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Stop for pedestrians - it's the law

Lake Oswego Police will hold a pedestrian safety operation Feb. 27 at Fifth and A

Editor's Note: Due to bad weather on Wednesday, Jan. 30, Lake Oswego Police postponed the pedestrian safety event until Wednesday, Feb. 27.

When she crosses South State Street, Myrna Cunningham risks her life.

Cunningham said she never feels safe walking across the intersection of North Shore Boulevard and South State Street

'You take your life into your own hands,' she said.

The intersection is a hub of activity, as drivers turn into Oswego Village to shop, or make their way south toward McVey Avenue or West Linn.

During evening rush hour, Cunningham plants herself at the nearby Starbucks and waits for traffic to die down before she crosses State Street.

Lake Oswego Police say they're also concerned about pedestrian safety here.

'We all know that when we're a pedestrian we can even have eye contact with a driver and they won't stop for us,' said Capt. Don Forman, spokesman for the police department. 'We have to be aware of our surroundings when we're driving.'

To that end, the Lake Oswego Police Department will be conducting a pedestrian safety operation at the intersection of Fifth Street and A Avenue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 27.

The primary focus of the program is to raise the awareness of pedestrian safety issues and to reduce the number of auto/pedestrian accidents within the city limits of Lake Oswego, according to Lake Oswego Police Lt. Douglas Treat.

Treat said there have been a number of recent citizen complaints as well as a recent auto/pedestrian accident, prompting the Lake Oswego Police Department to address new concerns.

On Dec. 15, a woman was injured and taken to the hospital after she was hit by a car at A Avenue and Fifth Street.

The accident happened at 6:15 p.m., and the woman was heading north across the intersection. She got halfway across and was struck, according to Forman. He said the driver, who was cited for failure to stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian, was probably traveling 25 or 30 mph.

The most recent fatal pedestrian/accident was on Dec. 21, 2005, when a 57-year-old woman was struck as she crossed D Avenue, near North State Street at 3:30 p.m. She had just stepped off a southbound bus and was hit when a northbound driver turned left onto D Avenue. The driver was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian in an unmarked crosswalk.

And on Jan. 6, a man said he was nearly hit by a car on Charles Circle at 3 p.m. Police caught up with the driver, who later apologized to the pedestrian.

At the Jan. 30 pedestrian safety operation at the intersection of Fifth Street and A Avenue drivers who don't stop and yield for pedestrians, with a safe distance between them and the crosswalk, will either be ticketed or warned.

The police will only take action if the pedestrian has completely entered the sidewalk. The cost of a ticket is $242.

The pedestrian safety operation will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Warning signs will be posted near the intersection 24 hours before the event.

Treat had been planning the safety operation in advance of the Dec. 15 pedestrian/car accident on A and Fifth.

The city doesn't have any immediate plans to upgrade the intersection, but Forman said one option would be to embed crosswalk lights in the pavement. The lights would be connected to a pedestrian-activated switch.

'We're concerned about A Avenue (and Fifth) and want to make it safer,' Forman said.