City to change dangerous Burnside crosswalk

City to change dangerous Burnside crosswalk

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by Chris Willis, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on November 29, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 29 at 8:39 PM

PORTLAND – Following a Unit 8 investigation, the city said Wednesday that it will make changes to what some are calling the most dangerous intersection in Portland.

Construction at the Fred Meyer at West Burnside Street and Northwest 20th Place has made crossing the street nearly impossible. The crosswalk is officially closed, but some claim they don’t see the signs amid all the construction. One thing is clear, drivers and pedestrians don’t see each other until a pedestrian is already out in the street.

Backstory: W. Burnside crosswalk creates safety concerns

Joshua Jones dodges traffic every time he crosses.

“It's a horrible crosswalk. I feel like I'm playing Frogger every time I go across that thing,” Jones said. “Yeah, they don't see me. I've almost been nailed twice using that crosswalk. I hate that crosswalk.”

Resident Marion Hempstead agrees.

“When you're standing behind the fence people coming in this direction cannot see you. You've got to really get out there,” Marion said.

But after a Unit 8 story original aired, KGW was contacted by the city of Portland. They said changes were coming.

“We are modifying the traffic control plan which will include covering the white stripes in the crosswalk and eventually grinding the stripes down,” a spokesperson for the Portland Bureau of Transportation said.

The city said they’ll continue to work with Fred Meyer and the contractors and act immediately if public safety becomes an issue.

Hempstead likes the idea.

“Oh, that's much safer,” Hempstead said when informed of the changes. “ I had no idea that this crosswalk was closed. I saw the sign, but I didn't know what they were making reference to.”

But pedestrian Alan Hamilton said the city could do more to provide better lighting on the street.

“They're not providing any kind of light, so you walk through here, you're taking your life into your hands.”

Hamilton said. “I'd get some lights all along this fence. Put up some lighting so people can see.”

But the city said, while the changes will improve safety, they will only work if people obey the laws.

A point lost on Hamilton as he crossed the street despite posted signs.

“I'm going to ignore it,” Hamilton dismissing the crosswalk closure.

Changes to the crosswalk could come as early as next week.

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