Committee suggests a dozen new crosswalks

Throughout the Keizer Revitalization Study, members of the Keizer Traffic Safety, Bikeways and Pedestrian have carried the torch pushing for inclusion of cyclists and pedestrians. 

At the group’s meeting, September 12, it took the effort to a whole new level. Two members of the committee, Pat Fisher and Mike DeBlasi, presented proposals for multiple new River Road crosswalks from the south border of the city to intersection of River Road North and Oakwood Street Northeast. DeBlasi has his sight set on 16 new crosswalks, Fisher put forth 10 potential sites. 

“Pedestrian crossings are barely touched on in [the revitalization] plan,” said Fisher. “Allowing for pedestrian access are going to be very important.”

The TBP committee have allies on the Keizer Planning Commission who also called for consideration of pedestrian crosswalks as it forwarded a recommendation to approve the report to the Keizer City Council. 

Community Development Director Nate Brown was impressed enough with the two lists that he forwarded them to the transportation engineer participating in the study, Susan Wright. Wright said the sites on both lists were well-thought-out, but that engineering studies would be needed at each proposed location. 

Hersch Sangster, a member of the committee, endorsed the sites proposed as “perfectly logical. If we want more density, we are going to have to allow for crossings. The south section of River Road is what I would want to prioritize.”

Brown said rather than listing specific sites in the final report, he would rather see a recommendation that the investigation of potential crosswalks be engaged as the revitalization plan is implemented. 

“The last thing that I want is that the process get ground to a halt,” Brown said. 

Members of the committee agreed to the broader approach. 

Regardless of how the city chooses to begin the process, it will come with a cost. Estimates to install crosswalks on a five-lane road range from $80,000 to $240,000 each. 

Sgt. David LeDay cautioned against creating a “false sense of security” by installing mid-block crosswalks and noted that most of the injuries and fatalities involving pedestrians in Keizer have taken place within 200 feet of signalized intersections. 

“It’s not outside of the crosswalks where we have the issues, it’s inattentive drivers,” LeDay said. 

At a city council meeting Monday, Sept. 16, Wright said the crosswalk frequencies suggested by the committee were in line with what is found in urban mix planning, with each about 550 apart from the next. That is the direction Keizer will be heading if redevelopment happens. However, it isn’t simply a matter of build-it-and-they-will-cross.

“Just implementing a crossing in and of itself doesn’t increase safety if the environment isn’t right,” she said.