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SE Gladstone, 26th to 39th Avenue

SE Gladstone
26th to 39th Avenue
Final Project Evaluation

Introduction

The Traffic Calming Program (TCP) undertook a traffic calming project in the fall of 1994 to address traffic problems identified by residents along SE Gladstone from 26th to 39th Avenue.

Area Map

 
The land uses along SE Gladstone Street are primarily residential. There are a few multi-family residences, but the dominant land use is single-family residential. There are some commercial land uses on SE Gladstone, with most at each end of the project segment.
 
SE Gladstone is fully improved to City standards, with parking on both sides of the street. There are vertical curves that limit sight distances near the west end of the street. The street is also marked with bicycle lanes. Thirteen Local Service streets are intersecting SE Gladstone. These streets are stop-controlled, with one exception at SE 32nd, where there is a school traffic signal. There is a signal at SE Gladstone and SE 39th, and four-way stops at SE Gladstone and SE 28th and at SE 26th Avenues. 26th Avenue, to the west, is a Neighborhood Collector street. 39th Avenue, at the street segment's east end, is a Major City Traffic street.
 
A Tri-Met bus travels on SE Gladstone Street between SE 26th and SE 28th Avenues, a short segment of the entire project. SE Gladstone was formerly identified as a primary fire response route.
 
A large portion of the daily traffic on SE Gladstone is believed to be cut-through traffic due to congestion on nearby parallel arterial streets. Also, SE Gladstone was used in the past as a trolley route. The current street width is 50 feet, giving the street the feel of a higher classified arterial.
 
Project History
 
A request to address the speeds and high volume of traffic on SE Gladstone Street between 39th and 26th Avenues came to the Bureau of Traffic Management (BTM) for the first time in 1988. When this request was first evaluated for a Traffic Calming Program (TCP), formerly the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP), it scored a total of 53 points. When re-evaluated in 1992, it scored 66 points because of changes in the traffic conditions.
 
In early August 1994, a resident along SE Gladstone Street returned a petition to undertake this project signed by a majority of residents in the petition-to-study area. The petition-to-study area includes all properties and businesses along SE Gladstone Street between SE 26th and 39th Avenues. In September 1994, staff held an area-wide meeting to discuss the program's process and policies, and the impending SE Gladstone Street project. More than 70 people attended this meeting, and close to 30 people signed up to serve on the project traffic committee.
 
Project Goals
 
The traffic committee's adopted goals and objectives were as follows:
 
I. REDUCE SPEEDING ON SE GLADSTONE STREET.
 
    Reduce the posted speed to 25 mph.
    Reduce the width of pavement available for drivers by narrowing the street at appropriate locations.
    85 percent of drivers should travel at 25 mph.
 
II. REDUCE TRAFFIC VOLUME.
 
Failure to reach a consensus on this matter was an indication that the other residents in the area might also have a problem with any proposed changes. As a result, committee members decided to focus on speeding as the problem on SE Gladstone. If appropriate actions are taken to address the speeding problem, SE Gladstone will become an uncomfortable route for many non-local drivers and the volume may cease to be a problem. This directly enhances neighborhood safety and livability.
 
III. IMPROVE SAFETY FOR PEDESTRIANS AND BICYCLISTS.
 
The consensus of the committee members was that retaining the existing bicycle lanes and achieving the objectives associated with Goal I will benefit bicyclists. The group felt that there was no compelling reason to identify additional objectives for this group of road users.
 
IV. MINIMIZE PROJECT IMPACT ON EMERGENCY VEHICLES.
 
Proposed Solution
 
The proposed project consists of a combination of traffic calming devices: seven curb extensions, five 22-ft speed bumps, two traffic circles, and two intersection pedestrian refuges. Staff has received a request from the Fire Bureau to install Opticom, a device that allows an emergency service vehicle operator to trigger a green phase when an emergency vehicle approaches a traffic signal, at the following intersections:
SE Powell and 21st Avenue;
SE Powell and 26th Avenue;
SE Powell and 33rd Avenue;
SE Holgate and 39th Avenue;
SE Holgate and 52nd Avenue; and
SE Gladstone and 39th Avenue.
The Bureau of Traffic Management has agreed to install Opticom at these locations to mitigate the project's impact on the Fire Bureau. The Fire Bureau has also committed to share the cost for one location (Powell and 39th).
 
Open House
 
The SE Gladstone project further refined the procedures used to administer balloting on complex traffic calming projects.
 
Two ballots were conducted for this project following the completion of two Open Houses. During the first ballot period in October 1995, in the spirit of cooperation, City staff gave ballots to an area resident who wanted to distribute them to those who said that they had not obtained ballots. This occurred a couple of days before the deadline for returning ballots. This was not an appropriate procedure. Instead, those people who had not received a ballot should have called city staff so one could be mailed to them.
The decision to make ballots available for distribution by one individual was a serious enough deviation from standard procedure to have caused the first ballot results to be disqualified. In addition, this first mistake was further compounded by the manner in which the ballots were distributed, collected, photocopied and mailed to the city. These additional irregularities assured that the ballot would need to be invalidated and re-administered. The second ballot was conducted in December 1995.
 
Although this is not a diversion project and the proposed plan will not limit or shut down access to SE Gladstone Street, some residents expressed concerns to that effect. A number of fliers were posted in the neighborhood opposing the project. To allay their fears, staff used orange color paint to mark out the location and size of the proposed devices (except speed bumps) about the same time ballots were delivered to residents. The silhouettes confirmed that access to SE Gladstone will not be affected by the project. Residents were encouraged to drive by or visit the locations to help them in making a decision about the project.
 
The ballot area was defined according to program guidelines. The ballot area includes all of SE Gladstone Street between SE 39th and SE 26th Avenues, and properties on the side streets within one block in both directions of SE Gladstone Street. The traffic committee voted to approve this minimum required ballot area. Eligible voters included all residents, businesses and property owners within the area likely to receive significant benefits or disadvantages from the project. A breakdown of the vote follows:
 
SE GLADSTONE STREET TCP BALLOT RESULTS
 
Number of eligible ballots mailed = 436
Returned undeliverable = 19
Total eligible ballots delivered = 417
Number of valid ballots returned = 176
Percent of ballots returned = 42.2%
Number of YES votes = 109
Percent of votes in favor = 62.0 %
Number of NO votes = 67
Percent of NO votes = 38.0 %

Construction

Construction of the curb extensions, traffic circles, and pedestrian refuges was completed in October of 1996.
 
Five 22-foot speed bumps, at 400 to 700 foot spacing, were constructed along the 0.5 mile length of SE Gladstone, east of 28th Avenue, on May 17, 1997 by the Bureau of Maintenance. Bump construction was delayed until Opticom signal pre-emption was installed to mitigate impact on emergency vehicles. This portion of Gladstone is outside the limits of the bus route where street grades permit bump construction.

Performance

Vehicle Speeds
 
The greatest speed reduction has occurred nearest the devices. Vehicle speeds at the west end of the street, where no slowing devices were constructed (Graph 1), has not significantly changed. Vehicle speeds have altered east of 30th Avenue, where the first circle was constructed. As graphs 2-5 show (facing page), vehicle speeds, previously concentrated between 26 and 34 mph, have been shifted into the range of 23 to 28 mph.
 
Graph 1

 
The average 85th percentile vehicle speed before the project was 35.9 mph. Since construction the average 85th percentile speed is 29.3 mph and ranges from a low of 26 mph (near the bumps) to a high of 32 mph. Before construction 62.7% of drivers exceeded the posted speed limit of 25 mph and 13.9% exceeded the limit by 10 mph or more. Since construction 47.8% of drivers exceed the posted speed limit and only 2.0% exceed the limit by 10 mph or more. Graph 6 ( page 6) shows the variation of speed along the length of the street and how nearness to a device has a greater affect on vehicle speed.
 
Graph 2

 
Graph 3

 
Graph 4

 
Graph 5

 
Graph 6

 
Traffic Volume
 
Traffic volumes measured before construction averaged 5300 vehicles per day (vpd) and varied from 5100 to 5800 vpd. After construction volumes average 4200 vpd and vary from 3900 to 5000 vpd. Vehicle volume typically increases near the east end of the project due to commercial activity there. The average 1000 vpd decrease is greater than the expected daily fluctuation, indicating the project has had an effect on cut-through traffic.

Neighborhood Impacts

Table 1. Neighborhood Volume Changes
  Before After Change % Change Before After Change % Change
Street West of 30th West of 39th
Francis 1215 1320 105 8.6% 1668 1664 -4 -0.2%
Holgate 14620 15194 574 3.9% 15270 15550 280 1.8%
Total
679  
Total
276  
  North of Gladstone North of Holgate
26th Avenue 7383 7302 -81 -1.1% 5579 5639 60 1.1%
28th Avenue - - - - 3062 3002 -60 -1.9%
32nd Avenue 531 321 -210 -39% 622 364 -258 -41%
34th Avenue 1109 744 -365 -32% 530 495 -35 -6%
37th Avenue - - - - 919 744 -175 -19%
Total
-656
 
Total
-468  
 
Traffic Volume
 
Traffic volumes measured on side streets adjacent to SE Gladstone showed no significant increases from volumes measured prior to construction.
 
The traffic volumes measured after construction indicate that many vehicles have moved off of SE Gladstone without significant infiltration of the surrounding neighborhood. Measurements indicate that nearly half of the 1000 vpd reduction on SE Gladstone has shifted to Holgate. SE Holgate is a Neighborhood Collector street where high traffic volumes are more appropriate. There has been a small increase in traffic on SE Francis, west of SE 30th. The remaining traffic from SE Gladstone is presumed to have shifted to SE Powell Boulevard, a Major City Traffic Street parallel and north of Gladstone.

Summary

The SE Gladstone Traffic Calming Project has been successful in meeting its primary goals as follows:
 
Reduce Speeding On SE Gladstone Street:
 
The 85th percentile speed of vehicles east of SE 30th Avenue, where speed reduction devices begin, has been reduced an average of 6 mph, from 35 to 29 mph. Speed reduction is greater near the speed bumps. West of SE 30th Avenue no speed bumps were constructed and vehicle speeds have not significantly changed there. The segment between 26th and 28th Avenue is a transit route with moderate street grades, the primary reason speed bumps were not constructed.
 
Reduce Traffic Volume:
 
SE Gladstone has had an average 1000 vpd reduction in vehicle volume. This is in excess of expected daily fluctuations and can be attributed to drivers choosing more appropriate routes. Measurement of traffic volumes on streets in the neighborhood surrounding SE Gladstone show no significant infiltration has occurred.
 
Improve Safety FOr Pedestrians And Bicyclists:
 
A reduction in street speed has enhanced pedestrian and bicycle safety. Additionally, curb extensions at three locations and intersection pedestrian refuges at two other locations have reduced pedestrian exposure to traffic on SE Gladstone and increased pedestrian-vehicle visibility.
 
Minimize Project Impact On Emergency Vehicles:
 
Installation of signal pre-emtion at several surrounding intersections permits the Fire Bureau to use alternate routes more efficiently than ever before.

Conclusion

Traffic Calming on SE Gladstone, 26th to 39th Avenue, has enhanced street safety and livability.