Pedestrian accidents have become unfortunately regular occurrences in Portland over the past year. Intersections are one of the main places that these accidents are most likely to occur and lighted crosswalk signs and street markings are designed to decrease the potential dangers. In the midst of being named one of the most pedestrian friendly destinations in a national poll, city officials have made a controversial move. In various locations, they are eliminating these safety zones and putting up ‘no crosswalk’ signs instead.
Pedestrian Accidents Defy Portland Designation as a ‘Walk Friendly’ City
The Walk Friendly Communities program (WFC) is a non-profit designed to encourage officials in making their cities more pedestrian friendly places. In a news release dated August 28, 2019, the group announced that Portland is one of the latest recipients of an award recognizing it as one of the safest and most comfortable places for walking in the United States. Only four other cities – New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle – have received this honor.
The timing of the award has left some safety advocates wondering. It comes during a year which has seen Portland experience a dramatic surge in pedestrian accidents. According to an August 31, 2019 report by KGW8 News, there have been 36 people killed due to traffic crashes since the beginning of the year. This already surpasses the total number of victims in 2018 and is nearly double the amount that occurred only five years ago.
The Walk Friendly award is issued based on each individual city’s efforts at protecting pedestrians through added sidewalks, more well-lit streets, and designated intersections for crossing. However, some of these proposed improvements are undergoing major changes as Portland struggles to improve pedestrian safety.
‘No Crosswalk’ Signs Springing Up Throughout Portland
Intersections are one of the most dangerous places for pedestrians, particularly when walking on busy city streets. Crosswalks, which are designated areas which often use street lights and lane markings to alert drivers, are a proven way to help reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents and injuries.
In Portland, virtually every intersection is designated as a crosswalk, regardless of any markings. Despite this policy, officials recently took action in putting ‘no crosswalk’ signs at various locations throughout the city. According to Bike Portland, the signs are being erected as part of a combined effort by the city and the Oregon Department of Transportation. Officials claim they are being used to help reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents and are only being placed in areas where safe crosswalks are simply not possible. Pedestrian and bike safety advocates claim that rather than making safety a priority, the city is simply restricting access and reducing potential liability motorists face in the event collisions do occur.
Contact Us Today for Help
At the Johnston Law Firm, we act as a strong legal ally on your side when pedestrian accidents happen. To discuss your rights in filing a claim, call (503) 546-3167 or send a message to our Portland pedestrian accident attorneys by clicking here. Free consultations!