Danger exists for pedestrians using downtown crosswalks
Supposedly, the city of Lake Oswego encourages pedestrians. However, as a pedestrian, I find it more dangerous than ever to cross streets, in a crosswalk, even with the 'walk' signal in my favor.
Not even going to mention the hazard of crossing First Street at A, when in spite of crossing only when the signal indicates walk; eastbound drivers on A Avenue make a quick swoop around the corner to get their coffee fix at Peet's without looking or maybe not caring. The bushes at the corner do not help visibility of pedestrians at this corner. And not going to bother to mention the hazard of crossing A Avenue at Fifth Street, where most drivers either do not notice the flashing yellow lights, or have no idea what they mean.
Instead I am going to mention the problem on State Street (Highway 43) at the intersection of Foothills. Now that the sidewalk is closed and we have to cross the street, it is apparent there is a real problem with the timing of the light. Anytime there is traffic traveling south on State Street, I see the same thing happen.
There are two crosswalks at the same intersection. We cross at the southern one to give cars going south more time to stop. The walk light goes on, we step off the curb, and a car sails through the red light. Not just once in awhile, but almost every time. In fact on Saturday, a driver did a U-turn to come back and yell at me that I had started while his light was still yellow. My walking buddy and I went back to test this theory and saw that the light turns yellow for a quick two count, then turns red for a one count before the walk lights up.
Later while driving, I approached the intersection of Lakeview and Bryant. As I entered the intersection, the light was still green, but by the time I was through the intersection, I saw that the walk light was on. Luckily that pedestrian had not stepped out.
I have seen a study in Virginia that indicates a yellow light that is 4.5 to 5.5 seconds results in 96 percent less cars running the red light (and thus endangering pedestrians). That would provide a safer buffer for pedestrians in Lake Oswego.
Let's make Lake Oswego safe for walkers.
Nancy Menagh is a resident of Lake Oswego.