City Council Response to HS/Civic Center Crossing Issues

At last night’s city council meeting, the city manager and council provided an update on the issues that citizens have voiced concerns about regarding the ORHS/Civic Center crosswalk. Mr. O’Connor explained that he met this past Friday with the ORSB chair, Mr. Smith and with the ORS Superintendent, Dr. Bailey. Corrective actions are as follows:

1. Implement a control mechanism to address traffic flow issues

Per Mr. O’Connor: There will be a police officer starting Monday (Oct 27th) to specifically direct traffic

2. Increase the visibility of the crossing guard

Also starting Monday, the ORPD will provide the ORHS/Civic Center crossing guard with a flashlight

3. Increase public awareness/enforcement of speed zone and new pedestrian law

Per Mr. O’Connor: They will start issuing citations

Ms. Miller asked about setting up the radar speed sign trailers to warn drivers approaching speed zone – Mr. O’Connor said they would do so

Mr. Hensley inquired about a request he’d made some weeks ago about speed tables. Mr. O’Connor said that they made the request to TDOT a few weeks ago. (Follow up needed)

Mr. O’Connor also said that the speed cameras should go up in about 90 days. The city plans to place both a speed camera and a RLC at Tulane/OR Turnpike intersection.

5. During school start and release times, temporarily make the high school Turnpike exit one way for entering traffic only. Exiting traffic could be re-routed to exit only at N. Tulane Ave.

Mr. O’Connor explained that re-routing exiting HS traffic is up to the schools. He emailed Dr. Bailey on October 21st to determine if the schools were open to the idea.

Other issues discussed:

Per Mayor Beehan, a pedestrian bridge would cost about $3 million. He and the city manager both stated that they would welcome private funding if it were offered.

Per Mr. O’Connor, they have not pursued installing a red light at this particular intersection primarily because it comes with a $100K price tag. He also said that they would need TDOT to sign off on it if they chose to pursue it.

Ms. Smith inquired about moving the crosswalk to Tulane. Mr. O’Connor explained that kids will take a direct path before going out of their way to go to another crosswalk. Those headed for the civic center or library would be more likely to take the risk of crossing where they do now even if a crosswalk were absent.

All in all, it was a very informative discussion and I was very pleased at the level of activity that has occurred since last week and at the level of participation of council.

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