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Portland Bureau of Transportation

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1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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News Release: First ‘pedestrian scramble’ in Portland goes live ahead of the holiday season, one of three new traffic signals activated in the Pearl District

Pedestrian scramble opened NW 11th and Couch

(Nov. 24, 2015) Traffic engineers from the Portland Bureau of Transportation have activated Portland’s first “pedestrian scramble” at the corner of NW 11th Avenue and Couch Street in the Pearl District, just ahead of the holiday shopping season. The pedestrian scramble crossing is one of three new traffic signals in the Pearl District. The newly-activated traffic signals are located at the intersections of NW 11th Avenue and Couch Street, NW 10th Avenue and Couch Street and NW Broadway and Couch Street.

A pedestrian scramble, also called a “Barnes Dance” after 20th century traffic engineer Henry Barnes, is an intersection where motor vehicle traffic halts and pedestrians are given priority. During the scramble, people may cross the intersection in all directions – including diagonally. The intersection of NW 11th and Couch is one of the most heavily used pedestrian crossings in Portland, in addition to being along the A Loop, B Loop and North/South Streetcar lines, making it highly suitable for a scramble crossing.

The pedestrian scramble intersection at 11th and Couch consists of three phases:

  • The first phase is the scramble, which allows for people walking to cross in all directions – including diagonally across the intersection.
  • The second phase is an east side only crossing, allowing for pedestrians to cross NW Couch between Powell’s Books and Starbucks while the Streetcar and other motor vehicles move north-south through the intersection.
  • The third phase is a north side only crossing, which allows for pedestrians to cross NW 11th Avenue while motor vehicles travel east-west on NW Couch or turn south on NW 11th towards West Burnside.

Crew installs pedestrian scramble intersection

A “Portland-style” event to celebrate the opening of the City’s first scramble crossing is scheduled for Dec. 5. Details are forthcoming. 

In total, five new signals will be installed in the Pearl and in Old Town Chinatown. The $2.4 million in signals is being paid for with urban renewal funds from the Portland Development Commission and PBOT System Development Charges, which come from real estate development.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation asks the traveling public to be mindful of others and obey all traffic signs and signals and to use caution when crossing streetcar tracks.

Photography by Felicity J. Mackay, Portland Bureau of Transportation


The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility.

News Release: Downtown shoppers encouraged to use SmartPark garages for Thanksgiving holiday weekend

No charge for on-street parking at meters on Thanksgiving Day

(Nov. 24, 2015) – The Portland Bureau of Transportation advises visitors to Downtown Portland for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend that five of the six SmartPark garages will close at 11 p.m. on Wednesday for Thanksgiving Day and reopen at 5 p.m. on Thursday, to accommodate holiday shoppers.

The O’Bryant Square SmartPark garage will close at its normal time, 7 p.m. Wednesday, and reopen at its normal time, 6:30 a.m. on Friday.

On-street parking meters will not charge for parking on Thanksgiving Day, per City Code, but regular parking rates will apply Friday through Sunday. On Friday, on-street parking will not be allowed along the Macy’s Holiday Parade route from 6 to 11 a.m., and meters along the route will not accept payment during those hours.

SmartPark garages will re-open for Friday according to the following schedule and then will operate according to regular business hours:

SmartPark garage locations to open at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 26:
3rd & Alder - SW 3rd Avenue and Alder Street
4th & Yamhill - SW 4th Avenue and Yamhill Street
10th & Yamhill - SW 10th Avenue and Yamhill Street
1st & Jefferson - SW 1st Avenue and Jefferson Street
Naito & Davis - NW Naito Parkway and Davis Street

PBOT’s SmartPark garages are normally open 24 hours, seven days a week, except for the O’Bryant Square garage, which operates 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The six PBOT SmartPark parking garages include nearly 4,000 public parking spaces and serve shoppers, business clients and visitors to Downtown Portland. The public should contact Central Parking at (503) 790-9302 for questions related to SmartPark garage operating hours or visit


The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility.

News Release: PBOT stands with state, regional partners to deliver its ‘Get Home Safe’ winter travel tips

PBOT stands with state, regional partners to deliver its "Get Home Safe" winter travel tips.

(Nov. 24, 2015) As part of its Get Home Safe winter travel initiative, the Portland Bureau of Transportation stood with state and regional transportation agencies at the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Baldock Maintenance Yard to share the latest information the public needs to prepare for the winter travel season.

Working with other agencies, PBOT has been preparing for winter snow and ice conditions. PBOT officials introduced updated snow plow and de-icing routes. The bureau announced that it has expanded its de-icing routes by 40 miles, including 20 additional miles of coverage of Portland Public School bus routes. The bureau also announced it has switched to magnesium chloride as its de-icing agent to clear ice more effectively and efficiently. Magnesium chloride is also used by ODOT, and by using the same chemical, PBOT will be able to purchase more product at a lower cost and share supplies with the state during a storm.

Maurice Henderson“Thanksgiving is the start of the winter travel season, but PBOT has already been preparing for winter weather for months,” said Maurice Henderson, Deputy Director of PBOT. “Helping Portlanders get home safe is our winter weather mission. We’re ready and we need the public to be ready too. That is why we’re joining our state and regional partners to spread the word about what people who drive, walk and bike can do to be safe during a winter storm. Bad weather is inevitable. Unsafe travel doesn’t have to be.”

Suzanne Kahn, PBOT’s Maintenance Operations Group Manager, highlighted the steps PBOT has taken and will take to prepare for winter weather. “We’ve inspected our equipment, and our crews have trained and reviewed their snow and de-icing routes. When a major storm hits, our crews will work around the clock. PBOT has been preparing for months for winter weather. Now we need Portlanders to partner with us and use our winter weather tips so they can get home safe in the event of a storm.”

The City of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation begins annual preparations for winter weather by conducting a training/refresher course for Maintenance Operations crews on snow plow operations during the last week of October. Crews practice maneuvering dump trucks fitted with snowplows and sand spreaders on a large obstacle course at Sunderland Yard.

Following completion of the course, crew members conduct a full check of the snow vehicle fleet at PBOT’s incident response headquarters at the Kerby Maintenance Offices. They also drive trucks along their assigned snow routes to re-familiarize themselves with the routes and terrain.

When there is a snow, sleet, ice, or other winter weather event, PBOT’s top priority is safety. Transportation crews will work to help Portlanders travel safety and to minimize inconvenience to residents and businesses.

“We appreciate our partnership with PBOT and ODOT as they keep roads passable, which helps us keep transit running and safely connecting riders to their destinations,” said TriMet spokesperson Mary Fetsch. “We do travel slower in wintery conditions, so we want to remind our riders to be prepared for delays and the elements.”

Officials with the Oregon Department of Transportation and Washington State Department of Transportation also spoke at the event. Partners attending included the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, Portland Aerial Tram and Portland Streetcar Inc.

Photography by Felicity J. Mackay, Portland Bureau of Transportation

Portland Bureau of Transportation

Winter Weather: Get Home Safe

Snow and Ice resources

Are You Prepared?

Frequently Asked Questions


Get Home Safe


The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and

News Release: SE Clinton Neighborhood Greenway to be enhanced with diverter installation, following public awareness campaign

(November 19, 2015) As a part of the Clinton Neighborhood Greenway Enhancement Project, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has scheduled the installation of two traffic diverters on SE Clinton Street at SE 17th Avenue and 32nd Avenue. Weather permitting, the diverters will be installed during the first week of January 2016.

Starting in early December, PBOT will conduct an education and awareness campaign to alert people who use SE Clinton to the street’s status as a neighborhood greenway. The campaign is a direct response to the feedback PBOT received during the public involvement process. This process included two open houses with approximately 300 total participants. PBOT also received over 700 comments submitted to the bureau either at the open houses or on-line.

The Clinton Neighborhood Greenway Enhancement Project focuses on reducing auto traffic volumes and speeds to comply with the performance guidelines recently established for neighborhood greenways in the Neighborhood Greenway Assessment Report.

This report was unanimously accepted by City Council this past summer. Using newly adopted performance guidelines, the report evaluates Portland’s existing Neighborhood Greenway network. This evaluation determined that while neighborhood greenways are very popular element of Portland’s bicycle system, some of the older routes are no longer providing conditions that allow for safe and comfortable bicycle use.

This is the case on SE Clinton. Between SE 12th Avenue and SE Cesar Chavez Boulevard, traffic volumes currently exceed the upper acceptable limit of 2,000 cars/day by 200 to 1,000 cars.  Much of this traffic is believed to be non-local cut-through traffic that should be using either SE Division Street or SE Powell Boulevard. Public comment leading up to the adoption of the assessment report strongly supported SE Clinton as a candidate for improvement to address the speed and volume issues.

”We build Neighborhood Greenways to make it safe and inviting for more Portlanders to walk and bike,” said PBOT Director Leah Treat. “As Portland continues to grow and our traffic patterns evolve, we need to support and enhance our Greenway network. That’s our goal on SE Clinton and throughout the city.”

The diverters will be installed as part of a six month trial period to assess their effect on improving conditions for people who walk and bike on SE Clinton and decreasing the traffic on the street. A citizen’s advisory committee will assist in the evaluation of the trial period and also recommend if modifications are needed for the project’s second phase.

In addition to the diverters, PBOT will be changing 34th Avenue to a one-way northbound street, with a contraflow southbound bike lane.  If traffic volumes can be reduced below 2,000 cars per day, the street section will also be signed for 20 mph. East of SE Cesar Chavez Boulevard, PBOT will install speed bumps. Construction of the changes to 34th Ave will begin as soon as the weather permits striping work.  Installation of the speed bumps east of SE Cesar Chavez Boulevard will begin next spring when weather conditions allow that type of construction.




The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility.

Traffic Advisory: Street improvements on E Burnside Street to close lanes from NE 90th Ave. to NE 94th Ave., Nov. 19-20

(Nov. 18, 2015) – The Portland Bureau of Transportation advises the traveling public that street improvements will require lane closures on East Burnside Street from NE 90th Avenue to NE 94th Avenue starting Thursday, Nov. 19, through Friday, Nov. 20, from 7 a.m. through 5 p.m. each work day to complete a first phase of asphalt removal.

At a later date, dependent on the weather, PBOT crews will return to repave the road surface.

At least one travel lane will be open at all times. The lane closures will allow crews to pave .85 lane miles of E Burnside Street, part of PBOT’s Back to Basics goal of providing preventive maintenance on 100 lane miles of streets each year.

Check for information about bus service during the work period.

Lane closures are only in effect during project work hours. Access will be maintained for businesses and residents during the project.

Streets with ground down surfaces are open for travel. People riding bicycles should expect rough surfaces when lanes are ground down before repaving. When riding a bicycle, consider using sidewalks and other routes during work hours.

The traveling public is advised to expect delays while repairs are being made. We ask the public to travel cautiously, observe all lane closures and directions by reader boards and flaggers, and use alternate routes if possible.

This work is weather-dependent and the schedule may change.