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News Release: Mayor Hales, Commissioner Novick say recent traffic fatalities underscore urgency of Vision Zero, safety improvements

(March 21, 2016) - After three traffic crashes killed two people and seriously injured one more this past weekend, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick today reiterated the City of Portland’s commitment to ending traffic fatalities and urged the public to take steps to reduce crashes.

vision zero logoIncluding this weekend’s crashes, Portland has had eight fatalities in traffic crashes this year. Each of these fatalities is a major tragedy for families in our community and include three people walking, three in motor vehicles, one on bicycle and one on motorcycle. In fatal crashes on SE Center Street and NE Cully Boulevard, Portland Police arrested two drivers on several charges including Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, a contributing factor that concerns city leaders.

“Our community is committed to achieving Vision Zero by eliminating deaths and serious injuries on our streets,” said Mayor Hales, who oversees the Portland Police Bureau. “More than half of Portland’s traffic fatalities involve DUII. This weekend's tragedies remind us why no one should drive under the influence, and all Portlanders should follow the rules of the road, including speed limits. These personal choices directly affect neighbors and families. Make the right choice. Don't drink and drive.”

The City of Portland has committed to Vision Zero, adopting the goal of ending traffic fatalities and serious injuries. The Vision Zero approach says that all traffic crashes are preventable with the right combination of efforts to address engineering, education, traffic enforcement and public engagement.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to the families and communities affected by the crashes over the weekend,” said Commissioner Novick, who oversees the Portland Bureau of Transportation. “Any time we have a fatal or serious injury crash, it has a terrible impact on families, friends and the broader community. People may feel less safe and less comfortable traveling in their neighborhoods when they hear of these preventable tragedies. This City Council has made historic investments in traffic safety, including millions of dollars for sidewalks and safer crossings on 122nd Avenue that will enable to significantly improved transit service in the area. But clearly we need to do more, and I remain firmly committed to improving transportation safety, especially in areas such as East Portland, where historically underserved communities brave some of our city’s most dangerous roadways. ”

Three weekend crashes raised renewed concern:

  • On Friday, a 35-year old woman was walking across NE Glisan Street at 117th Avenue when she was struck by a an eastbound car. The driver of the vehicle has been cooperating with investigators.
  • On Saturday, a 17-year-old boy was killed while riding a bicycle at SE Center Street and 142nd Avenue. The driver of a Dodge Dakota pickup that struck him is being held on DUII and other charges. 
  • On Saturday, a 58-year-old man was killed while crossing NE Cully Boulevard at NE Mason Street. The driver of a 2012 Honda Insight that struck him is being held on DUII and other charges.

 

In 2015, Portland had 37 traffic fatalities, including 20 people in cars and trucks, five on motorcycles, two on bicycles, and 10 people walking. Portland Bureau of Transportation found that 54 percent of fatal crashes that year included at least one person who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to the 2015 Portland Traffic Safety Report.

Since the City Council adopted Vision Zero, PBOT has been adding safety improvements to City streets and working with other local agencies to find better data that can improve our understanding of the underlying causes of traffic crashes. In recent years, PBOT has installed more than 20 rapid flashing beacons at crosswalks in East Portland, installed 14 more since last summer, and has plans for 15 additional beacons in the coming year. The bureau is building sidewalks and other improvements on High Crash Corridors such as 122nd Avenue and East Burnside Street.

Portland Bureau of Transportation is working with the Portland Police Bureau and Vision Zero Task Force with diverse areas of expertise, including law enforcement, education, public health and emergency response.

Find out more about PBOT’s safety work and Vision Zero at www.visionzeroportland.com. It includes the Vision Zero crash map, an interactive map that displays 10 years of injury and fatality data for people walking, biking and driving. It also includes the Vision Zero Pledge, a way every Portlander can commit to traveling more safely and show support for the global campaign to end traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

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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. www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation