Traffic changes made to improve safety on Southeast Hawthorne - KPTV - FOX 12

Traffic changes made to improve safety on Southeast Hawthorne

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(KPTV/John Hendricks) (KPTV/John Hendricks)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

More than seven months after a Portland teenager was hit and killed crossing Southeast Hawthorne near 43rd, calls for safety improvements on that stretch of road have been answered. 

Fifteen-year old Fallon Smart was crossing SE Hawthorne street in August when she was hit and killed. For months pedestrian safety advocacy groups, her family and the community have been calling for change. 

On Friday the city completed a project to do just that. 

City crews lowered the speed limit in the area from 25 mph to 20 mph. They also put in a crosswalk at the intersection and safety pedestrian island in the center of the street. 

Jim Houser at Hawthorne Auto Clinic on the corner has seen the area change over the last 34 years.

“People don’t notice the pedestrians as much,” Houser said. “People just go too darn fast and there have been some close calls here.”

Houser says the death of Smart was felt by a lot of people in the southeast Portland community. He adds he is happy the improvements were made fairly quickly.

“It gets people’s attention and they just lift off the throttle a little bit, lift off the gas a little, and pay a little more attention,” Houser said. 

Adding that the changes have already made a big difference.

“They are just using it like it is meant to be and I find people are slowing down even if there aren’t people in the crosswalk,” Houser said.

Houser is hopeful this will prevent any tragedy from happening like the one they felt last summer.

“I think it is good, and I think if it slows people down it is going to be even better,” Houser said.

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