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Another person hit and killed while crossing North Fessenden

Posted by on April 11th, 2019 at 11:28 am

Crisis.

Another person has been killed by a driver while trying to walk across North Fessenden Street.

Commissioner Eudaly expedited installation of new speed limit signs last month.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

According to the Portland Police Bureau a woman was hit while crossing near North Polk Street at around 10:30 pm last night. The driver of a red sedan sped away and is still on the loose.

This brings the toll to two deaths and two serious injuries in the past 15 months.

Just over one month ago we reported that Fessenden was in crisis. Five days later, on March 1st, Portland Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Chloe Eudaly stepped in. “This latest tragedy has shaken the community,” she wrote on Facebook, “and I understand why.”

Eudaly took action by expediting a change to the speed limit from 35 mph to 25 mph. She had city crews install the signs immediately. Speed reader boards have also popped up on the street.

But it’s clearly not enough.

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PBOT knows this. They’ve been harangued by local residents and activists like Donna Cohen, leader of the Citizens for a Safe and Attractive Fessenden/St Louis/Lombard Facebook page.

Cohen and others have clamored for long-promised safety upgrades like median islands, flashing beacons, curbs extensions, a new lane configuration, and more. PBOT’s St. Johns Truck Strategy Phase 2 project will deliver these upgrades; but it has taken what feels like an eternity to materialize. The plan itself was adopted by council in 2001. The grant to build Phase 2 was accepted in 2010 2013 and engineering and design recommendations were completed in 2013.

PBOT finally received FHWA approval to proceed with the $5 million project in October of last year and construction is finally underway.

From, St. Johns Transportation Concept Development Project, 2013 prepared by T-Y-Lin International for PBOT. North Polk is on the left.

For Cohen and other residents, it didn’t come soon enough. On her group’s Facebook page today, Cohen pointed out that PBOT’s plans call for a new median island and crossing on N Tioga Street — just one block from where the woman was killed last night (see graphic above). “If PBOT had not dragged their feet on this project this is what would be at Tioga now – a 16′-wide median island. You cannot go nearly as fast around a 16′ median island as on a narrow island or a straight-away.”

This is the third traffic fatality in Portland in less than 24 hours and the sixth in the past four days. So far this year 14 people have died on our roads, eight of them were walking.

UPDATE, 5:01 pm:

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

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James
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James

Lower speed limits don’t mean squat if the bloody city doesn’t enforce them! I’ve had cars blow past me in a 30mph zone while they were in the bike lane doing close to 50mph. Nobody stops at stops signs, especially those turning right. I rarely see cars pulled over for traffic violations. All in all, this town really sucks and I can’t wait to move away!

Middle of The Road Guy
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Middle of The Road Guy

I just cannot wrap my head around a hit and run. I get that they are a car-specific incident but I also think they are symptomatic of other societal trends such as a sense of not being part of a community or the responsibilities that come with that.

Traditional urban planning is certainly to partially to blame – the way our communities are designed results in a minimization of human contact. Zoning certain uses (housing) in one area and other uses in another (commercial), we get into cars in a garage, drive around in an isolated barrier, arrive at a location and often pay no attention whatsoever to those around us.

Technology isn’t helping either – people get their entertainment and information from little devices instead of interaction and have virtual instead of real communities. We’re seeing a gradual reduction in social skills (less control over anger and impatience) and adherence to the unwritten social contract.

I don’t think there is a solution – just an acknowledgment that it’s only trending worse.

Chris I
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Chris I

We need legislative authority to install speed cameras all over the city. Not just on the high-crash corridors.

dwk
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dwk

How many drunk drivers are out there?
It is only surprising now that anyone stops.

Jim Lee
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Jim Lee

We should just do all our own traffic stuff and let ODOT sue if they do not approve.

MTW
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MTW

Even if I thought a city could “enforce” their way to road safety, Portland quite clearly can’t. We’re broke (currently proposing to close parks and community centers) and already under-staffed at PPB. Designing unsafe road conditions and then trying to use police man hours to ticket their way out of the problem is ineffective, wasteful and almost certainly inequitable.

The streets need to be re-designed in a way that forces compliance (with or without agents of the state being there to drive compliance rates.) Unfortunately, people will drive as fast as THEY feel safe and that high threshold for personal safety (particularly in an SUV) is incompatible with a safe and welcoming environment for VRUs.

2 people have died in 24 hours, treat this like the emergency it is. Until we can afford to re-engineer these streets properly (with concrete, diverters, re-painting, etc.,) break out the orange cones and take some lanes out. Tactical urbanism and traffic calming.

donttreadonme
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donttreadonme

Clearly it is past time to close this road to automotive traffic. There isn’t much question of what the problem is here.

fed up.
Guest
fed up.

The systems and institutions we have in place are clearly insufficient and the people running them are apparently uninterested in implementing actual solutions and seem to be content with saying “we’re working on it” each time another person is killed. Why does this continue to be an acceptable situation? Why do we continue to put up with this? Why do these “leaders” and elected officials refuse to do what is asked of them–to protect the people who live and work in this city? What in the hell will it take for this to stop? I’m fed up, angry, and devastated.

bikeninja
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bikeninja

Why does everyone always think more and more people are going to move to Portland. If we keep on going on in a descent towards lawlessness on the roads and encampment clogged bike paths we will quickly become a cross between Mad Max and “The Warriors.”

J_R
Guest
J_R

On one day 18 years ago, 3000 people were killed. That resulted in an extra hour of delay for every airline passenger and and a $5 fee for every flight and a whole lot of inconvenience.

Every month, 1500 people are killed by drunk drivers, but there is no political will to do anything! We don’t allow random sobriety stops; we only require “proof of insurance” once every two years.

It’s absolutely disgusting!

Stephen Keller
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Stephen Keller

I sure wish those stripped buffers between bicycle and motor-vehicle lanes were actually six-foot tall walls like the drawings suggest. I live over there and cars routinely exceed the 25 mph limit along this stretch by a lot.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Drove on this road today and was surprised to see the 25mh limit on this thoroughfare. Too slow. Then I saw an article on traffic was slowed to save lives.. but 1 month later a tragedy. This doesn’t seem to be the answer that people were hoping for.