First look at PBOT’s new crossing of Hawthorne at 43rd – UPDATED

What if this was in place on August 19th 2016 when Fallon Smart tried to cross here?
(Photos: Paul Jeffery)

As promised last fall, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has updated Southeast Hawthorne Blvd with a new painted crosswalk and median island at the intsersection of 43rd Avenue. In addition to the new crossing, PBOT has received permission from the Oregon Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit on Hawthorne between 29th and 50th to 20 miles per hour (down from 25).

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PBOT will install permanent crosswalk and median island at site of Fallon Smart’s death

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Coming soon: A permanent refuge island and crosswalk installed by the City of Portland.(Photo: Paul Jeffery)
Coming soon: A permanent refuge island and crosswalk installed by the City of Portland.
(Photo: Paul Jeffery)

Ending weeks of emotional back-and-forth between transportation reform activists, neighbors and the City of Portland; the Bureau of Transportation confirmed with us this morning they plan to install a permanent crosswalk and a median island on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard at 43rd.

This is the intersection 15-year-old Fallon Smart was walking across on August 19th when a man recklessly and illegally drove his car into her and killed her. It’s also a stretch of Hawthorne that local residents and business owners have complained about for many years; because despite being a bustling main street filled with popular destinations there are no marked crosswalks for eight full blocks (between 41st and 48th).

Just days after Smart was hit the community made a presence at this intersection with their own bodies and a variety of objects. They had one goal: Slow people down so that a tragedy like this never happens again. The intersection became filled with a mix of memorial items like flowers, signs and photos; and guerrilla traffic-calming devices like a orange traffic cones and an unsanctioned crosswalk. The center turn lane used by Abdulrahman Noorah to speed passed someone who had stopped to let Smart cross was effectively closed.

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PBOT removes Hawthorne memorial, responds to Clinton crosswalk controversy

The center turn lane on Hawthorne at 43rd is now available for driving on after PBOT removed a makeshift memorial last night.(Photo: PDX Transformation/Twitter)
The center turn lane on Hawthorne at 43rd is now available for driving on after PBOT removed a makeshift memorial last night.
(Photo: Paul Jeffery)

Last night under the cover of darkness City of Portland transportation bureau crews cleared out the cones, signs, candles, photos and flowers that had created a traffic calming memorial to Fallon Smart on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard.

The makeshift memorial in the center turn lane at the intersection of 43rd Avenue had grown from a few flowers on August 19th to a memorial so large that it closed Hawthorne’s center turn lane. In fact, closing the lane was a secondary and symbolic goal of the memorial — since it was that center lane that allowed Abdulrahman Noorah* to speed recklessly past another driver (who had stopped) just before he hit and killed the 15-year-old Smart.

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