SACO – As soon as weather permits, two crosswalks on Main Street will be removed.

A city committee has decided to remove the pedestrian crossings of four lanes of traffic at the intersections of Cleveland and Summer streets, in response to a fatal accident that occurred in the crosswalk at Cleveland Street last year.

On July 11, Constance Orendorf, 74, was crossing Main Street, which is also Route 1, on her way to Mass at Trinity Episcopal Church when she was hit by a minivan. She died from her injuries later that day at Maine Medical Center in Portland. The driver, Walter Fleury, 66, was charged with manslaughter.

Fleury has been indicted and is awaiting trial, and the safety of the crosswalk remains in question.

After the accident, Saco’s traffic safety committee commissioned a study, said Police Chief Brad Paul. The report by Gorrill-Palmer Consulting Engineers Inc. recommended that unless the city could make safety improvements such as additional lighting and pedestrian crossing signals, both crosswalks should be removed.

Paul said 25,000 vehicles travel that section of Route 1 every day.

The crosswalks’ removal will leave pedestrians with crossing signals about 915 feet away, at the Beach Street intersection, and 425 feet away, at Fairfield and King streets, near Thornton Academy.

When Thornton Academy built a dormitory close to Main Street in 2009, the Planning Board required the school to add a pedestrian crossing light. Paul said time will tell if that light is effective.

Orendorf’s family could not be reached for comment, but a recent e-mail from her daughter, Cara St. Louis-Farrelly, to the City Council and The Portland Press Herald said the city is “doing the right thing” by removing the crosswalks.

The Rev. David Robinson, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, agreed.

“It is unrealistic for them to put in a lighted crosswalk there,” he said, describing the traffic in front of the church as “crazy.”

“At least the city is doing something to make the crossing safe,” he said.

While many crosswalks on Main Street don’t have signals, including the one in front of City Hall, City Administrator Rick Michaud said they are safer because the road is only two lanes in those places and the sidewalks “bump out” into the road.

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at: [email protected]


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