Advocates say pedestrian killed by vehicle in Portland part of disturbing trend


PORTLAND (WGME) — A pedestrian hit and killed by a vehicle in Portland Tuesday was the third such death in Maine so far this year.

The crash happened around 2:45 a.m. on Riverside Street near Forest Avenue.

“It’s very heavy traffic,” Jean Leconte, who lives near Riverside Street, said. “Very.”

During the day, there’s of plenty of traffic in the mostly industrial area of Riverside Street.

“It’s very dangerous,” Leconte said. “And I shop at the Hannaford that’s there on Riverside Street. And that’s very busy.”

In the middle of the night, drivers may not expect to see anyone walking along the road.

It’s not known yet if the pedestrian was trying to cross the street when police say he was hit by a pickup driven by a 24-year-old Portland resident.

There are no crosswalks between Warren and Forest Avenues to safely cross Riverside Street.

“It goes from two lanes into three for turning traffic. And the people trying to cross there, it’s just not a good place for pedestrians,” Leconte said.

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine says this pedestrian death is part of a disturbing trend.

“Twenty pedestrians were killed on the road in 2021,” Jean Sidaris of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine said. “There were 10 people who were killed in 2020, and to see three already this year is just tragic.”

CBS13 reached out to the city to see if there are plans to add crosswalks and more sidewalks on Riverside before the homeless shelter opens there.

We did not hear back.

“Infrastructure is absolutely critical to understand how that area is going to be used or how we want it to be used,” Sidaris said.

Others who work on Riverside Street or live nearby worry what might happen to people staying at the shelter if sidewalk and crosswalk improvements aren’t made.

“There’ll be more people killed or injured,” Leconte said.

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine says drivers need to not only watch for pedestrians but anticipate seeing them on the road.

“Expect to see people. And for those folks who are walking or out there biking, be visible as you can, follow the rules of the road,” Sidaris said.

No charges have been filed and no names are being released.

Portland police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the crash to call them.

Read the full article via WGME by clicking here.

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