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Crosswalk, bike concerns raised

Monmouth will look at new pedestrian crossing, other traffic issues

Monmouth Government

Monmouth Government

December 30, 2013

MONMOUTH — George White of the Monmouth Traffic Safety Commission said the new crosswalk at Madrona and Highway 99W is not enough to keep pedestrians safe.

"If a car is in the center lane, that pedestrian is putting his life in danger," he said, noting that cars heading south on 99W wouldn't see a pedestrian crossing there unless he or she was 6 feet tall.

White suggested at the Dec. 3 Monmouth City Council work session putting a red flashing light there for pedestrians to trigger, alerting drivers of their presence.

Mayor John Oberst said rectangular flashing beacons are a big deal right now, similar to what is found in front of the State Capitol.

"Pots of money" are being thrown at these types of installations to improve pedestrian safety, Oberst added.

"We might look at doing the same thing at Church Street and call it 'safe routes to school,'" he said, referring to the intersection of Church Street and Highway 99W.

Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons use an irregular flash pattern that is similar to emergency flashers on police vehicles, according to the Federal Highway Administration's website. The beacons may either have a button for pedestrians to push, or be equipped with a sensor.

Beacons cost $10,000 to $15,000 for purchase and installation, per crossing, according to the website.

Another topic of safety concern came from Councilman Steve Milligan regarding bicyclists.

"I've seen bicycle safety issues this year more than any other year," he said. "I hope kids don't drive their cars like they drive their bicycles. I've gotten to the point where if someone is using a light or stopped at a stop sign, I thank them, because almost nobody does."

Milligan added he has nearly hit a bicyclist three times because the bicyclist was wearing dark clothing and without lights.

Other offenses Milligan said he has seen bicyclists committing include going the wrong way on a one-way street, riding in the dark without using lights, talking on a cellphone, texting, wearing hooded sweatshirts with the hoods up — limiting vision — and using ear buds or headphones.

Police Chief Darrell Tallan said his department works with staff at Western Oregon University to help remind and educate students and faculty about bicycle safety and laws. Public service announcements on the topic have aired on WIMPEG.

"It may be time to do that once again," he said, adding that officers do pull bicyclists over who aren't using front and tail lights.

Oberst said the issue might be a good thing to discuss during the council's goal setting session later in January or early February.

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