Safety improvements scheduled for intersection where woman died - KPTV - FOX 12

Safety improvements scheduled for intersection where woman was killed

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Heather Fitzsimmons Heather Fitzsimmons
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Major changes are on the way for a Portland street where a young woman was killed while using a crosswalk earlier this year.

Heather Fitzsimmons, 29, was using the crosswalk on Northeast Glisan Street at Northeast 78th Avenue. Police investigators say the woman entered the crosswalk when one vehicle stopped for her, but another vehicle continued driving and hit her.

"She had mentioned many times about her concerns about that street, where she had to cross it two times a day for three or four years," said her father, Jerry Fitzsimmons.

He said his daughter's concerns were not for herself, but for her students at the YMCA's after-school program at Vestal School.

Neighbors had also raised concerns about the safety of the intersection, which requires pedestrians to cross four lanes of travel.

The city of Portland Bureau of Transportation will convert the street from 60th Avenue to 80th Avenue into a three-lane roadway, including one lane of travel in each direction and a center turn lane.

Parking rules along Northeast Glisan Street will change to allow parking at all hours.

Additionally, the intersection where Heather Fitzsimmons was hit will be changed to include a pedestrian-safety island and a pedestrian-activated beacon that flashes to alert drivers to the crosswalk.

"Knowing the community was already complaining about that made us feel like this is something that should have happened sooner," Jerry Fitzsimmons said, "but being a Monday morning quarterback is easy. It's easy to look back and say you should have done this before that. Something like this shouldn't happen. But it did. And the best thing is now the city has agreed this is an unsafe crosswalk and they're going to fix it."

According to the Bureau of Transportation, 301 people were injured and two people were in killed in crashes on Northeast Glisan between Northeast 60th and 82nd avenues.

Traffic will be restricted to one lane in each direction from July 22 to Aug. 6 while work is done on the road. The lane closures will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays only.

The city developed the safety changes with the Montavilla Neighborhood Association, the Portland Police Bureau, local businesses, churches and schools.

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