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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 1331, Portland, OR 97204

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Media Relations

Dylan Rivera

Public Information Officer

503-823-3723

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 


A Look Back: Transforming SE Foster Road from a High Crash Corridor into an accessible and friendly business district

Skateboarder using a new crosswalk on Foster Road

A skateboarder crosses at the intersection of SE 72nd Avenue and Foster Road using a new and improved crosswalk from the Foster Transportation and Streetscape project (Photo by Pierre Haou, PBOT)

Welcome to our second installment of “A Look Back,” a series of stories about Fixing Our Streets projects built by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). Fixing Our Streets was the first local funding source dedicated exclusively to the city’s transportation needs. This series highlights the goals of specific projects and checks in with the community to see how they are feeling about them now that they are complete. In this installment we’re looking at a massive undertaking in terms of scale and impact, the Foster Transportation and Streetscape Project. 

Fixing Our Streets Logo

(Dec. 20, 2019) With the Foster Transportation and Streetscape Project in Southeast Portland, PBOT transformed nearly 40 city blocks from an unsafe, high-crash corridor to a walkable and bikeable commercial main street for Portlanders of all ages to enjoy. The project extended from SE 50th Avenue to the western edge of the Lents Town Center at SE 90th Avenue. Most noticeably, PBOT changed the design of the street, transforming SE Foster Road from a high-speed, auto-oriented corridor into a safer, more balanced street for pedestrians as well as people biking, taking transit, and driving. This new design supports a growing mix of businesses and residences in the neighborhood.

"Since the completion of the streetscape project we've seen a great increase in pedestrian and cycling traffic on Foster, making it easier for customers to visit our district... The streetscape has made our businesses more accessible to customers and has contributed toward our goal of making Foster a destination for people throughout Portland." Allen Rowand, president of the Foster Area Business Association

At the ribbon cutting ceremony in early June, Transportation Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, PBOT Director Chris Warner, and businesses and neighborhood representatives spoke directly to the positive impact these street improvements were already having and would continue to have heading into summer and fall.  

“This is a street that will support a vibrant commercial district, that will add to the quality of life in this neighborhood, and that people – whether they are walking, biking, rolling or driving – will want to use every day,” said Director Warner. “To me, that is the power of what we do. We don’t just make Portland a better place to get around, we make it a better place to live.”

Shea Flaherty Betin, director of the Portland Mercado, said at the ribbon cutting this past summer, "As we celebrate our new streetscape on Foster, we celebrate the potential for equitable neighborhood growth, we envision increased economic opportunity along Foster for small businesses, for POC entrepreneurs, and for the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem we have here at the Mercado. I’m excited to see more families biking to our massive festivals and events, or to see more folks walking on our new sidewalks to grab an empanada, or some coffee, or a sangria in the evening."

Foster Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Transportation Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, PBOT Director Chris Warner, and businesses and neighborhood representatives cut ceremony ribbon at the Foster Transportation and Streetscape ribbon cutting ceremony (Photo by Stacy Brewster, PBOT)

Today SE Foster Road is a bustling center of activity, with people walking, rolling, biking, and running safely through the corridor. This past week, we saw Portlanders biking and skateboarding over to the Portland Mercado, undoubtedly attracted by the smells of delicious Latin American dishes wafting from the vibrantly colored food carts.

Further down Foster, safely pedaling down Foster’s new bike lanes, people were taking a nice afternoon ride. Nearby, a couple of Portland elders were using a redesigned crosswalk to safely cross Foster to access Laurelwood Park. We hope the redesigned street continues to raise the quality of life for residents and businesses in these simple ways.

“More neighbors are walking to support local businesses now that SE Foster is safer and easier to cross.  We know that the positive effects of the Streetscape will be enjoyed for years to come." Eric Furlong, Chair of the Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association

In a recent PBOT survey, when asked “Have you been walking, biking, or accessing transit more on Foster Road?” roughly 66% of respondents said “they have, and they’re excited to do more of it.” In a separate survey, a majority of respondents agreed they could access businesses on Foster more easily now and that they were more likely to walk, bike, or take transit on or through Foster Road. In the same survey, 74% of respondents also reported feeling very safe or somewhat safe getting around on Foster Road.

"Since the completion of the streetscape project we've seen a great increase in pedestrian and cycling traffic on Foster, making it easier for customers to visit our district”, said Allen Rowand, president of the Foster Area Business Association."Many have commented that the new crosswalks and bike lanes make them more likely to come to Foster as they can travel safely. The lowered speed limit not only increases safety for those on foot and cyclists, but makes it easier to enter and exit parking spaces along the road. The streetscape has made our businesses more accessible to customers and has contributed toward our goal of making Foster a destination for people throughout Portland."

Cyclist on Foster Road

A person rides their bicycle on the new bike lane constructed by the Foster Transportation and Streetscape Project (Photo by Pierre Haou, PBOT)

"Upon completion and implementation of the SE Foster Streetscape, the neighborhood has seen an increased vibrancy in the central business district,” said Eric Furlong, Chair of the Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association. “More neighbors are walking to support local businesses now that SE Foster is safer and easier to cross. We know that the positive effects of the Streetscape will be enjoyed for years to come."

Cycling event on Foster Road

A group of cyclists gather on SE Foster Road during a PBOT "Portland by Cycle" ride this past summer (Photo by PBOT)

“Its been much easier to cross the road” said Gretchen, an East Portland resident who lives very close to SE Foster Road, “Foster is now much nicer, much more pleasant”.

“People are stoked about the two lanes,” said Dimitriy, owner of NW Pro Gear, “I see a lot more bicycles on the street, which helps me [and my shop].” 

Cyclist on Foster Road

A person enjoys a relaxed ride using a new bike lane on SE Foster Road (Photo by Pierre Haou, PBOT)

Funding for the $9 million Foster Transportation and Streetscape Project came from Fixing Our Streets as well as the Lents Town Center Urban Renewal District, city Transportation System Development Charges, and a federal grant.

Fixing Our Streets, otherwise known as Measure 26-173, was a voter-approved four-year 10-cent gas tax for restoring our streets and making them safer. When this measure passed in May 2016, it became the first local funding source in the city’s history dedicated exclusively to the city’s transportation needs. Fixing Our Streets projects span across all of Portland.

To learn more about Fixing Our Streets projects, visit our webpage.

Fixing Our Streets Banner

This blog post was written by Pierre Haou, Portland Bureau of Transportation

PBOT Traffic Advisory: PBOT, South Portland Neighborhood Association team up to reduce cut-through traffic leading to Ross Island Bridge

Nine-month pilot project keeps regional traffic on regional routes

(Dec. 11, 2019) The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) will start a nine-month pilot project designed to reduce cut-through traffic in the Lair Hill area south of downtown, keeping regional car traffic on safer routes to head east on the Ross Island Bridge. The project will limit through traffic on a few narrow residential streets from Monday Dec. 16, 2019 through Sept. 1, 2020.

The changes were prompted by requests from residents along the affected streets, as well as the South Portland Neighborhood Association, (SPNA) for PBOT to help address congestion and unsafe driving behavior on SW Corbett and SW Kelly avenues. The traffic is especially heavy during evening rush-hour times, when people driving from Interstate 5, downtown Portland and areas south of downtown are driving to the bridge.

The request started with PBOT's 503-823-SAFE (7233) traffic safety and livability hotline, which has a convenient online form for public requests.

The neighborhood association worked with PBOT to design a traffic improvement plan that would reduce cut-through traffic in the Lair Hill neighborhood within South Portland.

"As young families with children have moved into Lair Hill, in context of more pedestrians and bicyclists, street safety became a major priority," said Michael Kaplan, SPNA interim president. "Our neighborhood association is grateful to build a partnership with PBOT that could help improve the livability of our area. Access to the Ross Island Bridge will be maintained via other streets, without the attendant hazards to residents of Lair Hill. And important regional traffic will enjoy access to regional traffic corridors, which is consistent with overall planning by PBOT, and maintaining a livable city."

The project aims to reduce traffic on narrow streets designed for local traffic. SW Gibbs Street west of Water Avenue has 1,500 car trips a day, including 633 trips westbound from 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays, according to traffic counts from February. By comparison, most local residential streets have 500 to 1,000 cars a day.

SW Kelly Avenue has more than 4,700 daily trips. The project will eliminate the northbound traffic on SW Kelly north of SW Curry, reducing trips by 1,553 trips a day, or about 32 percent.

PBOT maintenance crews are scheduled to install barricades in the streets on Monday and post signs in the area. Warning signs have been posted in the area since Dec. 3. PBOT will gather data on traffic and speeding in the coming weeks and months and evaluate the project.

Map of best routes to Ross Island Bridge

Map by Portland Bureau of Transportation.

I-5 Northbound: Travelers who take the Corbett Ave Exit to reach the Ross Island Bridge should go left at SW Hamilton, to northbound SW Barbur Blvd to reach northbound SW Naito Parkway to access the bridge.

 

Cut-through routes closed by the project

SW Kelly Ave, between SW Whitaker and SW Curry:
- Close northbound access
- Purpose: Prevents commuter traffic from using SW Kelly to access the eastbound bridge ramp on SW Kelly.

SW Whitaker St, between SW Kelly and SW Corbett:
- Close eastbound access
- Purpose: Prevents commuter traffic from using SW Corbett to access the eastbound bridge ramp on SW Kelly.

SW Gibbs/ SW Naito Pkwy intersection:
- Close access to SW Naito Parkway
- Purpose: Prevents commuter traffic from using either SW Kelly or SW Corbett to access the eastbound bridge ramp via SW Gibbs at SW Naito Parkway

 

Learn more at the

Lair Hill Neighborhood Traffic Access Management Project website

 

For more information:

Scott Batson
Project Manager
scott.batson@portlandoregon.gov
503-823-5422

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

A Look Back: Fixing Our Streets fixes SW Main Street, a gateway to downtown Portland

Transforming a street for the 21st Century

Old condition at the intersection of 1st and Main

Conditions at the intersection of SW First and Main Street, prior to the repairs funded by Fixing Our Streets. Photo by PBOT.

This blog post is the first installment of “A Look Back”, a column that examines completed Fixing Our Streets projects by revisiting the project’s goals and asking community members how they are feeling now that the project is complete. This first 

piece will look back at a critical Fixing our Streets effort that fundamentally changed a gateway into downtown Portland: the SW Main Street Project.

Fixing Our Streets Logo

(Dec. 6, 2019) Back in September 2017, construction began on SW Main Street between First and Third avenues, providing a much-needed facelift. This section of roadway was failing many modes of transportation. At that time, this street was cracked, sagging, and had sizeable potholes that posed a serious threat to pedestrians and cyclists alike. People biking using the Hawthorne Bridge to enter downtown—one of the busiest bike routes in North America—had to dart, swerve, and dodge potholes just to pass through this section of road. Worsening an already precarious situation, the street striping forced bus and bicycle traffic to engage in a dangerous act of weaving amongst each other in the middle of the intersection. The street was in dire need of improvements.

Improvements for SW Main Street, funded by Fixing Our Streets, included replacing the base underneath the road surface and paving the street to extend its lifespan by 15 to 20 years. A concrete bus pad was also added at the bus stop. Concrete is a better material for bus stops because the weight and heat generated by stopped buses can create wheel ruts in asphalt, while concrete is stronger and can hold up for longer.  

The new street striping design added a bike box to increase visibility of people on bicycles coming off the Hawthorne Bridge at SW Main Street and First Avenue. It also added green paint to bike lanes, as well as areas where bike traffic and vehicle traffic intersect. The city added smaller green boxes—called “turn queue boxes”—to make it easier for people bicycling to turn. People bicycling can use these boxes as part of a two-stage turn and not have to merge across travel lanes. Sometimes called a “Copenhagen Left” this move is sometimes referred to locally as the “Portland Pivot.” 

Click here to see video of before and after  

 Intersection of 1st and Main, post-improvementsIntersection of 1st and Main, post-improvements

Recently, as a collaboration between Central City in Motion and Fixing Our StreetsPBOT crews installed Portland's first red bus only lane on SW Main Street between First and Second avenuesThis second component of the SW Main Street project is part of a broad effort by PBOT to support better, more reliable bus service with innovative tools. Other cities that are experimenting with this new tool have made bus service more efficient by decreasing conflicts between buses and other road users. In New York City, after applying red lane treatments, lane violations fell by approximately 50% and illegal parking/standing in transit lanes decreased by over one third.

Red lane treatment on 1st and MainRed lane treatment Red lane treatment

A red lane on SW Main Street at SW First Avenue. Photos by PBOT.

Checking in on a Friday morning commute, it was immediately apparent why SW Main Street is a key entrance into downtown Portland. Filling the sidewalk, pedestrians were swiftly moving while guzzling down their morning coffees. People biking whizzed by in the new lane, with scores pouring into downtown, resembling something akin to a locomotive train. Adding to the flurry of activity, buses entered at a steady rate delivering people to their destinations. Remarkably, thanks to the striping and road work, these different modes of transportation interacted seamlessly and safely. This interaction conjured up images of an opera, with various instruments (or modes) interacting with one another in impeccable form. This stood in stark contrast to the former reality of SW Main Street, where various modes of transportation had to dangerously weave amongst one another.  

“I appreciate the bike box at the intersection of First and Main,” said one person biking by on their commute, “It makes me much more visible, putting me directly in the driver’s vision.”

Funding for SW Main Street came from Fixing Our Streets, also known as Measure 26-173, a 10-cent gas tax voters approved in May 2016 to rebuild our roads and make them safer. This was the first local funding source in the city’s history dedicated exclusively to the city’s transportation needs. Fixing Our Streets projects span across all of Portland. 

To learn more about Fixing Our Streets projects, visit its webpage here.

Fixing Our Streets Banner

This blog post was written by Pierre Haou, Portland Bureau of Transportation

PBOT News Blog: Alcohol remains a top factor in deadly Portland crashes

If you drink, it is safest to avoid driving and to help others do the same

 

SE Divison at 112th crash KPTV

A deadly crash on August 12, 2019, at SE Division Street & 112th Avenue. Image: KPTV Fox 12 Oregon.

(Nov. 27, 2019) In Portland we are rightly proud of our local breweries, wineries, and distilleries.

But we should not be proud of continued serious crashes involving alcohol. Nearly half of Portland traffic deaths from 2013 through 2017 involved alcohol impairment (see chart). An additional 192 people suffered serious injuries, such as brain damage or paralysis, as a result of alcohol-involved crashes during the same period.

 

Traffic deaths due to alcohol

The proportion of deadly Portland crashes involving alcohol is consistently high. Data: Oregon Department of Transportation.

In the 12 months through September, at least 10 people died in Portland crashes in which the Portland Police Bureau believe alcohol may have been a factor.

This includes the death of 64-year-old Darnell Jolly, who was in a crosswalk at SE Stark & 146th Avenue when he was hit by a 64-year-old driver impaired by alcohol on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, around 10:30 p.m.

Other recent cases include:

  • On Saturday, March 19, 2016, around 3:45 p.m., a 55-year-old driver impaired by alcohol made a left turn from SE Center Street into his driveway into the path of a person on a bicycle, resulting in the death of 17-year-old Austin Joe Hrynko.
  • Also on March 19, 2016, around 11 p.m., a 29-year-old driver impaired by alcohol hit a person walking across NE Cully Boulevard near Mason Street, resulting in the death of 58-year-old Patrick Curry Sr.
  • On Wednesday, June 28, 2017, around 10:45 p.m., a 29-year-old driver impaired by alcohol made a left turn on N Columbia Boulevard into the path of a second vehicle, resulting in the death of 22-year-old Brandon Levison and 23-year-old Donell Lee Wilkins, who were passengers in the second vehicle

 

Drinking alcohol and then driving sharply increases the risk of killing or seriously injuring yourself or others. Odds of crashing double even below Oregon’s legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.08. (People below 0.08 can still face DUII charges if they fail field sobriety tests.)

People not hurt in a crash may still face license suspension, job loss, higher insurance costs, court fees, or jail time. Crash survivors may also face depression or other mental health issues.

While substances other than alcohol can also increase the risk of crashing, research indicates that alcohol has the biggest impact on deadly crash risk.

How many drinks are safe before driving?

It is best to avoid driving after drinking alcohol. Even one drink can make it harder for people to visually track moving targets and to perform two tasks at the same time, both of which are important for driving. By the time a person hits Oregon’s legal BAC limit they are three times more likely to crash compared to a sober person.

Translating a specific number of drinks into BAC levels is difficult. BAC for a given number of drinks depends on factors including height, weight, gender, a person’s liver function, and the strength of the drinks.

The effects of even low levels of alcohol on driving have led Utah and many countries to adopt BAC limits lower than 0.08. Countries including Brazil have made it illegal to have any measurable alcohol in the blood of people driving (see map). The World Health Organization recommends legal limits no higher than 0.05 for the general population and no higher than 0.02 for “young and novice” drivers. A bill to lower Oregon’s legal BAC limit did not pass in the latest legislative session.

World Health Org BAC

Countries meeting World Health Organization ”best practice” for drinking and driving (green color). Graphic courtesy World Health Organization.

 

How you can help

  • Do your best to avoid driving after drinking alcohol. Public transit, taxis, and ridehailing services are good alternatives to driving. If you are drinking around a holiday or big event, check for ridehailing and taxi discounts through PBOT’s Safe Ride Home program.
  • If you are drinking with a group, help others travel in ways other than driving themselves. Intervening to prevent others from driving after drinking can be a powerful way to prevent serious crashes.
  • Overnight parking is allowed at most public SmartPark garages and on many Portland streets. A parking ticket is also much cheaper than a crash.
  • Parents and guardians can help their children make safe choices by teaching them not to drink and drive or to ride with anyone who has been drinking.

Thank you for helping Portland meet our Vision Zero goal to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries.

Learn more about how we are supporting safe streets at visionzeroportland.com

Data sources: The Oregon Department of Transportation maintains the official crash record for all crashes in Oregon. ODOT currently provides crash data through 2017. More recent data is available through the Portland Police Bureau; this data is considered preliminary until processed by ODOT. Learn more about crash data.

Get ready! Stay up-to-date on winter weather with updates from PBOT

Sasquatch Get Ready for Winter

Thank you for subscribing to updates from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), providing winter weather updates and tips right to your inbox.

In additional to our winter weather information, PBOT provides updates on a variety of projects and programs as well as news releases, traffic advisories, and more.

Follow this link www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/subscribe to see a list of available topics and subscribe to the ones that interest you. We are constantly adding new programs and projects to our list.

You can also follow us on FacebookYouTubeTwitter, and Instagram.

Get Winter Ready

It may be sunny outside right now, but winter weather is around the corner. Be sure to visit our Stormy Weather Travel Tips page for information about road closuressandbag locationsfrequently asked questions and more.

winter weather

What you need to know now in the event of a winter storm:

  • ROAD CLOSURES
    Current PBOT winter weather road closures and chain advisories. 

  • WINTER WEATHER CENTER 
    Interactive map showing PBOT’s priority snow and ice routes, where we deploy salt, as well as real-time traffic, weather, road closure, and plow information.

  • PUBLIC ALERTS 
    Stay Informed. Sign up for emergency notifications via text, email, or phone from regional agencies including PBOT, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), TriMet, and Multnomah County.

  • GET HOME SAFE: Winter Travel Tips 
    How to plan ahead for winter weather, plus essential tips for taking transit, walking, biking, and driving in winter weather.

  • REPORT ROAD HAZARDS
    Call PBOT Maintenance emergency dispatch 24/7 at 503-823-1700

  • PBOT NOTIFICATIONS 
    Choose the PBOT notifications you want to receive via email or text including news releases, traffic advisories, and winter weather information. 

  • PBOT on Social Media 
    Visit PBOT on Facebook or follow @PBOTInfo on Twitter for news, alerts, road closures, advisories and more during winter weather.

In severe weather, PBOT's top priority is safety. Our crews work around the clock to limit interruptions to Portlanders’ daily lives, prevent life-threatening injuries and avoid property damage. Learn more about our winter weather response here.

chains

Chains: Your Link to Safety

Have you purchased chains yet for your vehicle? 

Take the time to practice putting them on your car while the weather is nice! You'll be glad you did.

Click here for more winter weather travel tips for pedestrians and people biking and driving.

clear storm drains

Adopt a Storm Drain

PBOT crews work hard to keep the drains clear. But with over 58,000 drains in the city, they can’t get to all of them.

That’s why we're asking Portlanders to adopt storm drains in their neighborhoods and help to keep them free and clear of leaves.

Click here for tips on how to safely clear your neighborhood storm drains.