CORNELIUS, Ore. (KOIN) — Within the last three weeks, three people were hit by cars along Tualatin Valley Highway.
The most recent crash was on Thursday in Aloha. On Tuesday, a woman was killed crossing a stretch of the highway near Hillsboro. TV Highway stretches for 18 miles from Beaverton to Forest Grove.
“This area’s grown up a lot out in the western end of the metro area,” said Don Hamilton, spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Transportation. “You’re not guaranteed traffic’s stopping, you’re not guaranteed traffic’s stopping at the crosswalk.”
Hamilton said that ODOT has been reaching out to local communities to find out where the problem areas are in each neighborhood. The department is trying to keep up with the growth along the highway. Countless residents use the bus to get to Portland, but walking on the highway to get to the bus stops has cost people their lives.
Fifty-one-year-old Leslie Schmadeke from Hillsboro was hit and killed on Tuesday as she was crossing the highway to catch the bus that would have taken her to Portland where she worked.
“Any time we see tragedies, like what we’ve seen on Tualatin Valley Highway recently, our safety people are always trying to find out what happens,” said Hamilton.
ODOT is working on implementing a few measures to make the route safer, including installing three rapid flashlights in areas identified as the most dangerous for pedestrians.
Linda Jordan, who lives in Aloha, said until more crosswalks are available, she will walk an extra 10 to 15 minutes to find one. She also hopes that anyone crossing the road in the dark has on reflective clothing so drivers can see them.
“I use the bus frequently in the 57 up and down TV here,” said Jordan. “Even like a bus driver told me one time, a flashlight or a cell phone that’s extra bright that catches their attention—so it’s going to catch other drivers’ attention.”
TriMet officials said if you use public transportation, you are a pedestrian first and last. They said they certainly do want it to be safer for pedestrians out on the street and are always in conversations with the county, ODOT, and even lawmakers about the issue.
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