SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Springfield's Main Street is consistently ranked as one of the most unsafe city streets in Oregon because of the severity and frequency of traffic crashes.
The Oregon Department of Transportation and the city are hoping the Main Street Safety Project will save lives, reduce injuries and lessen property damage due to crashes. They're gathering community input in hopes of making it safer for people who are walking, biking, driving and riding the bus.
Springfield resident Blue Owens takes the bus to work on Main Street every day. He said he's had close calls with drivers who run red lights in the past and is now more careful.
"Every time I cross the street, I make sure all the cars are gone by before I just go," Owens said.
An online open house went live on Wednesday. Community members can give input on what infrastructure safety improvements are needed to support the economic viability of the corridor, accommodate current bus service and future transit solutions, and complement ongoing traffic safety education and enforcement. You can give your input here.
"We at the city of Springfield and the city council want our decisions to be informed decisions," said Tom Boyatt, the interim director for Springfield Development and Public Works.
In 2015, three children were struck and killed while in a crosswalk at the intersection of 54th Street and Main Street by a driver who ran a red light. Boyatt said that tragedy was taken into account by the state, which is funding the project, but that's not the only reason for the upgrades.
"I don't want to shine a bright light on that family and say that's the reason because it's been a much longer trend and issue that the state looks at when they prioritize their funds for safety improvements," Boyatt said.
Another component of the community engagement effort was to create a Main Street Safety Project Strategic Advisory Committee.
It's made up of 12 members, including residents, business and property owners, employees and advocates from within the Main Street corridor and from the wider Springfield community. They'll provide feedback and guidance to staff and put together a set of recommendations for the Springfield Planning Commission to consider in forming their recommendation to the city council.