The Astoria Police Department and Public Works Department Safety Team are dedicated to providing a high level of service to our citizens in all aspects of our work. Of special interest to us is pedestrian and bicycle safety in areas where vehicular traffic create potential for crashes where the vehicle typically wins. While Astoria’s crash rates for pedestrians and bicyclists are at or below the State average, we understand that there is always room for improvement of our roadways. We continually search for opportunities to make our streets safer and we work hard with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to make improvements along the State Route where traffic is much more critical due to the presence of truck traffic and out of town visitors that may not be familiar with our streets. Following are some simple facts about traffic safety that may not be intuitive:
- More pedestrians are hit in marked crosswalks than un-marked crosswalks
- Clatsop County vehicle insurance rates are lower than other parts of the State due to our lower than average accident rates
- Excessive stop signs cause drivers to increase their speed between the stop signs
- Unwarranted stop signs create problems at both the intersection and along the roadway, including encouraging violation of traffic laws
Message to Pedestrians and Bicyclists:
- Always attempt to make eye contact with approaching drivers
- Do not assume that you are seen by drivers
- Do not assume that the crosswalk law is going to stop a vehicle
- Do not assume that a vehicle is going to stop at a stop sign or stop light
- Wear bright clothing when walking at night and even during the day
- Don’t be distracted – turn off headphones, put away cell phones and pay attention when crossing the street
Message to Drivers:
- Oregon law requires that drivers stop and remain stopped for pedestrians when pedestrians are:
- In the lane in which the driver’s vehicle is traveling;
- In a lane adjacent to the lane in which the driver’s vehicle is traveling;
- In the lane into which the drivers vehicle is turning;
- In a lane adjacent to the lane in which the driver’s vehicle is turning;
- Less than six feet from the lane which the driver’s vehicle is turning.
- Pay attention when driving
- Drive the speed limit
- Look for pedestrians
- Acknowledge that you see the pedestrian
Following are some of the tasks that our Departments do or have done to make our streets are safe as possible for pedestrians:
- The City participates in the Safe Routes to Schools Program. Staff is always exploring opportunities to enhance this involvement to incorporate new pedestrian safety strategies.
- Safety City event at Astor School
- Annual Halloween safety treats (such as glow sticks) and literature along with traditional candy
- At the start of the school year the City places ODOT safety posters in City locations and shares with other agencies where the posters will be seen. Special emphasis is placed on the shorter days and limited lighting that comes with winter.
- Share Impact Oregon Information with resource group. Please Google Impact Oregon for direct information.
- Share Grant Opportunities with other agencies (such as bike safety training with Sunset Empire Transportation District)
- Police Department Facebook page will be used to share safety information and encourage use of new strategies
- Distribute ODOT pedestrian and other traffic safety flyers (currently at front counter of City Hall)
- Staff supports outside efforts to develop art, banners, slogans, stenciling at corners, etc. that are thought to add value to the cause. Schools will be encouraged to participate such as senior projects, campaigns or enhancement of existing school safety education programs.
- Police attempt to be responsive to reports of a consistent speeding issue in any part of town, officers will step up speed enforcement activities in an effort to reduce offenses
- Each year, funding permitting, the Police Department conducts a crosswalk enforcement operation to help increase driver compliance with laws related to pedestrian safety. In these operations, a decoy police officer attempts to cross a street at an intersection or marked crosswalk. If passing motorists fail to stop and yield for the pedestrian they are issued either a warning or a citation. This program has received a positive response from our citizens.
Sign Clutter – periodically (every 3-5 years) the City and ODOT get together to review signage along the State route through town. The goal is to reduce what is referred to as sign clutter. It is well known in the traffic professions that unnecessary signs take away from the important signs that we want driver to focus on.
Crosswalk Improvements – City staff has requested and ODOT has funded the upgrade of many crosswalks through the City along the State Route. The most recent improvements include a series of crosswalks that were not being maintained by ODOT because they did not have the approval of the State Traffic Engineer. Working closely with ODOT staff, the City made a formal request for approval and ODOT not only approved the request but provided a $40,000 grant to install the crosswalks. A continental style crosswalk marking make with thermoplastic was used to improve longevity of the markings.
ODOT Coordination – City staff works closely with ODOT to constantly improve the highway corridor through town. We are always looking for grant funding to make safety improvements. Following are some recent examples:
- Transportation System Plan (TSP) Update – the City completed an update to our TSP that is available on the City Website. The TSP included many projects with descriptions and cost estimates that can be eligible for State Transportation Funding as it becomes available.
- Sidewalk improvements connecting Astoria High School to neighborhoods (currently funded in 2016-2018 State Transportation Improvement Plan)
- Additional rapid flashing beacons at various locations (not yet funded)
- Downtown signal upgraded for pedestrian countdown signals (currently funded in 2016-2018 State Transportation Improvement Plan in the amount of $400,000)
- ODOT coordinates enforcement efforts with the Oregon State Police (OSP) by providing OSP with additional funding to specifically patrol construction zones (Astoria Megler Bridge for example) which provides extra traffic enforcement within the City of Astoria
Street Lighting – our Public Works Department has examined the entire street lighting system within the City limits for optimization. Unneeded lights that waste energy and are not needed were removed and in areas that lacked proper lighting lights were added. In some cases the City requests grant funds to add street lights on the State Highway such as a grant that the City received from ODOT to add street lights at the Safeway intersection.
Transportation System Plan, Volume 1
Transportation System Plan, Volume 2
Making an Impact. Oregon Impact Safety Organization
Driver’s Guide to Sharing Oregon’s Roads
Bicyclist’s Survival Guide
Oregon Pedestrian, Bicycle and Driver Rules
Intersection Safety Facts
Pedestrian Crosswalk Safety Flyers
Two Things at One Time Attention Test
Please see the Police Department Facebook site for periodic current activities and additional information.