PORTLAND -- People trying to cross the street at West Burnside and Northwest 20th Place said it’s only a matter of time until someone gets seriously injured or killed.
Crossing safely, some pedestrians said, is nearly impossible. Construction at Fred Meyer has closed the sidewalk. The construction has also closed the crosswalk, but nobody seemed to know that the crosswalk is closed.
Signs were posted, informing pedestrians the crosswalk was closed, but people said they didn’t see the signs because the construction has created such a mess.
Only a few inches that separates pedestrians from oncoming traffic. KGW cameras captured one person after another stepping into traffic, Many of them were nearly hit.
Pedestrian Mark Sturtevant said it’s only a matter of time until someone gets hurt.
“When people are driving up here and somebody steps off the curb, one lane will stop and the other lane won't,” he said.
The construction at Fred Meyer also closed down the surrounding sidewalk, so drivers have no way of seeing people before they step out into the street.
Marcia Schneider said she had a close call.
“I mean, I thought we were going to get hit,” she said.
Her friend, John Shaneyfelt, agreed.
“You can't see anything at first, when you're trying to stand out of the way there you can't see any of the cars coming,” he said.
There is no “walk/don’t walk” sign for pedestrians at the intersection, and there are no traffic lights for drivers, either.
Many of the drivers have to stop suddenly, often slamming on their brakes to avoid hitting a pedestrian in the crosswalk.
Fred Meyer is aware of the confusion at the intersection and said they are working with the city on a solution.
The remodel is a $20 million project to expand the stadium store, adding 30,000 square feet to the building. The only way to complete the demolition safely is to close the sidewalk and crosswalk at 20th Place and Burnside, officials said.
Fred Meyer’s Melinda Merrill said the store is aware of the concerns.
“We were made aware of concerns from customers that people are still trying to use the crosswalk across Burnside on this side of the store, even though we’ve made it clear the sidewalk is closed.”
“Fred Meyer and our general contractor are talking with the City of Portland to determine additional measures to increase the safety at this intersection, such as somehow blacking out the striping that makes it appear that there is still a cross walk there,” she said.
Diane Dulken of the Portland Bureau of Transportation sent KGW a statement, saying, “We can create the conditions for safety but it’s up to people to obey the laws and keep themselves safe.”
Changes to the intersection could happen in the next couple of weeks. Until then, the crosswalk at Burnside and 20th Place is closed.