It happened again.
Here’s the email sent out by Tubman Middle School Principal Natasha Butler on Friday afternoon:
“I want to inform you about a recent incident involving student safety.
On the morning of Friday, January 4, on the way to school a student riding a bike collided with a car at the NE corner of Vancouver and Russell streets. According to a witness the student was crossing with the traffic light and that the driver stopped and talked with the student. The student was not seriously injured and is back in school.
I want all our students to be safe whether they walk, bike or ride the school bus. The middle school years are a time when our young adolescent students are maturing and learning valuable skills towards independence. Here are some bike riding safety tips for students as well as bike riding and driving tips for adults for families to review from our partners at Safe Routes to School.”
The intersection of Russell and Vancouver is slightly offset, very wide-open, and dominated by the presence of drivers and their cars. The crossing distances are vast and it’s not hard to imagine someone being hit at this location.
As you may recall, back in October a student was hit by a driver while walking across North Flint just outside Tubman. Friday’s collision was just one block away.
After the last collision, I met with two concerned parents outside the school during the chaotic morning drop-off. One of them, Jillian Wieseneck, told me, “Everyone’s afraid their kid is going to get hit.” There were plans to do more community outreach and education about road safety. We haven’t confirmed if those things ever happened.
One Tubman parent posted Butler’s message on Twitter and expressed frustration about the existing conditions: “Harriet Tubman Middle School has been open six months, and already two students, one on foot and one on bike, have been hit by cars. Both kids were following traffic laws. What’s it going to take to make this area safer, @PBOTinfo?”
Safety concerns were paramount at the start of this year as Tubman re-opened as a Portland public school. It turns out those concerns were very warranted.
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