City tackles high-crash network, asks public for help

A motorcyclist died on Northeast Marine Drive on Wednesday. (Photo: Chopper 2/KATU)

Two people died Wednesday in separate crashes on two of Portland's most dangerous roads.

On Wednesday afternoon, a man on a motorcycle died on Northeast Marine Drive. Police said the man lost control of his motorcycle and hit a semi-truck after leaving the eastbound lane of traffic.

After 10 p.m., Portland police investigated a crash where two drivers struck a woman as she tried to walk across Southeast Division Street. Police said the initial driver who struck her fled the scene. The second driver stayed at the crash site and was later booked for driving under the influence.

Streets in Portland's High Crash Network include Division Street, Marine Drive, 82nd Avenue, and 122nd Avenue. They make up most of the crashes in the city where someone is killed or seriously injured.

Both of Wednesday's deadly crashes were on roads with speed cameras. Those cameras have made drastic cuts to top line speeding, but only ticket drivers for going 11 mph over the speed limit.

Dana Gonzalez lives along Southeast Division and says she's fearful to cross the street because of the steady flow of cars, with drivers speeding above the posted 30 mph limit.

"I like the cameras right here because sometimes when I try to cross the street in the light, the people don't stop," Gonzalez said. "They go too fast. It's a fear because sometimes I'm walking with my son."

State law doesn't permit Portland police to make stricter rules and crack down on speeders caught on camera. The Portland Bureau of Transportation, despite touting the safety successes of the speed cameras, says there are no plans to petition police or the state for stricter speed enforcement with the cameras.

Portland set the goal of eliminating all traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2025. PBOT has plans for more frequent marked crosswalks with pedestrian islands in 2019 on Southeast Division Street.

Spokesperson Dylan Rivera says design alone will not get the city to its Vision Zero goal.

"We're working as fast as we can to deploy safety improvements in terms of infrastructure," Rivera said. "But we need the public's help to not drink and drive, to follow the rules of the road, to be alert for people walking and biking on our roads."

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