Eugene-Springfield dangerous for walkers

Eugene-Springfield dangerous for walkers

SPRINGFIELD, Ore --- Not a day goes by that Sylvia Varo doesn't think about her daughter Sherry. Sherry was the victim of a pedestrian vs. vehicle accident in Springfield in 2009.
    
“We are still very sad, we are still missing her a lot,” said Varo.
   
Police said Sherry Varo was hit by two cars and killed as she tried to cross Main St. near 51st. She was killed as she walked home from work, just three days after her 17th birthday.

 A new study found Eugene-Springfield is Oregon's most dangerous spot for pedestrians. The advocacy group 'Transportation for America' found that 63 pedestrians died over the last decade.    

The group blames poor street design, and said Eugene and Springfield don't have enough safe sidewalks, crosswalks and signals. The really bad spots are along Main Street in East Springfield and Highways 99 and 126 as they run through town.

David Reesor, Springfield Sr. Transportation Planner said, the city is working with Oregon Department of Transportation and other agencies to fix city streets.

Reesor said the city is starting a Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee to help with transportation issues. Springfield is currently looking for people interested in joining the group and the city will evaluate the committee’s progress in a year.

“I do know that there's a state wide ratings system that has shown Main St. to rank in the top 10% of pedestrian safety issues,” said Reesor.

A year after Sherry's death, a new pedestrian crosswalk was installed by the Department of Transportation near the intersection where she was killed.

“It’s important to have these marked crosswalks for pedestrians to cross so that they are not trying to run across five lanes of traffic,” said Reesor.

Varo said with the addition of the crosswalk, her daughter’s death has sparked change in the community.

“It’s like a present for the community. That’s good because we need it,” said Varo.