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An auto user killed a woman who was walking legally across SE Stark and 148th today


Overhead view of the intersection. Yellow arrow is the path of the victim.

The Portland Police Bureau is investigating a collision that happened just after midnight this morning at SE Stark and 148th. A driver hit and killed a person crossing the street on foot; then the driver fled the scene.

Just three months ago a 40-year-old man walking on Stark was hit and killed by someone using a car. And last March — also at 148th and Stark — another auto user killed someone walking and then fled the scene.

According to the police statement, “Officers believe the woman utilized the cross-walk on the east side of Southeast 148th Avenue. The woman was reportedly crossing northbound and had a walk signal when she was struck by a vehicle. The driver and vehicle that struck the women left the crash location. Officers searched for the vehicle, but have not located the vehicle or driver at this time.”

It happened just before 1:00 am. If you know anything about this collision, please contact the Traffic Division at (503) 823-2103.

SE Stark is well-known as a dangerous place for anyone outside of a motor vehicle. Just three months ago a 40-year-old man walking on Stark was hit and killed by someone using a car. And last March — also at 148th and Stark — another auto user killed someone walking and then fled the scene.

Kem Marks, the director of transportation equity at the Rosewood Initiative says his community is “very saddened” by this incident. “Unfortunately, this happens in our neighborhood far too often,” he shared with us via email today. “It is clear from the numbers on PBOT’s Vision Zero map that deaths and serious injuries of pedestrians on SE Stark are on the rise.” Marks’ organization is lobbying for more lighting at all signalized crossings on Stark. “We need community driven solutions that meet the community’s needs,” he says.

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Looking north on Stark at 148th.

Despite the clear and present threats to public safety posed by streets like Stark, people are still able to — and very frequently do — drive dangerously on them. And Portlanders pay dearly for the consequences.

“Unfortunately, this happens in our neighborhood far too often.”
— Kem Marks, Rosewood Initiative

The intersection of 148th and Stark is ranked 10th overall for drivers, bikers, and walkers on the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s High Crash Network. Because of its dubious safety record, the street is also a designated High Crash Corridor. As such it’s in a prioritized queue to receive safety upgrades. The City’s Vision Zero Project List (as well as our Transportation System Plan and Regional Transportation Plan) currently includes a project named, “Outer Stark Ped/Bike Improvements” that will cost between $5 and $10 million. It will build new sidewalks, crossing upgrades and cycling facilities from 108th to 162nd. However, the project is currently “unfunded.”

PBOT does have a large project funded in the short-term that will include safety upgrades on Stark. We asked spokesman John Brady about it today. “As part of the project, we are also considering a significant paving element and signal upgrades. This spring we will be doing initial scoping work to examine what safety upgrades would support a safer Stark.” Brady added that Stark is a high priority for the city’s Vision Zero efforts and, “It’s a corridor that needs significant street design changes and investment to improve safety for all users.”

As we reported yesterday, PBOT has plans to build safer crossings on SE Stark at 130th and 155th. It makes us wonder if “spot fixes” will ever be enough when this entire corridor presents deadly choices to road users on a daily basis. It’s no wonder that a recent survey of east Portland residents found that the number one transportation priority is safer walking conditions.

The woman killed this morning is the second person to die in a traffic crash in Portland so far this year.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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