“See how tippy – how easy it is for this wheel to come off the ground,” said Tony Ellis, an advocate for people with disabilities. He was just a few feet from passing cars, at the crosswalk landing at 6th and Morgan Streets in Grants Pass.
The busy intersection, along with several others, will be upgraded next year to meet the current Americans with Disabilities Act requirement and improve safety for everyone.
Why these intersections? All have been the scene of at least one crash involving a pedestrian and a vehicle.
“Without these dedicated type funds, we couldn’t do these upgrades to the Grants Pass system operated by ODOT,” said Transportation Project Manager Dan Roberts. “These intersections, part of Oregon 99, have been identified with a crash history and are in need of repair. At the same time, we’re taking care of the ADA requirements.”
The main work will include ramp upgrades, enhanced signing and additional crosswalk markings. Two intersections will receive “bulb outs,” where the sidewalk extends out for increased visibility for pedestrians and vehicles.
The “bulb outs” at 6th and Steiger and 6th and B Streets will help pedestrians see and be seen by motorists. The intersection of 7th and Steiger Streets will also be improved.
“It’s a work in progress. ODOT has stepped up to the plate,” said Randy Samuelson, executive director of HASL, the Handicap Awareness Support League in Grants Pass. He appreciates ODOT’s willingness to partner because, he said, part of being independent is experiencing the human condition – being able to get out and socialize safely.
This northern gateway into Grants Pass has seen numerous crashes between the Exit 58 southbound off-ramp and Scoville Road traffic. Its off-set design is a throw-back to when the interstate was first built in the early 1960s. For instance, the Scoville Road traffic will get a green light while the off-ramp traffic right next to it waits on red.
Locals may understand it. Those from out of town are perplexed.
“The crash history at this one intersection is one of the highest in the state,” said Roberts. The intersection signals are also some of the oldest in the ODOT inventory.
“It’s been a long time coming, a new standard,” said Ellis. “[It’s] a way that every design we encounter will be the same. The work ODOT is doing on a local basis and statewide is giving people back their communities, back their freedom and independence.”
To learn more, visit www.youtu.be/YFXJGlZqXqI, and join Tony Ellis on his Grants Pass tour.