Latest vehicle-pedestrian crash puts spotlight again on Bend Parkway safety improvements
(Update: Police release name of crash victim; adding fundraising page, update on victim condition, comments from planning officials)
Pedestrian hit in crosswalk at ICU in an induced coma
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – The sixth crash in four years involving pedestrians crossing the Bend Parkway has again put the spotlight on what can be done to make the highway safer for pedestrians and drivers.
Bend police on Tuesday identified the victim of Monday afternoon's crash as Mason Briley, who was struck by a pickup truck in the area of the Pinebrook Avenue crosswalk, leaving him with critical injuries.
Briley's family said he just turned 18 last week and is now in a medically induced coma at St. Charles Bend.
Police were dispatched shortly before 4:30 p.m. to the parkway at Pinebrook Boulevard, Lieutenant Clint Burleigh said.
Bend police say Briley was struck by a 77-year-old Hood River man in pickup truck. The crash and investigation closed the northbound lanes of Highway 97 for over three hours. The man and his passenger were unhurt in the crash and the driver has been cooperative in the investigation, he added.
“At this time, investigators have ruled out alcohol and drug impairment as factors in the crash,” Burleigh said in a news release.
Burleigh said Bend police are working with the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office on the crash investigation.
Plans for parkway improvements call for pedestrian over-crossings, and closing some intersections. The project would update the entire stretch of Highway 97 that is the Bend Parkway. But that's a big project. Planning officials say it could take up to 20 years to complete.
The City of Bend and the Bend Metropolitan Planning Organization are developing plans to update the Bend Parkway. Bend MPO Manager Tyler Deke says there's a need for updates, especially as more and more people are moving to Bend.
"The parkway now is closing in on being 20 years old, and so there was a need to look just bigger term. Bend's growing tremendously, and so we're expecting it to continue growing like it is," Deke said.
"With the funding constraints and the physical constraints that are out there, how do we keep the facility functioning not only for people that are traveling on the parkway but allowing and improving access for people to get across the parkway as well?"
There are several proposed ideas, and each differ in priority. Pedestrian overpasses are considered a 'Tier 2' project. meaning it's not at the top of the list.
"It's unlikely to be funded in the next few years, but it's something that is definitely a priority." Deke said.
Deke added that the project needs to be approved and funded before they can move forward with any plans. He also says the pedestrian overcrossings alone could cost $5 million.
A family member of Briley has created a Facebook fundraiser page, at: https://www.facebook.com/donate/163072849134400/