Oregon Officials Warn About Pedestrian Dangers in Astoria
(Astoria, Oregon) – ODOT is expressing some major concerns about traffic issues on the north coast in Astoria. Officials have been meeting with the city over dangers to pedestrians and some serious incidents.
The agency is looking at ways to enhance pedestrian safety in the north Oregon coast town, especially downtown, where U.S. 30 crosses a number of busy intersections. These spots have seen some serious pedestrian crashes, including one pedestrian death last year.
ODOT is in talks with the city of Astoria over many options, but in the meantime it is urging motorists to be cautious.
“We continue to work with the City of Astoria and other North Coast communities to find ways to increase pedestrian safety and reduce the number of pedestrian crashes,” said Larry McKinley, ODOT’s Area Manager in Astoria. “As I’ve said before, all potential safety enhancements and options are on the table and open to discussion and consideration.”
City officials and ODOT are considering some short term options for improving safety, including more enforcement, better lighting, enhanced crosswalks and using a flag or paddle system while crossing.
In the meantime, ODOT suggests pedestrians can exercise a number of safety steps:
Stay Alert and Ditch the Distractions: When walking around, keep your eyes and ears open and ditch the distractions like texting, talking on the cell phone or listening to headphones;
Cross with Caution and Cross at Corners: Don’t assume the coast is clear just because you’re using the crosswalk and the WALK sign is in your favor. Continue to watch for traffic as your cross the street---especially for turning vehicles;
Be Clear to Drivers: If you wish to cross the street, be sure to establish eye contact with drivers. If you’re not sure the driver sees you, let the vehicle go first.
Obey the Signals: Every intersection is considered a pedestrian crosswalk, whether it’s marked or not. If you cross the street outside a sidewalk, you must yield to motor vehicle traffic. Obey all pedestrian signals at the intersection; and
Be visible: If you’re wearing dark clothing, drivers may not see you. Do what you can to be seen. Remember, we are still in winter when it’s hardest for drivers to see you. Be extra careful when walking during dusk or early in the morning.
ODOT and the City of Astoria also had some tips for motorists:
Always have an eye out for pedestrians, especially during dark hours;
When you are entering a popular pedestrian area, expect that you may encounter them and slow down ahead of time; Be prepared to stop when approaching crosswalks;
Drive at cautious speeds in rainy weather and in low-light areas; Eliminate distractions such as cell phones so you can focus on driving.
“Remember, road conditions can impact your stopping ability, so be prepared,” ODOT said in a press release.
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