n fessenden st
Another person has been killed by a driver while trying to walk across North Fessenden Street.
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.
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.
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:
Family identifies 82yo Sandy Bosch as woman killed in hit & run Wednesday night. It happened at North Fessenden & Polk. Sandy was a mother & grandmother. The suspect vehicle is a red sedan & it should have damage. pic.twitter.com/pTyTaPPz3q
— Mike Benner (@MikeBennerKGW) April 11, 2019
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At first I thought the Portland Police Bureau sent out a duplicate statement by mistake. Then upon closer inspection of the emails, I realized there really were two traffic collisions that caused serious injury to someone walking within just a few hours on Sunday night.
Last Thursday evening a young north Portland resident was hit and seriously injured while walking across Fessenden Street in St. Johns. A source tells us she suffered multiple broken bones and major lacerations to her face. The collision has added fuel to the fire of many local residents who’ve been pushing for safety updates in the area for many years.
Neighborhood advocates plan to attend a meeting of the St. Johns Neighborhood Association tonight where a staffer from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is scheduled to give an update on a project that would make upgrades to this stretch of Fessenden — such as median islands, curb extensions, narrower lanes, speed cushions, and painted crosswalks — all of which could have prevented Thursday’s collision. Advocates are also upset because a man was killed while walking across Fessenden just 11 blocks from this location in November 2017.
Last week’s collision happened to a 13-year-old girl who’s a student at George Middle School. If that rings a bell it’s because that school is adjacent to the nearby section of Columbia Blvd where a 15-year-old boy was hit by a driver and nearly killed as he walked to school in 2016. That collision led to a $2.1 million safety project that PBOT says will being construction in fall of this year.
Portland Police reported late last night that a man was “struck by a vehicle in the 7000 block of North Fessenden.” That would put it near the intersection of N Midway, which is relatively busy with a taqueria, a corner store, bus stops, and apartment complexes. We don’t know many details yet, but police say it was a hit-and-run and they’re looking for a dark colored sedan with front-end damage.
By our count, this is the 48th traffic-related fatality in Portland so far this year (the Portland Bureau of Transportation, who uses state and federal criteria to count fatalities, has the number at 43). There were 44 fatalities on our roads in 2016 and December is typically one of the deadliest months of the year.
North Portlanders are tired of waiting for the City or advocacy groups to save them from the deadly streets in their front yards. They’re taking matters into their own hands by elevating voices of vulnerable road users and demanding attention for their concerns.
Two events in the coming week — one from the Arbor Lodge and Overlook neighborhood associations and one from the St. Johns Neighborhood Association — will focus on dangerous streets where motor vehicle users cause daily environmental, safety and public health problems.
This Friday (10/20) a group of St. Johns residents calling themselves Citizens for a Safe and Attractive Fessenden/St Louis will hold a rally to demand that the Portland Bureau of Transportation follow through with promises. Fessenden/St.Louis is a neighborhood collector street between Columbia Boulevard (to the north) and Lombard (to the south). Residents PBOT to fully implement the St. Johns Truck Strategy Phase II project that was approved after a 17 month public process in 2013 (as part of the St. Johns Truck Strategy adopted by City Council in 2001).