SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — A yellow light flashes when a pedestrian is ready to cross Main at 50th in Springfield. “Pedestrian activates the flashing beacon and it’s very, it really has a very bright yellow light that really captures motorists attention, supposed to capture their attention and then when they, and they’re supposed to stop,” said Lou Torres, spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Transportation.
But Wednesday night when a 12 year old boy was crossing the street, police said three of the four lanes of traffic came to a stop, but one car did not. “We don’t know if the motorist wasn’t paying attention, the motorist was distracted, we just really don’t know what that situation is because the police are investigating,” said Torres.
The pedestrian crosswalk has been in place since November 2010 after the area became notorious for serious crashes involving pedestrians. “It initiated a Main Street safety study that worked with the city of Springfield and a number of recommendations came out of that study that included a lot of public outreach where we went to the community and talked to folks,” said Torres.
Police said they’ve responded to a number of crashes at this intersection. “Several times, there was one fatality at this same spot, was actually promoted or led to that pedestrian crosswalk being put in,” said Officer Robert Conrad, Springfield Police Department.
Before ODOT installed the crosswalk, the intersection was the site of two fatal crashes involving pedestrians. Since its installation the intersection’s been much safer.
“It doesn’t guarantee, it’s kind of like motorists that run red lights, they’re gonna run a red light sometimes and it could be very tragic in what happens and that could be the case here too,” said Torres.