Fortunately in a couple of years a new light and some other improvements will be installed on Union Street, which will make crossing much easier.
|Planned crossing improvements for Union at Commercial|
East/side (on right) of Union will be a future bikeway project
Over the weekend a person on bike was struck while trying to cross the wide intersection.
Many details about the crash itself are not clear, but the aftermath appears to have entailed a felony.
From the initial police release on the 29th:
Salem Police are investigating an injury Hit & Run traffic crash involving a vehicle and bicyclist. A bicycle being ridden by a 53 yr old male who was traveling east on Union St. NE, and crossing Commercial St NE was struck by a silver 1990's model Jeep Cherokee who had been traveling south on Commercial St. NE. The bicyclist was thrown into the air and landed in the roadway with injuries. The Jeep Cherokee continued past the accident scene, pulled over and stopped for a few moments before fleeing the scene, driving south on Commercial St NE from Marion St. NE.A late night update, early in the morning on the 30th:
The bicyclist was transported to the hospital due to his injuries. The name of the bicyclist is being with held pending notification of family.
Anyone who may have witnessed, (who did not speak with an officer on-scene) or have information on the accident, the Silver Jeep Cherokee or driver are asked to call Salem Police Dispatch at 503-588-6123.
UPDATE: 2:20am, Sat. 8/30/14 HIT & RUN DRIVER IDENTIFIED AND ARRESTEDThat seems like a pretty good use for a red light camera.
Moments after the crash, the driver fled the scene and drove through a red traffic light at Commercial St. NE & Marion St. NE. [italics added] This intersection has a photo redlight camera installed which takes photo's of vehicles and drivers who disregard the red traffic signal. Officers were able to access the photo as several witnesses reported the photo redlight camera flash going off as the silver Jeep Cherokee fled the scene.
While Officers were following up on accessing the photo redlight picture, a stolen vehicle report of a Jeep Cherokee was called into Salem Police at approx. 9:15pm, (Fri. 8/29/14). A Patrol Officer responded and took the stolen auto report.
At approx. 11:00pm, (Fri. 8/29/14), the photo of the silver Jeep Cherokee which was driven through the photo redlight from the crash was received. From the photo, the vehicle license number and drivers photo were identified. Further investigation revealed that the registered owner had earlier reported the vehicle as being stolen. The owner matched the photo of the driver taken by the photo redlight camera.
Officers responded and contacted the vehicle owner at approx. 12:10am, (Sat. 8/30/14). During the interview, the owner admitted to being the driver at the time the vehicle went through the red light at Commercial NE & Marion NE, but denied being involved in the traffic crash. The owner initially reported that he drove home to West Salem, where he later discovered the vehicle stolen. As the interview continued, the owner admitted to being the driver at the time of hitting the bicyclist. The driver got scared and fled the scene. He then returned home, reported the vehicle as stolen and then drove it out into rural Polk County where he left it. The driver then told the Officers where the Jeep Cherokee was located and Officers responded to it.
The driver of the silver Jeep Cherokee has been identified as: Antonio RAMOS-PEREZ, HMA, 38yrs. (dob:4/19/76), of West Salem. RAMOS-PEREZ will be booked into Marion Co. Jail on charges of:
* Felony Hit & Run (Failure to Perform the Duties of a driver involved in an accident); and
* Initiating a False Report
The vehicle was insured at the time of the traffic crash. The crash investigation and reconstruction are continuing.
Later over the weekend paper said the person on bike was treated for "non-life-threatening injuries." So that's good news - but of course those medical bills.
Apart from the hit-and-run problem, it will be interesting to learn if there are other traffic violations involved in the crash. The crime, as we know at this moment, is what happened after the crash. We don't know if the driver ran a light, was operating after dark without lights, or if the person on bike was out after dark without a light - though the front-and-back legal configuration of lights doesn't much improve t-bone visibility - or made a grievous error in judgment. We don't know anything about the crash itself.
We also don't know if this crash is generally the kind whose likelihood would be significantly decreased with the future light and intersection improvements. If the driver, for example, blew multiple red lights, one more light probably wouldn't have helped.
What we do know is that this stretch of Commercial with multiple intersections is not engineered in a way to make it easy for people on foot or on bike to cross and that speeds here are often "urban highway" speeds rather than "walkable downtown" speeds. It is designed in so many ways not to be safe.
And it is immediately adjacent to the Marion Park skate/bmx bowls. This should be a destination to which parents easily send their children.
Union Street needs to be a full family-friendly bikeway along its whole length.
We also need to be willing to calm downtown traffic more. No amount of public art can overcome the speeds and quantities in our rivers of cars downtown. As has been pointed out before, the Liberty/Commercial couplet has more lanes than I-5. That's messed up.