would like to help clear up a bit of confusion regarding #8 & #10. A vehicle is not required as #8 states: “…stop for any reason a vehicle is stopped in a lane next to yours…” A vehicle(s) approaching from the rear must stop if in any lane and stay stopped when another vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross. Obviously, if unable to see around the stopped vehicle the approaching vehicle(s) must assume a pedestrian is present.
getting hit in a cross walk! this is not cool, they just covered the story on the news and pointed to a street light thats out. come on people! wake up.. slow down and yield to life. when can we take back the streets?
If you want to learn about the posted speed, check ORS 810.180. That is the state law that designates ODOT to set the posted speed. It will take an act of the legislature to change that.
To encourage greater compliance with the posted speed (not technically a “speed limit,” by the way), I’d like to see more enforcement with a lower tolerance for excess speed. Have you ever noticed that the photo radar gives the motorist a TEN mph cushion? And the basic fine is only $242.
Like others, I’m concerned about motorists’ tendency to ignore their responsibilities with regard to pedestrians in crosswalks. Again, there seems to be little enforcement. When the Portland Police do an enforcement operation, they even place signs warning of crosswalk enforcement ahead.
@22: while they do put signs up, this only screens out drivers who are paying attention and know the law, which is not their main target. distracted drivers and people who don’t know that they have to stop are the main targets of this type of enforcement, and they do net plenty of folks, proving the sign is not much of a problem for this type of enforcement
In China, little kids are encouraged to salute passing motorists on their walk to school for safety and to encourage kids to learn manners. Are blinking bike lights for pedestrians aimed at motorists considered rude? It’s all about visibility, and cheap LED lights from the dollar store can be had by just about any one.
We at Sock Dreams will do whatever we can to make this a safer crosswalk. We loved Lindsay and miss her terribly.
811.020 Passing stopped vehicle at crosswalk; penalty. (1) The driver of a vehicle commits the offense of passing a stopped vehicle at a crosswalk if the driver:
(a) Approaches from the rear another vehicle that is stopped at a marked or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway; and
(b) Overtakes and passes the stopped vehicle.
(2) The offense described in this section, passing a stopped vehicle at a crosswalk, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §546]
Class B punishable by fine up to $360
This is terribly sad
Jess is also 23, not 29. She’s still in critical condition and has major head trauma. Please let her be okay!
I welcome and support BikePortland covering pedestrian and other vulnerable road user issues.
ambrown #17 it’s worth a lot. regardless if we drive, ride, or walk we all need to be aware of others. building livable communities takes everyone. as in all of us… i use the term “stakeholder” on this blog more and more and i hope it isn’t trite. be active in your community and speak your mind. individuals can make a difference.
velocentric #19 in ’82 when i learned to drive the lesson was the same. caution and courtesy were the rules. wtf happened? oh…. cell phones and texting. a growing sense of entitlement?
Bsti #28 i live in vancouver but will make a point of riding down to patronize your shop. yea i’m a guy and i do like me socks. if you have some advocacy ideas/plans i’m able to help with my time or a few $$.
with the recent death of gordon patterson here in vancouver i’ve realized how small the world really is. i only met gordon once and thought he was a decent and good person. after he passed i learned one of my dearest friends’ taught at ‘bay’ with him for 5+ years and another knew him from church for nearly 20 years. every life does touch many others. from the candlelight vigle for gordon i can safely say he had a positive infuluence on the 1000+ people that were there. that’s what community is… we effect each other, we know each other and we are there for each other. such a simple thing. this is a lesson worth teaching.
“i love you… in a positive kinda way…” gordon patterson/jedi master
Had a similar fatal collision up here in my neighborhood in Seattle a while back. Car in curb lane stops for pedestrian, pedestrian start to cross, another car comes around the first car and strikes pedestrian. Seems like an education/awareness issue. When a car is stopped, one should try to see why, rather than just selfishly just going around. Every day I see examples of drivers who are obviously not looking more than about ten feet in front of their own bumper. Seriously, folks–if you’re driving a potentially lethal two-ton missile, you have an obligation to the rest of humanity to look ahead and behave as if you’re not the only person on the road.
1. Lower speed limits
2. Higher fines–oppressively high fines, for violators
3. Greater police power in stopping motorists
4. Instilling such fear of police in motorists that they internalize obedience to the law.
I used to cross Powell at the crosswalk on 29th on my way to work every morning, but after nearly being killed more times than I can count, I’ve started riding a few blocks out of my way to cross at the light at 26th. The last near-miss was on a super rainy day last fall, and one lane of traffic stopped to let me cross. When I started crossing there was no traffic in the other lane, but a car came barreling around the curve, slammed on its brakes, and hydroplaned for a few seconds before stopping about two feet from my bike. It was so terrifying, I had to stop riding a few blocks later and broke down sobbing.
The same thing happened the year before that, same kind of conditions, but that truck could NOT stop, and left a trail of burned rubber for about 60 feet before fishtailing to a stop in the middle of Powell. Luckily I heard the braking and stopped in front of the first lane, just to watch the huge truck careen by erratically in an attempt to stop. These people are going over the speed limit in the first place, and in unsafe conditions (rainy, dark) on top of it. Pedestrians and cyclists definitely need to be aware to protect themselves, but drivers need to stop acting like speed limits are speed MINIMUMS. If you can’t stop in time to let pedestrians cross at a sidewalk under ANY conditions, you are going too fast.
A 66 year old woman was hit yesterday at the intersection Scholls Ferry Road and Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. I don’t know how she’s doing now, but her injuries were life-threatening:
“‘The vehicle was travelling westbound on Foster and witnesses stated that it appeared neither pedestrian saw the vehicle approaching.’
Note the framing of this incident. It’s the pedestrians who failed see the car. Not ‘the driver didn’t see the peds,’ or ‘the driver passed a vehicle which was stopped at a marked crosswalk'” –TTse
Heh. I saw another story on the “news” the other night about a local person hit by a car while crossing the street. Said the newsperson, “Daylight saving time may be to blame…”
According to the story, the sun was not in its “usual position” in the sky, thus surprising the driver by making it hard to see.
What is with the protected status of drivers? People that get run over seem to be accorded all the dignity and justice of a deer, stray cat, or maybe a raccoon, while the driver that injured or killed them–often due to the driver’s mistake–gets all the sympathy and no consequences?
@35: As much as I agree with the ‘oppressively high fines’, Cops and judges will be more leniant and less people will get tickets because of the tremendous financial hardship. perhaps fines should be proportional to income
Not exactly related to stopping at pedestrian crossings, but it always bothers me to see motorists on a four lane road (on the inside lane) stopping to allow oncoming traffic in the median to turn left across BOTH lanes – as if the stopped motorist has any control over the lane to their right hand side!
A T-bone waiting to happen.
Lindsay was my son’s friend and we loved her and miss her too. A very similar accident nearly killed my best friend in high school. If you are driving a car pay attention! If you are walking or riding a bike assume that all drivers are nearly brain dead and don’t ever trust them.
Good idea to put bus stops at the other side of an intersection to clear pedestrian sightlines.
this is why I stopped using the crosswalks on NE MLK and instead ride six blocks out of my way to cross at a stop light. Too often (about once a week) you’d have one car stop and not the other.
Now that being said (from the bike/pedestrian experience), I have to say that the times I drive on bigger/faster roads like MLK or Foster I find the amount of crosswalks with people standing by the crosswalk but not crossing, people crossing unexpectantly, and bikes or skateboard flying through the crosswalks almost overwhelming to my senses as a driver.
The city certainly has it’s work cut out for itself on this one, tragic that it takes death and injury to get people concerned enough to try to fix things.
@chad: I think you have people standing by the crosswalk and not crossing, or crossing unexpectedly for exactly this reason – crossing a large road with fast traffic is nerve-wracking when all you have to protect you is paint on the street. You’re not going to just walk out into the street when there are cars coming (even though legally you should be able to at a crosswalk). It’s stressful, and when there is a lot of unending traffic, people end up doing irrational things to try to cross.
I really think just installing signals that only turn red if a pedestrian pushes them at marked crosswalks on major streets like that would make a huge difference. It would just introduce a logical, known pattern to what otherwise is rather chaotic (especially from the pedestrian point of view).
“I really think just installing signals that only turn red if a pedestrian pushes them at marked crosswalks on major streets like that would make a huge difference.”
Unfortunately, it also creates a nuisance when idiot kids go along pushing all the buttons just to make the lights turn red, even though there is nobody waiting to cross.
I suppose drivers stopping needlessly is safer than never stopping. Plus, anybody that has driven among sensor-driven signals at off-peak hours is used to stopping needlessly.
“‘The vehicle was travelling westbound on Foster and witnesses stated that it appeared neither pedestrian saw the vehicle approaching.’
Note the framing of this incident. It’s the pedestrians who failed see the car.
We should also do away with telling kids to look both ways before crossing the street….because you know, abdicating your safety to others is always the best approach. Believe it or not, sometimes the victims are victims of their own poor judgement.
The few times motorists may stop needlessly is still good to get people used to the idea of pedestrians crossing there and that they may have to stop. The type of ped signal that would work best if the area is poorly lit is the one that activates a flashing sign as the light turns yellow before it goes to red, similar to the one at NE Sandy and 50th. I think the HAWK light at 41st and E. Burnside would be greatly enhanced with one of these warning signs before the intersection since Burnside curves there and the signal sneaks up on you. I’ve driven that stretch of Burnside, too, and I drive slowly knowing the signal is there, but many don’t know. I speak to other cyclists whenever I ride that route and we have all witnessed a wide variety of vehicles that blow that red light because they apparently were not able to slow down in time to stop, including Tri-Met busses. I once saw a quiet ambulance, without its lights or siren on, just go right on through after the bike signal came on at regular traffic speed creating a near miss for me. (If it’s an ambulance, for God’s sake you’d think they’d at least turn on the siren first if they were planning to run the red. They weren’t going all that fast.)
very sad, sorry to lose a young person senselessly – I hope the person in critical condition has rapid and complete recovery.
I am a little confused as to why the driver would not be cited in something like this.
This is absolutely tragic, I moved to Portland almost a decade ago, and it seemed at that time almost everyone would stop at the crosswalk on the other side of the intersection for a pedestrian.
I’ve noticed that recently if people decide to “stop” for a ped, it’s usually about one foot away from the crosswalk as if they weren’t going to stop at all, and then suddenly decided not to run someone over.
I personally believe that reducing speed limits won’t help, from my observations people don’t pay attention to the speed limits currently posted any way. If they’re in a hurry, (you better get out of their way). New laws, won’t help either, as the current law was being broken at the time (post #29).
All in all this is a tragic loss.
Clearly the driver is at fault in the death and injury. Several folks have said that pedestrians have the responsibility to look for cars. What about the blind, or otherwise visually impaired? Would it have made any difference to this driver, who blew by the bus stopped at a striped, signed crosswalk, if one person had a white cane?
Portland Police’s pedestrian enforcement actions need to include four-lane (and five-lane)streets, and citing drivers who pass a stopped vehicle. They need to include marked and unmarked crosswalks. Signalizing one crosswalk will help a little, but only limits crossing to those signalized ones. Enforcing at all crosswalks, marked or not, will hopefully influence a change in attitude by drivers so it will be safer to cross in all crosswalks, not just certain ones.
Tragically, they were only 2 blocks from one of the pedestrian “half signals” at 78th & Foster. These “half signals” should be an integral part of everyone’s walking map, but they’re unsung heros in Portland.
Portland has 50 of them, they’re the backbone of the “walk to school across busy streets” system.
Condolences to all.
(And, a reminder, if you want to see crashes like this reduced in the future, it would be helpful if we all told our city councilors that we want lower speed limits and stricter enforcement of existing crosswalk stop laws.)