SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- The stretch of Main Street where a Thurston High School junior was hit and killed by two cars Tuesday night has few intersections with marked crosswalks, and many pedestrians try to cross the five lanes of traffic in the middle of the block -- with disastrous results.
Sherry Varo, who turned 17 last Saturday, was the sixth pedestrian killed crossing Springfield's Main Street since 2002.
The crash has a lot of people asking why this area is so dangerous -- and why people aren't using crosswalks.
People continue to cross street mid-block
Varo's death hasn't stopped people from crossing the street at the same place where she died. With bus stops and businesses on both sides of Main Street and nearby residential areas, people continue to cross.
Does it save time cutting across the street rather than walking to the nearest crosswalk?
"I'd have to say a good 10 or 15 minutes at the rate I walk," Matt Ogra told KVAL News as he prepared to cross the same section of road where Varo died Tuesday.
KVAL News caught person after person after person stop, look, wait and then walk across the five-lane road.
Is it legal to cut across Main Street mid-block?
While it's not safe, it is legal to cross in the middle of a street block in Springfield, Ore., but only if the pedestrian yields to the cars, police told KVAL News.
If the cars have to slow down or stop to avoid you as you cross, you could be fined $105 by police.
Here's what drivers need to know:
In the middle of a block, you have the right of way. But in intersections, you must stop once a pedestrian steps off the curb.
All drivers should stop to avoid hitting someone with a car.
Isn't there a traffic light near there that is turned off?
A few blocks west of the scene of the accident, a set of traffic lights have been turned off. The lights were in operation when Weyerhauser used the access roads off of Main Street. When the company stopped using those roads, the signal was turned off, according to Joe Harwood with the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Can't the city or state improve safety on the road?
KVAL News has heard from many people about making Main Street in Springfield safer. Some suggested building an overhead pedestrian bridge.
Harwood with ODOT, the agency in charge of the road, will start a safety study on Main Street this spring. Varo's death gives the study more urgency.
Harwood said ODOT is open to all suggestions and will hold a series of meetings to gather public input. However, to meet guidelines for people with disabilities, a pedestrian bridge would need to have a long ramp. That would require ODOT to buy land, which would be very expensive.
But Harwood said ODOT is open to any idea to improve safety. ODOT is meeting with the Springfield City Council on the topic of Main Street traffic on Monday.