Firm to study Siskiyou safety

The city of Ashland will spend $20,620 for a Portland engineering firm to study safety issues along Siskiyou Boulevard and to make recommendations for improvements.

On Tuesday night, the Ashland City Council voted unanimously to approve the spending. The city already had a $158,260 contract with HDR Engineering, Inc. to update the city's Transportation System Plan. The addition to the contract for the boulevard analysis will bring the amount paid to the firm to $178,880.

The issue of safety on the boulevard became a pressing topic after the February death of Southern Oregon University student Gladys Jimenez, who was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street.

The university, city and Oregon Department of Transportation made various changes, including adding orange pedestrian flags, rumble strips and flashing lights and reducing the speed limit. The city also formed the Siskiyou Safety Ad Hoc Committee.

As part of the evaluation of Siskiyou Boulevard safety, HDR Engineering will review crash data, current safety measures and vehicle and pedestrian volume. It will make recommendations for improvements and possible traffic control measures, as well as meet with city staff, the Siskiyou Safety Ad Hoc Committee and the city's Traffic Safety Commission.

The work plan given to the firm includes an optional street lighting study. But first, the firm will review Siskiyou Boulevard and city staff will make a recommendation to the City Council based on that review as to whether a lighting study is needed.

Some residents have advocated brighter overhead lighting, while others worry that would create pockets of darkness at some crosswalks if lights are not positioned by the crosswalks.

Staff writer can be reached at 479-8199 or To post a comment, visit .

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