Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on October 2nd, 2018 at 2:52 pm
One of our region’s most dangerous urban highways claimed two more victims in separate crashes yesterday.
At 3:28 am, the Beaverton Police Department says 28-year-old Uriel Santiago-Sarabia tried to walk southbound across Tualatin-Valley Highway west of 160th when he was involved in a collision with someone driving a Cadillac Escalade. After the initial collision, Mr. Santiago-Sarabia was then hit by two other drivers. The initial person who made contact with him stayed at the scene to help and police are still looking for drivers of the other two vehicles, thought to be a large truck and a sedan.
Then at 9:15 pm, 28-year-old Jim McGauvran was hit while biking on TV Highway just east of SW 331st Avenue. According to a Washington County Sheriff statement, McGauvran was, “riding a BMX bicycle in the middle of the roadway” prior to being struck by a 55-year-old man who was driving a Jeep. The Sheriff’s office also states that McGauvran wasn’t wearing a helmet and that his bicycle was not equipped with lights (note: Oregon law does not require adults to wear helmets). McGauvran was transported to the hospital in critical condition and he died several hours later.
No citations were issued in either of these collisions.
TV Highway (Oregon Route 8) is owned and managed by the Oregon Department of Transportation and serves as a critical link to everyday destinations for people who live and work in the 16-mile stretch between Beaverton and Forest Grove. Unfortunately it’s also a well-known to safety advocates and planners as a danger zone. According to ODOT crash data (reported in Metro’s 2018 Regional Transportation Safety Strategy) there were 55 serious crashes on the eight-mile section between Cedar Hills Blvd and Canyon Road between 2010 and 2014, making it one of the top “High Injury Corridors” in the region.
In 2014 The Street Trust (then the Bicycle Transportation Alliance) made a safer TV Highway one of their five top priorities. They hired a Washington County-based staffer, Lisa Frank, who organized residents along the corridor to speak up for a project that would bring combination of protected bike lanes or off-street trail segments.
The Street Trust’s campaign for TV Highway seems to have ended in June 2016 when Frank left the organization (the link goes to a 404 error page). According to a blog post, Frank said their campaign resulted in, “multiple pedestrian crossings throughout the corridor, better bikeways, and sidewalk improvements.” Progress has also been made on a future rails-to-trails project that parallels the highway between Hillsboro, Cornelius, Forest Grove, and Banks.
Reached today for comment, The Street Trust Executive Director Jillian Detweiler said, “These are terrible tragedies. We strongly believe these deaths were not inevitable and TV Highway must be redesigned to protect vulnerable road users.” Detweiler also directed me to Washington County’s latest effort dubbed, Moving Forward TV Highway, which she says has several goals that The Street Trust helped elevate. It’s also no coincidence that The Street Trust’s new 501(c)4 “action fund” chose to endorse a candidate for Washington County Chair — a move Detweiler said came as a direct result of their experience with advocacy in the area.
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