In the wake of a crosswalk fatality and serious injury earlier this year, the City of Roseburg took steps to improve safety for pedestrians and bikers at the intersection of Northwest Stewart Parkway and Northwest Harvey Avenue.
Drivers turning left from Northwest Harvey Avenue onto Northwest Stewart Parkway now see flashing yellow arrows instead of a solid green signal when pedestrians push the crosswalk button, said Roseburg Public Works Director Nikki Messenger. The city also installed signage telling drivers to yield to pedestrians.
The changes were completed three weeks ago, Messenger said.
Children and families use the crosswalks at the intersection frequently because it’s next to the YMCA.
In July earlier this year, 76-year-old Zahia Bellahsene was struck by a vehicle in the crosswalk and died four days later from her injuries. In August, a pedestrian was struck and injured by a motorist in the same crosswalk, but has since recovered.
The drivers committed traffic violations by failing to yield to pedestrians in both cases, according to Roseburg Police Sgt. Jeff Eichenbusch.
“There’s a lot of pedestrian traffic there so drivers need to be hyper aware when going through that intersection,” Messenger said.
Residents living near the intersection informed the city earlier this year that they were concerned with the safety of the intersection following the incidents.
“We received a lot of community input calling in, talking about their experiences and making suggestions,” Messenger said.
The city recently expanded Stewart Parkway to four lanes and straightened the road north and south of the YMCA, as part of a $4.3 million road improvement project. Residents told the News-Review in August that the project relieved traffic congestion but made the intersection less safe.
The city is not planning to make similar changes at other intersections, but Messenger said she will always welcome community input about safety.