Work starts next week on a new set of flashing lights at several crosswalks in south Corvallis, along a street where an 11-year-old girl was struck and killed this month.
The four crosswalks along Highway 99W already have flashing lights. But some haven’t been working since a vehicle hit them last summer. ODOT plans to install new, higher-visibility flashing beacons along the state highway.
It’s a stretch that’s seen three fatalities in the past two years, including the January 9th death of Rhianna Daniel, who died at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis after she was struck in a marked crosswalk the day before. Police say the driver, a 45-year-old Corvallis man, has been cooperating with this investigation, and no charges have been filed.
The road, also known as Pacific Highway, is lined with businesses and bisects a residential neighborhood. As a state highway, it falls under the jurisdiction of the Oregon Department of Transportation. ODOT spokesperson Angela Beers-Seydel said it’s a four-lane road that has a lot of vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. “And all of those folks need to be able to use these safely, so having these lights makes the bicyclists and pedestrians more visible to people in vehicles going through,” she said.
Some area residents have protested what they say is a delay in making the street safer. Beers-Seydel said the agency has been planning the upgrades for more than a year. "We want folks to know that we have been looking at this, and sadly we lost somebody (last week). But hopefully, this makes it safer," she said.
The city of Corvallis said the Corvallis Police Department has increased patrols in the area, with the goal of getting drivers to obey posted speed limits and be more aware of the crosswalks. City workers on Friday removed some vegetation from the pedestrian islands on the street in an effort to increase visibility.