PBOT adding median ‘island’ in intersection where teen died - KPTV - FOX 12

PBOT adding median ‘island’ in intersection where teen died

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Fallon Smart (Courtesy: Family photo) Fallon Smart (Courtesy: Family photo)

Portland is about to begin a construction project at the intersection where a teenager was killed last summer.

The death of 15-year-old Fallon Smart last August spurred emotional rallies to improve street safety, and now the Portland Bureau of Transportation is taking action by building a new "pedestrian refuge" at the intersection of Hawthorne Boulevard and Southwest 43rd Avenue.

PBOT released a diagram of the plans for the project Wednesday. Officials say the new midpoint crosswalk with focus crossing activity to one location, making crossing simpler in the sometimes confusing offset intersection.

In addition, drivers on 43rd headed in either direction will not be allowed to turn left onto Hawthorne. PBOT notes that this change should reduce the risk of crashes for everyone at this intersection.

Smart was hit and killed by a car while legally crossing Hawthorne. All intersections in Oregon are legal crosswalks, but neighbors say the area has caused a problem for a long time because the crosswalks are unmarked.

Fallon’s mother Fawn Lengveins was with her that day and said her daughter was alert when it came to pedestrian safety, though awareness alone couldn't save her.

In September, Lengveins gave emotional testimony to Portland City Council asking for some kind of change.

‘Before we crossed she asked, 'Where's the crosswalk?' and I told her every intersection is a crosswalk - a statement that will haunt me forever," she said. "I do realize that pedestrian and vehicular collisions are increasing and individual responsibility wasn't enough to keep Fallon alive. Something more has to be done so other children aren't harmed and other mothers have a chance to say, ‘I love you.’"

Construction of the pedestrian island and permanent crosswalk is set to begin Thursday, weather permitting, and the project is expected to take a few weeks to complete.

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