Foster Road demonstrators seek to protect pedestrians

Find out why dozens of demonstrators lined SE Foster Road a couple of days ago …

Steph Routh, with the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition, stands on SE Foster Road with Jeanne Harrison, Jim Coon, and Chris Ashmore, as they try to raise drivers’ awareness of pedestrian safety.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In the aftermath of an accident that critically injured pedestrians 29-year-old Jessica Finlay, and killed 23-year-old Lindsay A. Leonard on November 1, a number of demonstrators stood along both the east and westbound sides of SE Foster Road, just west of SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, on November 11th holding signs.

“We’re here to raise awareness for pedestrian safety,” explained Steph Routh, from the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition. “This is in response to two people being injured, and one person killed, right here within the last eight days.”

Routh said there’s been quite a “spate of collisions” between pedestrians and vehicles in the greater Portland area recently. “We are here, about 20 of us, just quietly holding signs, trying to remind people to watch out for other road users. Every corner intersection everywhere, marked or not, is legally a crosswalk – as are mid-block marked crosswalks. Pedestrians should use these crosswalks, and feel comfortable and safe doing so.”

Standing peacefully, sign-holders along SE Foster Road encourage drivers to watch out for pedestrians.

She’s involved with the issue, Routh told us, because walking and bicycling are her primary forms of transportation. “I also think that walking is a very basic need for any city – to be able to walk safely is an indicator of a healthy city. We want a healthy, sustainable city that everyone feels comfortable and safe within.”

Robert Valedz from the Portland Fruit Company watched the demonstration from his store across SE Foster Road. “One of my employees is the other injured person they’re talking about,” he said. “I just hope the drivers watch what they’re doing, get off their phones, and stop texting while driving – just watch for people crossing the street.”

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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