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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Pedestrian Friendly Foster Road?

Posted on Wed, Sep 15, 2010 at 1:46 PM

Foster_crosswalk.jpg
  • East Portland News
Last night at Kern Park Church on SE Holgate and 68th, neighbors, pedestrian rights activists and Mayor Sam Adams got together and talked about solving the dangerous driving problems on Foster Road.

The intersection at 80th and Foster saw the deaths of two young women last year, crossing the street on the way home from Fred Meyer's. Not long after that, a man was killed just a couple blocks down the street, at 52nd and Foster. 122nd and Foster also claimed the life of a bicyclist, who was hit alongside his friend. The friend was sent to the hospital in a coma.

For more information on these accidents, check out Sarah Mirk's previous articles here.

Last night's event saw such a large turnout, the organizers ran out of chairs. The main issues the community pressed for were to slow down traffic, and to have greater control over their own streets.

Sam Adams and his team answered them directly, explaining the steps they were taking to slow traffic down on Foster and nearby streets to make it safer for pedestrians:

foster_road.jpg
On 82nd Avenue, the city has started work to install:

- Median Islands
- Rapid Flash Beacons
- Sidewalks

On 80th and Foster, the city has already installed rapid flash beacons that pedestrians and cyclists can activate by a push button.

On 96th and Foster a red light running camera has been installed.

Next month, the city will upgrade the crosswalk at 56th and Foster.

Adams adds that, "the street needs traffic lights, there's no question," but went on to explain that Foster is owned by the state—and pushing for the state to change anything is a long process. Adams did say that they are trying to switch Foster to city control, which would be more in line with the community's wish of being a grassroots neighborhood and being able to control their own streets. EDIT: Just to clarify, ODOT controls Foster only around the 1-205 from 92nd Ave to 100th.

Some long-term plans for Foster (called the "Streetscape Plan") include the streetcar, which Adams argues would not only slow traffic down, it would bring more business to shop owners since it stops every two streets to let people on and off, thus encouraging pedestrians. The mayor's team also has their sights on more bicycles on Foster.

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