But both of them were made worse by our overwide stroads, Lancaster Drive near Chemeketa Community College and Commercial Street at Keubler. On both of the streets, design speed is high, reaction time short, and stopping distance long. The crashes were fatal in one instance and "merely" dramatic in the other.
The primary cause in each was driver error, but our roadway design and our approach to speeds and traffic volumes were contributing factors that compounded the primary driver errors and made the consequences much, much worse.
|At slower speeds, this crash|
would be likely survivable
A Salem woman was sentenced to roughly 18 years in prison Monday for killing two teenagers and injuring a third when she drove her SUV over a curb near Chemeketa Community College in 2010.
Sophia Downing was traveling on Lancaster Drive NE on Sept. 23, 2010, when her Chevrolet Blazer careened across a sidewalk, hitting three people standing near Winema Place NE....
In 2012, Downing was convicted of two counts of first-degree manslaughter, DUI, reckless endangering and one count of second-degree assault. She was sentenced to 25 years in prison, but the Oregon Court of Appeals overturned her manslaughter and assault convictions in January 2016....
Facing a new trial, Downing instead pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter and one count of second-degree assault in December.
|Lancaster Stroad at Winema Place - note the closed crosswalks|
Not Even Flashing Lights and Sirens are Enough
|Even the Ambulance is not safe at this giant intersection|
|A driver hit the ambulance!|
|The editorial doesn't talk about size or road or speed|
Asking People Voluntarily to Walk and Bike along these Roads is Unreasonable
Last summer, some errands took me out South Commercial. Just south of this intersection with Kuebler, at the driveway to Walmart some dingus had put a "road work ahead" sign in the north-bound bike lane. With all the turning movements at Walmart, an immediately adjacent bus turn-out, and the fact that the road is signed 40mph, there's no realistic way to "take the lane" and stopping also was treacherous. I just had to get up on the sidewalk and do something I hate: Ride on the sidewalk.
|In a 40mph zone, the bike lane was totally blocked,|
and there were lots of turning movements at Walmart -
it was necessary to ride on the sidewalk for a ways!
But there was no choice here.
Even with striped bike lanes, Lancaster and Commercial/Kuebler do not offer environments in which it feels safe or comfortable to bike or walk. (And of course just a few blocks north, past the light at Kuebler, a driver killed a teen trying to cross the street last summer.)