GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Transportation said it is working to make certain intersections safer for pedestrians to cross in Grants Pass. ODOT discussed those plans with the Grants Pass City Council Monday afternoon.
ODOT said multiple people have been hit by cars crossing six different intersections on 6th (at Midland Ave., B Street, Steiger Street) and 7th (at School Street and C street). Its solution is to add bump/bulb outs to a few of those locations. The goal is to extend the sidewalk to make the distance shorter for pedestrians and make them more visible to people driving.
“The primary cause of the crashes at these locations were that the motorists were not yielding to the pedestrians and part of that had to do with the lack of sight, the sight distance, coming out from behind parked cars and such made it more difficult,” said Project Leader Dan Roberts in the city council meeting. “By extending the bulb outs again we reduce the distance the pedestrians have to go and give them a better site distance."
But a few city council members said bump outs are just not enough at certain intersections
"What we need at Midland is a light not bulb outs," said Councilor Tyler Flaming.
"Sixth Street from Morgan down to even A Street has been a race track all my life and I've lived here for sixty years. It's dangerous. And if you put crosswalks across areas without some sort of signaling device I could just see nothing but problems coming up," added Councilor Barry Eames.
Flaming said he's lived around that area for years and has seen both foot and car traffic get back up along that intersection. He believes ODOT should get some feedback from the community as well.
“There's been a general lack of an opportunity for public input from stakeholders in the community and at this point I can't support this project moving forward. I wouldn't say that I wouldn’t support it in the end but I think it's premature at this point," Flaming said in the meeting.
Because the funding for this project was federal, ODOT did not need to ask the city's permission to start this project. It’s expected to be completed by 2020.