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DailyTidings.com
  • Deadly Ashland intersection gets makeover

    Changes come more than a year after student died from crosswalk collision
  • The city began construction on the intersection Monday, blocking of the left lanes on Siskiyou Boulevard, the Ashland's main thoroughfare, near Garfield Street — creating a temporary headache for drivers.
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  • More than a year since a Southern Oregon University student died after being struck by a car while crossing Siskiyou Boulevard at Garfield Street, city officials are finally making the intersection safer.
    In February of 2008, a car slammed into Gladys Jimenez, 22, as she walked across the busy street in the intersection's crosswalk, just as night was falling. Critically injured, a week later she died.
    Angered by the crash, SOU students and officials called on the city to fix the intersection, which features minimal lighting and a long crosswalk that cuts across the intersection diagonally.
    That crosswalk, and its unique perils, will soon be a thing of the past, said Larry Blake, SOU's director of campus planning and sustainability and a member of Ashland's Planning Commission.
    "It's sort of the end result of the city and Traffic Safety Commission's response to the death of Gladys Jimenez," he said. "The city had a pedestrian and bicycle consultant make recommendations early this year, so we've really just been waiting for good weather to implement them."
    The city began construction on the intersection Monday, blocking of the left lanes on Siskiyou Boulevard, Ashland's main thoroughfare, near Garfield Street — creating a temporary headache for drivers.
    The intersection will soon mirror others on Siskiyou Boulevard.
    The crosswalk will start on the northeast corner of Garfield Street, so it will be perpendicular to Siskiyou Boulevard, instead of diagonal, reducing the distance walkers have to travel to cross the street. A median will be installed in the center of the street, so that walkers can stop and make sure it's safe to cross the remainder of the street. Flashing beacons and another streetlight will also be put in.
    "It's a much safer option," Blake said. "It's just got so many more safety features than we had before."
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