PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A dangerous stretch of road in Tigard will soon see major safety improvements. This comes exactly two months after a woman was killed in a hit-and-run while crossing the street.
In a growing area of Washington County, this stretch of road has gotten a bad reputation. Hall Blvd. was once a highway, but even as it’s transitioned to a city road now, parts of it near Locust St. still have high speeds, few crossings and incomplete sidewalks.
“Unfortunately, the conditions on Hall Blvd., which include its speed, limited crossings, incomplete sidewalks, have all made travel on this corridor unsafe,” said Jason Snider, Mayor of Tigard. “Most people experience this neglect as they drive down the road, feeling every pothole and crack in the pavement.”
Clad in orange safety vests, officials and community members strolled the stretch of Hall Blvd., which the mayor says has been neglected for years. The group quickly ran into areas where the sidewalk ends, along with close calls with drivers.
“Our city manager almost got hit when they had the crosswalk lit for them to cross safely,” said Snider. “We were also walking down the road when we had a bunch of beeping happening with a bunch of frustrated drivers in a space where kids would walk with no sidewalk. You can imagine what it’s like being a second or third grader while that’s happening.”
It’s just one of the reasons the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the city of Tigard have been working on safety improvements and transferring the section to the city’s jurisdiction. It’s a move similar to one made in Portland by ODOT to transfer 82nd Ave. from a state highway to a city street maintained by the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
“There’s no better way to better understand what’s going on, on a roadway or in a community than being out there and walking it yourself,” said Rian Windsheimer, a regional manager with ODOT. “You get to hear from people on their actual lived experience and how it’s affecting their daily life.”
The walk along Hall Blvd. also came with a moment to remember the life of 57-year-old Karen Kain, who was killed March 4 in a hit-and-run along that stretch of Hall and Lucille Ct. Her 86-year-old mother was left with serious injuries. Today, officials spoke directly with Kain’s family about the safety efforts.
“It makes us think more about what can we do, what can we do differently, how can we make improvements,” said Windsheimer.
Traffic studies are looking into lowering speed and needed improvements like overcrossings for pedestrians and cyclists, bike lanes and pavement fixes. While officials compile a list of improvements, it’s unlikely Tigard locals will see these changes for a few years.
One of the first projects underway is $7 million to replace 67 ADA-compliant ramps along the corridor of Hall Blvd., which they hope to complete by the end of this year. ODOT and Tigard are also working to get federal funding for other improvements, like rapid-flashing beacons for pedestrian crossings.