Saturday, August 30, 2014

At a recent joint meeting between the city council and the city planning commission it was mentioned that one way to attack pedestrian safety issues in Astoria would be to launch a public awareness campaign.  Today the Oregon department of Transportation began that effort by sending out a news release to local media. It reads:

With recent pedestrian crashes in Astoria and along the North Coast, the Oregon Department of Transportation is urging motorists and pedestrians to use extra caution. ODOT has joined with the City of Astoria in emphasizing pedestrian safety and finding ways to reduce the number of pedestrian crashes in Astoria.

ODOT has been meeting with the city to discuss ways to enhance pedestrian safety in downtown Astoria where U.S. 30 crosses a number of busy intersections that have seen some serious pedestrian crashes, including one pedestrian death last year.

"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."

"We value the partnership that the City has with ODOT and are confident that working together, we will find ways to efficiently and effectively improve traffic and pedestrian safety," said Astoria Mayor Willis L. Van Dusen.

While the City of Astoria and ODOT are considering a number of short term options for improving safety such as more enforcement, better lighting, enhanced crosswalks and using a flag or paddle system while crossing, 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.

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; and Remember, road conditions can impact your stopping ability, so be prepared.

For the latest information on road conditions, visit www.tripcheck.com

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