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Media Relations

Dylan Rivera
503-823-3723

Diane Dulken
503-823-5552

For breaking news from Portland Bureau of Transportation see our Twitter feed: @PBOTinfo. 

For breaking news on overall service disruptions in the Portland-Vancouver metro area, go to @publicalerts or see www.publicalerts.org 

N Williams Traffic Safety Project: Construction nears completion with new traffic signal on Cook

(December 26, 2014) - Travelers along North Williams Avenue will now notice the new traffic signal at N.E. Cook Street and N Williams Avenue - which marks one of the last major pieces of the N Williams Traffic Safety Project.  The installation also signals the end of a three-year journey to redesign this major street that serves a growing neighborhood, is the city's busiest bicycle commute corridor and serves transit and drivers.

The $1.5 million project, funded through grants, has transformed N Williams Avenue to be a safer place for all travelers by addressing the many issues that neighbors, community and business representatives and PBOT staff identified through a 16-month public involvement process in 2011 and 2012. 

The new street design, installed on time and on budget, uses an innovative approach to traffic calming which reallocates the roadway space to better balance N Williams as a neighborhood-oriented street that puts pedestrian safety first. 

The main safety benefit is achieved by reducing the speed of the street.  Given how many people walk along N Williams in a given day, PBOT also boosted pedestrian safety by streamlining the number of travel lanes that pedestrians need to cross –from two to one.   Curb extensions constructed at five different locations further improve crossing safety.

The street width has been reallocated to where it was most needed – the bike lane.  Bicycle use has increased dramatically over the past decade and had exceeded the capacity provided by the old configuration.  The overall impact to auto traffic capacity is minimal because the travel lanes can continue to accommodate current and projected number of vehicles. In addition, the point where the most congestion is generated – the signalized intersections – remains unchanged.  

The new design’s other major safety improvement was achieved by shifting the bike lane to the left side of the street, which eliminated the conflict that occurred when heavy bus traffic moved across the right-side bike lane to get to and from transit stops.

 The new traffic signal at Cook Street also helps address a long-standing safety problem with freeway traffic feeding onto N. Williams Avenue

 Minor construction activity will continue for the next several weeks to finish the project, largely related to signage and striping work. 

 

Next Steps

This winter, PBOT will conduct a full operations assessment to identify and address any additional modifications to improve operations.

Beginning in the new year,  PBOT will finalize public involvement for design recommendations for the adjacent Rodney Neighborhood Greenway Project, which complements the improvements to N. Williams and is funded through the same state grant.  Construction is expected to begin later next summer.

In January construction of a new traffic signal at N Vancouver and Cook Street will begin.   Funded by a separate Local Improvement District, in which private property owners pool their resources to fund the project, this signal will complement the new one at Williams and Cook by improving safe access to the freeway.

Work also continues on the Honoring History element of the project. North Williams was the historic center of African-American life in Portland.  A subcommittee made up of original Stakeholder Advisory Committee members is working with the Regional Arts & Culture Council to develop an art project that provides education about the historical change in the surrounding area. That project is expected to be installed by summer 2015.

To view the history of this project, schematics, public outreach materials and additional information, please visit northwilliamssafety.org

View more "before and after" pictures here:

 

 

 

 

 

News Advisory: Evening crosswalk enforcement action slated to promote pedestrian safety Dec 16 at E Burnside St and NE 24 Ave

(December 12, 2014) – The Portland Bureau of Transportation and Portland Police Bureau advise the traveling public that a crosswalk enforcement action is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 16, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to raise awareness of pedestrian safety and Oregon traffic laws.

The City police and transportation bureaus are holding this month’s crosswalk enforcement action during the evening rush hour at East Burnside Street and 24th Avenue to reinforce the need for drivers to stop and stay stopped for pedestrians in the crossing at all times, and to be extra alert during the low light conditions of late fall and winter.

Burnside Street as a whole is designated by the transportation bureau as one of the city’s ten High Crash Corridors, streets with high crash rates that the bureau is targeting for improvements as well as educational efforts.  This stretch of Burnside Street was recently redesigned to improve safety as part of the East Burnside Traffic Safety Project.

This location has a marked crosswalk on one leg, a median island, and signage to alert drivers to the presence of pedestrians in the crossing.  This spring, the crossing is slated for further safety improvements, which will add an island and marked crossing on the west leg.

Each crosswalk enforcement action involves a designated pedestrian crossing at a marked or unmarked crosswalk while police monitor how people who are driving, bicycling and walking adhere to traffic safety laws.

The City is urging all travelers to be visible and look out for each other, especially during low light conditions of late fall and winter.

  • Drivers can do their part by driving at or below the posted speed and continuously scanning the environment for pedestrians and people on bicycles and being ready to stop as needed.  
  • Bicyclists, by state law, must have a white front light and rear red reflector or red light at a minimum.
  • Pedestrians are encouraged to be more visible by wearing retro-reflective wear, carrying a flashlight or blinking strobe, and investing in bright and contrasting outerwear.

Drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk and pedestrians who fail to follow Oregon traffic laws may be issued a warning or citation.

Crosswalk enforcement actions are an effective way to communicate pedestrian right of way laws to both drivers and pedestrians. The transportation and police bureaus do enforcement actions about once each month in response to requests by community members, city traffic safety engineers, and Portland Police to educate the general public on the rules at marked and unmarked crossings.

Learn more about pedestrian visibility at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/512391, the Transportation Bureau’s safety work at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/40390 and pedestrian rights and responsibilities at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/435879.

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News Release: City of Portland sues Uber for operating illegal, unregulated transportation service

(Dec. 8, 2014) The City of Portland has filed suit against Uber Technologies Inc. in Multnomah County Circuit Court, after documenting that the California-based company started operating private-for hire transportation services in the city.

The lawsuit seeks declaratory relief that Uber is subject to and in violation of the City of Portland’s Private for Hire Transportation Regulations and Administrative Rules. The City’s lawsuit is asking for a declaration by the court that Uber is subject to the City’s regulations. The lawsuit also asks the Court to order Uber to stop operating in Portland until it is in compliance with the City’s safety, health and consumer protection rules.

Transportation Director Leah Treat on Monday morning issued a Cease and Desist Order to Uber. The order was cited in the lawsuit.

“I am hereby directing that Uber Technologies Inc…. or any other Uber affiliate entity immediately cease and desist operating within the City of Portland until such time as appropriate permits are obtained and Uber is in full compliance with the requirements of Portland City Code Chapter 16.40,” Treat wrote. “Please alert all Uber-affiliated drivers that they are to cease and desist.”

“Our main concern is public health and safety, because the state invested in the cities the responsibility to do that,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Beyond that, though, is the issue of fairness. Taxi cab companies follow rules on public health and safety. So do hotels and restaurants and construction companies and scores of other service providers. Because everyone agrees: good regulations make for a safer community. Uber disagrees, so we’re seeking a court injunction.”

City Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees PBOT, said the City is prepared to issue civil and criminal penalties against Uber and its drivers for operating without required permits and inspections. The City of Portland requires permits for drivers and companies that offer taxi or executive sedan service within the city limits.

“If Uber thinks there should be no maximum price on what they charge Portlanders, they should make their case to the Portland City Council,” Novick said. “If Uber thinks taxi companies shouldn’t have to serve people with disabilities, they should make their case. If Uber thinks taxis should not have to have proper insurance in case of a crash, they should tell us why we should allow that.”

Uber drivers accepted and then later cancelled two rides requested by Portland Bureau of Transportation enforcement officials on Friday night. Uber drivers provided three rides to City enforcement officials on Saturday night. Uber has widely publicized that it was operating in Portland over the weekend.

The Transportation Bureau issued two civil penalties to Uber on Monday, one for operating without a company permit and another for operating without a vehicle permit.

As the City documents Uber’s unpermitted operations in Portland, the Bureau will issue warnings to Uber drivers and penalties to the company. Drivers found to be repeatedly operating without a permit may be subject to civil and criminal penalties.

An attorney representing the City of Portland also issued a Cease and Desist Order Monday to Uber for unauthorized use of the image of the historic “Portland, Oregon” sign in Old Town in its advertising. The sign’s image is a trademark registered with the State of Oregon. If Uber does not cease all commercial use of the sign by 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, the City is prepared to seek a court order, damages and attorney’s fees.

The Transportation Bureau encourages the public to report illegal taxi operations, and complaints about any private for hire transportation provider to 503-865-2486 or by email to regulatory@portlandoregon.gov

Background on Private for Hire Transportation in Portland Portland and Vancouver, Wash. are the only cities in the metropolitan area that regulate taxi companies. Uber recently started operating in Vancouver without permits and in other area cities that do not regulate taxis.

Since the City Council moved taxi regulation from the Revenue Bureau to PBOT, effective July 1, Commissioner Novick and transportation officials started a top-to-bottom review intended to update the City’s taxi and executive sedan regulations.

Commissioner Novick is convening a task force to reexamine existing taxi regulations and see if those regulations should be restructured while protecting consumers and drivers.

It is illegal for motorists to pick up passengers for a fee in the Portland city limits without proper permits. Taxis that pick up passengers outside of Portland may drop off those passengers in Portland without a permit.

Anyone in Portland can use the smartphone app Curb to call taxis from Broadway and Radio Cab, which are two of the largest permitted taxi companies in the city.

The three most common violations of City Code that city enforcement officers find, and which Uber and its drivers may be in violation of, are:

 

Code Section

Requirement

1st Offense

2nd Offense

Subsequent Offenses

16.40.090 A.

LPT and Taxi Driver Permit

$1,000

$2,500

$5,000

16.40.150 A.

Taxi Company Permit

$1,500

$2,500

$5,000

16.40.190 B.

Taxiplate

$1,250

$2,500

$5,000

Full City Code Citation: http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/?c=28593#cid_408153

 The Limited Passenger Transportation and Taxi Driver Permit requirements ensure the public that drivers have passed annual City-required annual background checks.

The Taxi Company Permit requirement ensures the public that licensed companies have appropriate commercial insurance that will cover passengers in the event of a crash, and that the companies’ drivers have annual City-required background checks and inspected vehicles.

The Taxiplate display requirement calls for posting of a metal plate on the vehicle with an identification number. It helps customers and enforcement officers identify permitted operators.

We've also put together a collection of frequently asked questions about taxi and other private for hire transportation regulations in Portland.

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News Release: Uber and its drivers may face penalties, fines for operating illegally in Portland, Transportation Bureau warns

(Dec. 5, 2014) The Portland Bureau of Transportation has learned that transportation company Uber has said it will start offering taxi service in Portland illegally on Friday night.

City Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees PBOT, said the City is prepared to issue civil and criminal penalties against Uber and its drivers for operating without required permits and inspections. The City of Portland requires permits for drivers and companies that offer taxi or executive sedan service within the city limits.

“There’s nothing sharing about this so-called ‘sharing economy’ company: They want to profit in Portland without playing by the same rules as existing cab companies,” Novick said. “People who pick up passengers for Uber in Portland should know that they are operating illegally and could be subject to penalties. Public safety, fairness among competitors and customer service are our top priorities. Unlike permitted drivers, Uber drivers do not carry commercial insurance, putting Portland customers at great risk.”

Portland and Vancouver, Wash. are the only cities in the metropolitan area that regulate taxi companies. Uber recently started operating in Vancouver without permits and in other area cities that do not regulate taxis.

Since the City Council moved taxi regulation from the Revenue Bureau to PBOT, effective July 1, Commissioner Novick and transportation officials started a top-to-bottom review intended to update the City’s taxi and executive sedan regulations.

Commissioner Novick is convening a task force to reexamine existing taxi regulations and see if those regulations should be restructured while protecting consumers and drivers.

“We have told Uber and Lyft that they are welcome to offer ideas for regulatory changes,” Novick said. “Uber has chosen instead to break the law.”

It is illegal for motorists to pick up passengers for a fee in the Portland city limits without proper permits. Taxis that pick up passengers outside of Portland may drop off those passengers in Portland without a permit.

Anyone in Portland can use the smartphone app Curb to call taxis from Broadway and Radio Cab, which are two of the largest permitted taxi companies in the city.

The three most common violations of City Code that city enforcement officers find, and which Uber and its drivers may be in violation of, are:

 

Code Section

Requirement

1st Offense

2nd Offense

Subsequent Offenses

16.40.090 A.

LPT and Taxi Driver Permit

$1,000

$2,500

$5,000

16.40.150 A.

Taxi Company Permit

$1,500

$2,500

$5,000

16.40.190 B.

Taxiplate

$1,250

$2,500

$5,000

Full City Code Citation: http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/?c=28593#cid_408153

 

The Limited Passenger Transportation and Taxi Driver Permit requirements ensure the public that drivers have passed annual City-required annual background checks.

The Taxi Company Permit requirement ensures the public that licensed companies have appropriate commercial insurance that will cover passengers in the event of a crash, and that the companies’ drivers have annual City-required background checks and inspected vehicles.

The Taxiplate display requirement calls for posting of a metal plate on the vehicle with an identification number. It helps customers and enforcement officers identify permitted operators.

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News Release: Street Seats to host Dec. 5 open house; accept 2015 proposals through Jan. 15 to turn parking spaces into outdoor seating

(December 3, 2014) -   While Portlanders weather a cold snap, The Portland Bureau of Transportation is looking ahead to warm weather opportunities to enliven the streetscape by expanding its popular Street Seats program.

The transportation bureau is seeking concept proposals through January 15, 2015, and will host an open house on December 5 at the Portland Building (1120 SW 5th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Room B) from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Staff and local design firms will be available to answer questions and provide design inspiration.

Now in its fourth year, Street Seats gives businesses or non-profit organizations the opportunity to convert on-street parking into other public uses, such as café seating or a mini-park.  Based on similar programs in San Francisco and New York City, the program enlivens the streetscape by creating spaces for Portlanders to stop, sit and enjoy the life of the street. Many Street Seats also allow people to enjoy seating and a meal or a drink outdoors, which in turn enhances street vitality and benefits local businesses.

The transportation bureau experimented with a pilot Street Seats project in 2012 and instituted an ongoing program in spring 2013. 

Today, Portland has 12 Street Seat installations, 10 of which were organized by restaurants to offer outdoor café seating.  Two installations on NE Alberta Street have been designed solely for open public seating and are a result of collaboration between the Bureau of Transportation and Center for Architecture in its second annual Street Seat Design Competition. 

While encouraging additional restaurant and café proposals, the Transportation Bureau will prioritize design proposals that are open to full public use, and that show creativity and excellence in design.

Proposals may be seasonal or year-round, and may be located in any part of the city, except the downtown core from West Burnside to SW Harrison Street, and SW Second to Tenth avenues.

Application packets as well as a map of current Street Seats may be found at www.PortlandOregon.gov/Transportation/StreetSeats

View Street Seats photos from Portland and elsewhere: https://www.flickr.com/groups/pdxstreetseats/

Sign up for Street Seats e-updates.

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Media Contact:
Diane Dulken 503-823-5552 diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov