Friday, June 27, 2008

Endangered traffic refuge

The best and safest place to stare down on-coming traffic in Hillsdale is on the pedestrian island in the middle of the intersection of SW Capitol Highway and Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. Rows of collision cushions protect you from westbound traffic. A signal pole stands between you and eastbound commuters.

But all that will change in the next three or four months as the Portland Department of Transportation, at the urging of neighborhood leaders, is about to remove the island.

The new crosswalk, sans island, will give you 20 seconds to get across five lanes. It comes with one of those countdown timers. 20...19...18...etc.

I suggest starting from a sprinter's position.

And what is the problem for which this is a solution?

Currently the signalized pedestrian crossing gets you across four lanes of traffic to the island from the south side of Capitol. For the rest of your caper, across a "slip lane" (read on-ramp) onto Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, you are on your own. Some proclaim this last segment (on the left in the top photo) treacherous. I simply find it exhilarating.

The solution will cost $107,000. Frankly, I can think of better things to do with the money.

See all those overhead wires?

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