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West Powellhurst Elementary School

School Safety Project
Final Evaluation
 
Introduction
 
The Traffic Calming Program (TCP) undertook a School Safety Project (SSP) in the Fall of 1994 on the local streets adjacent to West Powellhurst Elementary School.
 
The goal of a SSP project is to enhance the safety of the younger pedestrians associated with the elementary school by reducing the 85th percentile speed closer to the posted speed limit. Speed bumps are the only device considered for streets like SE 115th, 116th and 118th Avenue, which are classified as Local Service Streets, are not transit or primary fire response routes and have vehicle volumes between 400 and 1700 vehicles per day. Speed bumps have proven to be effective tools to reduce vehicle speed without impacting access. It is not an intended goal to reduce traffic volume on low-volume Local Service Streets.
 
SE 115th, 116th and 118th Avenues are North-South Local Service Streets. Powell Boulevard, a Neighborhood Collector, is at the South end and Division Street, a Major City Traffic Street, is at the North. SE 112 is the closest parallel Neighborhood Collector Street. SE 115th, 116th and 118th Avenues serve a predominantly single-family neighborhood in a rural-urban area of Portland. SE 116th Avenue provides the primary vehicle access to West Powellhurst Elementary School.
 
Open House
 
All residents along the project streets were invited to an open house September 28, 1994 in order to review and comment on the proposed bump installation. Twenty households were represented at the open house as well as the school principal. The majority of those who attended expressed approval for the proposed project. There was concern expressed about the size of the bumps as well as fears they would reduce property values. There is no petition or ballot requirement for School Safety Projects as they are a City Council mandated activity.
 
Performance
 
The project speed bumps were constructed in October of 1994 by the Bureau of Maintenance.
 
  Speeds**
Before
Speeds**
After
Volume
Before
Volume
After
SE 115th 37 mph 29 mph 793 725
SE 116th 30 mph 26 mph 388 247*
SE 118th 32 mph 28 mph 350 381
 
*Count made after end of school session. **Highest 85th Percentile.
 
As the table shows speeding has been greatly reduced on SE 115th, 116th, and 118th. The highest 85th percentile speeds are now much closer to the posted speed of 25 miles per hour. Actual 85th percentile speeds ranged widely depending on proximity to a bump. Speeds at the bumps measured between 17 and 22 mph.
 
From the table it can be seen that the volume of traffic has not been greatly effected. The drop in volume on SE 116th is most likely due to school being out for the summer. A follow-up count will be made next Fall as a check.
 
Traffic Calming on SE 115th, 116th, and 118th Avenues has been successful and the safety of the school children has been enhanced.