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LTTE: Concerned for pedestrian safety on Portal Way

Published December 13, 2019

Are there plans to expand a safe path for pedestrians/bicycles on Portal Way between Cruisin Coffee, between the roundabouts, under the overpass and up to the Shell gas station area?

I recently had to walk that route, at night, and it seemed unnecessarily dangerous. There’s not much lighting under the overpass. As a pedestrian, you’re limited to hugging the shoulder/walking on the grass. Once you reach the roundabout, there’s not a very clear path for pedestrians to take, and you’re left hoping to make very clear eye contact with the oncoming drivers and hoping no jerks blow through it. It also seems pretty hazardous for people biking, with no clear bike lane or markings on the road.

I don’t know if this is in any improvement plans already in the works. If not (it should be), in the interim, something like adding brighter stripes to the shoulder may help at least increase visibility.

Kaeleigh Sheehan
Ferndale


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3 Comments

  1. denx7d denx7d December 13, 2019

    Kaeleigh,
    Valid concerns. It looks as if you are doing what is doable under the circumstances. In that students living within a mile of a school are required to walk, there must be some regular pedestrian use of the pathway you traveled. All it will take for the improvements is lots of funding. Will the squeaky pedestrian gets the grease?

    At night pedestrians are very difficult for motorists to see, especially if it’s raining and no moon or street lights. Acknowledging this goes a long way in keeping one as safe as possible. Particularly at night, but during the day as well, ALWAYS WALK FACING TRAFFIC and as far from the roadway as practicable, EVEN ON SIDEWALKS. If your back is to the traffic, you have little chance to avoid being hit. The Windward Gym class tragedy of June 10 2015 is a good example.

    As a pedestrian, as with being a bike rider, you need to have the mindset that motor vehicles are going to TRY to hit you, and do everything in your power to avoid that possibility:
    -Pay attention to traffic not your “device”. Ditch the earbuds
    -Try to include at least some retro-reflective items in your every day wear (backpacks,shoes,armbands, etc)
    -Wear some light colored clothing, not Ninja blackout
    -STOP and look left-right-left before entering any roadway and assume the traffic does not see you
    -By law, pedestrians have the right of way. Keep repeating that all the way to the hospital…..
    -THINK and be prepared – you are your own best defense

    When I first got my drivers license, Kaeleigh, one of the things that became very clear to me was how lucky I had been as a young pedestrian and bicycle rider, not have been whacked by a motor vehicle. I did little to follow the above advice. No one told me. Good luck and reflexes? Darwin at work? And today, at night, when it’s very dark and raining, and the lights from oncoming traffic is glaring and reflecting off the road, there have been some way to close calls with people in dark clothing, walking on the edge of the road, back to traffic. I think of such pedestrian behavior as attempted suicide.

    For any “seniors” reading this, get those cataracts taken care of ASAP. It’s painless and will improve your night vision tremendously.

    Dennis Nerwith

    • Kaeleigh Kaeleigh December 14, 2019

      Hi Dennis,
      I appreciate the sound advice – it really is best practice to walk facing traffic, wearing reflectors, and defer to cars to try to avoid a safety issue. All of which I did.

      I am, however, an adult. This was not an issue of me walking home from school (which, if I were a child walking that route, would be really scary).

      I drive this route regularly; the day I had to walk, my car was in the shop. As a driver, there are often people walking this route, and as you pointed out, it can be really difficult to see them at night or in the rain. It’s unsafe for both pedestrians and drivers.

      Wasn’t this section of Portal Way worked on within the last two years? The roundabouts added/improved? I’m curious why no safe pedestrian/bicycle access was included within that plan. It seems incredibly lacking in safety consideration. Are there any plans to re-evaluate or is this just what we’re left with?

      Thanks,
      Kaeleigh

  2. linnstercrafts linnstercrafts December 13, 2019

    May I add to the above question bicyclists are to obey the law of the road pertinent to motor vehicles and NOT run stop signs, DO yield to a vehicle clearly in the roundabout and NOt dart out in front of a vehicle, NOT ride their bike against traffic (opposite of what pedestrians are to walk), and NOT ride their bike in the middle of a lane impeding traffic. A little more of educating yourselves as well as courtesy (oh perish the thought!) WILL make it safer for everyone traveling our roads. My advice to anyone walking Portal Way between the two roundabouts heading out of town is walk against traffic, wear reflective clothing, carry a flashlight with you and use it without blinding oncoming traffic, don’t walk so close to the fog line (that’s the bright white solid line). Ensure your cell phone is sufficiently charged and make a call to someone to rescue you and stay in your car if your vehicle has broken down.

    Linnea McCormack

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