Nice weather calls for even more care while driving
Now that the weather is getting nicer and more people are out and about in supposedly pedestrian-friendly downtown Lake Oswego, (it seems like) a good time to bring to the attention of drivers and strollers a few 'hot spots' around town where I have been personally involved in or witnessed several close calls.
1. The parking garage at Lake View Village. Drivers - as you exit the parking structure, please remember that just before you reach the street there is a sidewalk, commonly used by people walking dogs, children on bikes and pedestrians heading for dinner at Zeppo or a coffee at Peet's. Before shooting out into First Street, please take one moment to pause and look left and right, or at least slow down so when you hit someone, injury to the person and your car will be minimal. Also, this might not be the best time to be conversing on your cell phone. This is a very busy, well-used area and soon the Farmer's Market will be in full swing, bringing even more pedestrians to our sidewalks. Please, stop at the sidewalk. Until someone at Lake View Village takes responsibility and puts up some sort of sign, it is up to all of us to be safe and pay attention.
2. The intersection of First Street and A Avenue. Drivers - as you make that right turn onto First, be aware that there is a marked crosswalk with a walk signal here, on both sides of the street, and there is a good chance that people will be crossing when the light turns green. To drivers making the left turn onto First from State Street, please check the entire crosswalk before making that turn. This is where I have seen many close calls between pedestrians and cars. Yes, you are thinking about finding a parking spot, but is that worth the injury of a child or adult or dog?
3. The US Bank parking lot on State Street. Drivers - yes, you need to look to your left to see oncoming traffic, but before you make that right turn onto State, stop. Look to your right. Most likely you will see several people standing right next to your car waiting for you not to run them over, people who are trying to walk home from the movie theater or dinner or the grocery store. This might also be a good time to put down the cell phone and pay attention to what is going on around you.
4. The parking lots for Starbucks and Hollywood Video. Drivers - you want coffee, you want movies, you want to park. Take one moment to pause and look in all directions. Notice where the sidewalk is located. There are folks walking here. They have kids with them, they are holding cups of coffee, they are walking dogs. They do not want you to run them over. Just a little extra attention here will save many injuries and close calls.
I am sure there are many other places in town that could be targeted, but for a city that is trying very hard to promote itself as a pedestrian-friendly area, I see a real lack of education of drivers and pedestrians about these areas.
A bit of good news - another notorious crossing - North Shore and State Street - will soon be getting an audible pedestrian signal. Hopefully this will encourage more citizens to brave the dangerous streets of Lake Oswego and make them safer and truly pedestrian-friendly.
Sarah DeMerritt is a resident of Lake Oswego.