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13 Investigates: Missing crosswalks causing pedestrian problems in Portland

Updated:
13 Investigates: Missing crosswalks causing pedestrian problems in Portland story image
PORTLAND (WGME) - Hundreds of pedestrians count on crosswalks every day to get across the street safely,  but we discovered dozens of them are missing all over Portland, several of them near schools.

State law is very clear: drivers "must yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing within a marked crosswalk." However, we found what used to be marked crosswalks, so we went to the city to report the problem and get some answers.   

In Portland's Deering Center neighborhood there's no shortage of people who love to walk around - from the corner video and ice cream shop, to churches and schools, but figuring out where you're supposed to walk and cross is getting more and more confusing as the crosswalks get harder and harder to see.

"This one here is all gone; one over there is all gone; that one's gone; that one's gone, and two other ones up there that just barely show," one neighbor pointed out.

The missing markings aren't just on Stevens. We found crosswalk remnants all over Portland - from Baxter Blvd., up to Ocean Ave., Washington and Allen.

We brought pictures of the problem to Portland Public Services Director Mike Bobinsky. He says since mid-April they've been working to re-paint the missing markings, focusing on high traffic areas in the Old Port and downtown.

"We spent most of the spring and early summer finishing the peninsula, both the west end, east end, and now we're working off peninsula," Bobinsky said.

"It's now mid-August though. Why has this taken so long? Summer is nearly over," CBS 13's Jon Chrisos asked.

"We certainly share that concern as well; there's a variety of reasons for that," Bobinsky said.

He says rain, temperature issues, equipment breakdown, and availability of the contracted crew are all factors. But Bobinsky admits they should all be done by now.

"We certainly wanted an earlier response time," he told us.

He said, down the road, they'll work towards that goal.

"We'll look a little closer at how we schedule our work crews to make sure it's done in a more timely manner certainly well before the summer is two-thirds over," Bobinsky said.

Because of road salt and sand, Bobinsky says most road markings in Maine only last six to eight months, but they're now putting a new, more durable paint to the test at Warren and Riverside.
It's supposed to last for five years; it's also four times the price.

UPDATE: Within 24 hours of us reaching out to the city and reporting the problems we found, crews got to work. Overnight they painted new crosswalks on most of Stevens and Ocean. They'll start on Washington Ave. next and hope to be done with all of them by Monday.13 Investigates: Missing crosswalks causing pedestrian problems in Portland
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