Bend effort targets crash 'hot spots'

Third Street crossings a big problem

Bend targets crash hot spots

BEND, Ore. - Thick fog settled over Bend Tuesday night, reducing visibility and making accidents even more likely. That is exactly what the city is trying to avoid.

The city released an assessment of the crash-prone hot spots in Bend. Third Street is one of them, and while there is not one specific spot along Third Street, officials are finding a pattern.

Along Third Street, most accidents have been reported involving cars, pedestrians and bikes.

"We did notice a general trend," Robin Lewis, city transportation engineer, said Tuesday "The crashes we were seeing, people were trying to cross multiple lanes."

Four of the city's six worst crash hot spots are on Third Street. Between 2007 and 2010, there were 195 to 243 crashes just on that stretch of Third Street.

The owner of Hardy's Hamburgers on Third Street knows this all too well. From his restaurant, he has seen way more accidents than he ever wanted to.

"Many, many close calls that we see on a daily basis," Hardy Lussier said. "It's downright frightening, and I know every day it's a bit of a gamble. I've seen people, women with strollers trying to cross the street."

Every year, around 700 accidents are reported around Bend, and 24 fatalities occurred between 2007 and 2010. Of those, 42 percent of the accidents were caused by drugs, speeding or alcohol. Also, 83 accidents were recorded over that same time span involving bicycles and pedestrians.

The city is seeking for proposals from qualified consultants on how to make these crash-prone spots safer. They are looking for several small transportation safety design improvements, like crosswalks and bike lanes.

A pre-submittal meeting will be held at the City Hall Council Chambers on March 6th at 10 a.m., according to a "request for proposals" notice published this week. Proposals will only be accepted from attendees of this meeting. The deadline for submitting proposals is March 20th at 3 p.m.

"We're trying to create a more systematic, or systemic approach to safety on the corridor," Lewis said.

It's an approach that is certainly welcomed by many, especially by those working on Third Street.

"Absolutely , it would benefit everybody, and the safety aspect would be huge," said Lussier.

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