The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has begun work on installing new lighting on the Willamette Blvd. crosswalk outside the University of Portland’s main entrance after three students were hit by cars there in the span of two weeks.
According to PBOT Public Information Officer Dylan Rivera, the new lighting should be fully installed by Friday. Rivera said the city will replace old lighting technology of the crosswalk with new “Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons” that are brighter and flash in random patterns.
With the new installation, the poles on either side of Willamette will have flashing lights on both sides, while previously there was just one flashing light on either side of traffic.
But Rivera said that due to multiple collisions in August, September and November that damaged the crosswalk’s center median lights, the city will not be repairing that part of the lighting system. PBOT is focusing instead on improving the lights on either side of the street.
The city has also put in a request that the PBOT maintenance staff refresh the white markings in the crosswalk, which have been fading, Rivera said.
According to Vice President of University Operations Jim Ravelli, the University is looking into installing a second activation button on the west side of the crosswalk to be attached to a new, shorter pole located near the flashing lights. As it currently stands, there is only one button for the crosswalk lighting, which is located on the non-university side of the crosswalk.
“UP students will have no excuse now not to press the button,” University Operations Special Projects Manager Jim Kuffner said.
Both Rivera and Ravelli expressed the importance of students taking safety into their own hands by pressing the buttons that will now be placed on either side of the crosswalk.
“Safety doesn’t happen until the lights are flashing,” Ravelli said.
Students and community members can learn more about Oregon crosswalk laws and safety measures here.