SPRINGFIELD – Main Street is consistently ranked as one of the most unsafe city streets in Oregon, and several infrastructure solutions were made at a recent forum.
On Thursday, Jan. 7, the Main Street Safety Project stakeholders held a virtual public forum to address 2019 feedback on persistent rear-end crashes along the corridor in order to save lives, reduce injuries and lessen property damage between 20th st to 72nd streets.
About 75% of fatal crashes on Main Street involved people walking, caused by drivers either failing to yield the right-of-way (38%), disregarding a traffic signal (12.5%) or following too closely (12.5%) based on an analysis of 653 reported crashes from 2012-16.
“The recommended elements include roundabouts, medians, biking upgrades, pedestrian zones,” said Molly Markarian, senior planner for the City.
One suggestion is installing raised medians throughout most of Main Street. Raised medians would reduce crashes by 48% – meaning 16 fewer fatal or injury crashes per year.
Adding roundabouts would be a gradual change solution. When funding becomes available, replacing traffic signals with roundabouts will reduce intersection delay by up to 40 seconds on average, according to the analysis.
Another solution is to upgrade street cross-section upgrades. This would balance walking and biking improvements, but has property impacts, too. Most of Main Street would be four feet wider on each side.
Markarian said there are three or four business owners on the project’s strategic advisory committee who represent the businesses of the corridor. They will be sending postcards to Main Street business owners to update them on the project and listen to their concerns.
Removing parking is not an issue now, but could be re-examined depending on future construction.
In spring, stakeholders will review the draft solution and recommendation input. In the fall, the project team will consider input and draft the facility plan for Main Street. The city council might adopt the final plan in 2022.
More information will be posted to mainstreetsafety.org by Jan. 15.