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Dylan Rivera

Public Information Officer

503-823-3723

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News Blog: New Safe Routes to School projects make walking and rolling safer for young Portlanders, thanks to Fixing Our Streets

12 Safe Routes to School projects were constructed over the summer break and there are more on the way

SW 14th speed cushion

A newly painted crosswalk and emergency vehicle-friendly speed cushion at SW 14th Avenue and Spring Garden Street. Photo by the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

Fixing Our Streets Logo

(Sept. 5, 2019) In the next few weeks, families will have had time to adjust to their routine for the new school year. Many will discover their walk or roll to school is a lot safer than it was at the end of the last school year because of 12 Safe Routes to School projects that were constructed over the summer.  

These projects are just some of the total 88 Safe Routes to School projects identified and funded by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) through Fixing Our Streets, a voter-approved 10-cent gas tax for fixing our streets and making them safer. Fixing Our Streets was the first local funding source in the city’s history dedicated exclusively to the city’s transportation needs. 

Slower speeds 

As part of this work, PBOT installed speed bumps and speed cushions along primary school routes. Speed cushions are a type of speed bump PBOT installs on emergency routes that have grooves for emergency vehicles like firetrucks. PBOT installed: 

Speed bumps along: 

  • SW 45th Avenue (between Hamilton Street and Beaverton Hillsdale Highway) 
  • SW 47th Avenue (between Hamilton and Julia streets) 
  • SW 17th Avenue (between Spring Garden Street and Taylors Ferry Road) 
  • SW Spring Garden Street (between 20th Avenue and Taylors Ferry Road) 

Speed cushions along: 

  • N Fremont Street (between Albina and Gantenbein avenues) 
  • N Willis Boulevard (between Hereford and Druid avenues) 
  • SE Stark Street (between 16th and 18th avenues) 
  • SW Shattuck Road (between Windsor Court and Beaverton Hillsdale Highway) 
  • SW Huber Street (at 40th Avenue) 

Why the focus on speed?  

PBOT’s Safe Routes to School program has been conducting biannual travel surveys from families of Portland students for the last decade. These surveys aim to understand the kinds of barriers that exist for students which might keep them from walking or rolling to school. Year after year, the number one barrier listed by parents and guardians is “traffic safety.” 

“I often see vehicle[s] speeding through school zones.” 

-Spring 2019 travel survey, Franklin High School cluster  

“Cars … continuously ignore the school zone signs and speed in the school zone.” 

-Fall 2018 travel survey, Lincoln High School cluster 

PBOT's Safe Routes to School team frequently hears from concerned school staff, community members, and families about dangerous driver behaviors on their routes to school, particularly speeding and a failure to stop for people crossing the street at crosswalks.  

Many students in Southwest Portland walk or roll along narrow streets without sidewalks. PBOT installs speed bumps and cushions to make people driving slow down and follow the speed limit. Research shows that family-friendly roadways that feel safe and comfortable attract new riders, providing Portland families with more options to get to and from school.

Speed cushion on SW Shattuck

An emergency vehicle-friendly speed cushion on SW Shattuck Road. Photo by the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

Improved crossings 

Even families that live close enough to walk or roll to school may choose to take a car because of dangerous intersections and crossings along their route. Crossing safety was a top concern families reported to PBOT during the community outreach stage of planning these improvements. 

 Over the summer, PBOT has installed and is improving these crossings: 

  • Extended the curb and added posts to protect pedestrians on NE Fremont Street at 131st Place 
  • Filled in a median island and cleared vegetation to improve the visibility of pedestrians where NE Buffalo Street crosses Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard 
  • Added a median island at SE 46th Avenue and Henry Street (still under construction) 

Pedestrian crossing at NE MLK Jr. Blvd and Buffalo Street.

PBOT crews filled-in this median island and cleared vegetation to improve pedestrian visibility at NE Buffalo Street and Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard. Photo by the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

How were projects chosen? 

In 2016, PBOT’s Safe Routes to School team embarked on an extensive planning process to identify projects Portland families needed to get to school safely. PBOT staff and volunteers categorized and mapped six years of school travel data to capture comments from over 3,000 parents and guardians and understand what safety improvements they wanted to see. Safe Routes staff attended over 60 meetings and events with parents and guardians, school staff, parent leadership, and culturally specific parent groups.  

PBOT identified over 1,200 projects through this process. With feedback from school communities, a Stakeholder Advisory Committee and the Fixing Our Streets Oversight Committee, the list was narrowed to a priority list of 88 projects. The Safe Routes team verified the routes and projects with each school before moving forward and gaining approval for these 88 projects from City Council in June 2018. 

 Community outreach

The full prioritized list PBOT generated from this process will help with the implementation of these 88 as well as any future projects as new funding becomes available. 

More Safe Routes to School projects on the way 

PBOT will be hard at work constructing more Safe Routes to School projects through the end of construction season. Families will continue to see improvements to their route to school thanks to Fixing Our Streets.  

Here are the Safe Routes projects PBOT expects to complete by the end of 2019: 

  • Median island, curb ramps, and a marked crosswalk at NW Miller Road and Miller Hill Drive 
  • Median island, curb ramps, and a marked crosswalk at NW Miller Road and Spencer Street 
  • Two medians, curb ramps, and crosswalks at NE Killingsworth Street and 9th Avenue 
  • Upgraded island where the Springwater Corridor Trail crosses SE 92nd Avenue 
  • Median island and a marked crosswalk at SE Henry Street and 46th Avenue  
  • Pedestrian pathway and a marked crosswalk where SW Pedestrian Trail meets Shattuck Road 
  • A marked crosswalk and pedestrian signage at N Willis Boulevard and Haven Avenue  

You can find the map, details on projects, routes, and more information about the planning process at SafeRoutesProjects.com 

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Fixing Our Streets Banner

Traffic Advisory: A smoother street coming to SE 26th Avenue from Powell to Holgate boulevards

(Sept. 5, 2019) – Street improvements on SE 26th Avenue from Powell to Holgate boulevards are underway and will continue through Sept. 20 from 7 a.m. through 4 p.m. each business day - and possibly weekends – with periodic lane closures during that time.

The lane closures will allow crews to grind and pave 1.57 lane miles of pavement to create a new, smoother street for travel.

grind and pave screen shot

How do crews with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) repave a street? In this short video, PBOT crew members explain how they grind and pave our city streets to create new, smooth roads for you: https://youtu.be/f9tyo3NyLJ0

Streets with ground down surfaces are open for travel. Lane closures are only in effect during project hours. Access will be maintained for businesses and residents during the project.

Please avoid the area if possible and expect delays as we repair this section of road. We ask the public to travel cautiously, observe all lane detours and directions by reader boards and flaggers, and use alternate routes if possible.

Learn what you can expect in our work zones and how you can help everyone stay safe by watching this video: https://youtu.be/lx3RkJjkjSE

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

News Release: SW Portland’s most dangerous street for biking is getting a safety update

The most southwestern stretch of SW Capitol Highway will be restriped to improve safety for all travelers along the corridor.

Photo of SW Capitol Highway

SW Capitol Highway’s current multilane configuration will be updated to make it safer for people walking, biking and driving. Photo courtesy of Google Street View.

(Sept. 5, 2019) The segment of SW Capitol Highway, between SW Huber Street and Kerr Parkway will be getting a safety upgrade starting this Saturday, Sept. 7 as part of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) Vision Zero goal of eliminating deadly and serious injuries from Portland’s streets. The project will make it easier and safer for people to cross the street and get to bus stops along this busy thoroughfare. The project will also reduce speeds and improve the existing bike lanes.  View a map of the project area.

SW Capitol Highway is identified as a High Crash Street on PBOT’s Vision Zero High Crash Network. From 2012 to 2016, there were 55 total crashes on the corridor, including: two serious injuries, six moderate injuries, 33 minor injuries, one bicycle crash, and two pedestrian crashes.

 “I think the new design will definitely help traffic flow and safety for drivers, bikers, and walkers,” said Tina Tiedemann, owner of Bullseye Pub at SW Capitol Highway and Pomona Street. “I believe anything we can do to increase the safety of all is a huge benefit.” Bullseye Pub will be open for business during construction on Capitol Highway.

During phase one of the project, crews will restripe the roadway to provide one automobile lane in each direction with a center turn lane between SW Alfred Street and SW Stephenson Street. This striping will also add protection to existing bike lanes with plastic bollards or parking protection. Additionally, PBOT will optimize the traffic signal at SW Pomona Street and SW Capitol Highway to minimize vehicle backups. PBOT will also install a new marked crosswalk at SW 49th Avenue.

During phase two of the project later this fall, PBOT crews will build new pedestrian crossings with median islands and lighting at SW Coronado Street and SW Dickinson Street. They will also increase visibility at the existing crossing at SW Alfred Street with new street lighting and pedestrian islands. Lastly, PBOT plans to request speed limit reduction from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) from 35 mph to 30 mph.

The reason SW Capitol Highway from Huber Street to Kerr Parkway is a High Crash Corridor is, in part, due to it being a large multilane road. This type of road configuration encourages speeding and can be hazardous for pedestrians and for people driving.

Through the use of a center median and turn lane, and left-turn pockets at intersections, PBOT improves road efficiency, making it safer and ensuring it handles the same amount of traffic. The changes made by this project will resemble the following graphic:

Graphic of future changes for Cap Hwy

PBOT expects these improvements to result in a 19-47% reduction in all crashes and an 11-46% reduction in pedestrian and bike crashes. Construction of phase one is expected to take about two weeks, though the timeline could be impacted by rain or unforeseen events. Vehicle travel will be reduced to one lane in each direction and travel times could be slower than usual.

Elsewhere on SW Capitol Highway, paving from Multnomah Boulevard to Texas Streetwill be wrapping up later this fall, design plans for the SW Capitol Highway: Multnomah Village – West Portland project are reaching a 95% design milestone at the end of September, and PBOT continues to coordinate with ODOT on the scope of ODOT’s Barbur Crossroads Safety Project.

During construction, we ask the public to travel cautiously, observe all lane detours and directions by reader boards and flaggers, and use alternate routes if possible. Learn what you can expect in our work zones and how you can help everyone stay safe by watching this video: https://youtu.be/lx3RkJjkjSE

The total budget for the SW Capitol Highway Complete Streets- SW Huber Street to Kerr Parkway project is $275,000, with funding provided by the Cannabis Tax and General Transportation Revenue.

For more information, visit the SW Capitol Highway – Huber to Kerr Parkway Complete Streets Project webpage or contact the project manager:

Liz Rickles, 503-823-7078, elisabeth.rickles@portlandoregon.gov

News Release: Safer crossings, smoother street coming to N Denver Avenue thanks to Fixing Our Streets

Preventative maintenance saves Portlanders money by avoiding the more costly repairs of streets that have failed

N Denver Ave at Russet Street

A rendering of the future N Denver Avenue at N Russet Street. Illustration by the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

Fixing Our Streets Logo

(August 29, 2019) Smooth streets are coming to North Portland as crews with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) begin work on the N Denver Avenue (Lombard to Watts) paving project, funded by Fixing Our Streets. Work begins on Tuesday, Sept. 3 and will continue until Nov. 1, weather permitting. 

Well-maintained streets are vital to getting Portlanders from place to place easily, safely, and sustainably. PBOT is responsible for maintaining over 4,800 miles of city streets. PBOT focuses its paving work on keeping streets from falling into poor or very poor condition. This kind of preventative maintenance saves Portlanders money by avoiding the more costly repairs of streets that have failed. 

In addition to paving N Denver Avenue between N Lombard and Watts streets, PBOT crews will also improve safety conditions by adding safer pedestrian crossings and improving the existing bike lanes. These upgrades, which will include new striping and refuge islands at N Russet, Terry, and Watts streets as well as the widening of preexisting refuge islands. Together, these improvements will increase the visibility and safety of pedestrians crossing N Denver Avenue.  

From Sept. 3 to Oct. 1, southbound traffic on N Denver Avenue between Lombard and Watts streets will be detoured to N Brandon Avenue. The same N Brandon Avenue detour will be in place for northbound traffic from Oct. 2 to Nov. 1. Sidewalks and access to driveways will remain open throughout construction. During construction, we ask the public to travel with caution, observe all detours and directions provided by reader boards and flaggers, and use alternate routes whenever possible. Learn what you can expect in our work zones and how you can help everyone stay safe by watching this video: https://youtu.be/lx3RkJjkjSE

This project was made possible by Fixing our Streets, otherwise known as Measure 26-173. This measure was passed in May 2016 by Portland voters resulting in a new 10-cent gas tax for restoring our streets and making them safer. It is the first local funding source in the city’s history dedicated exclusively to transportation needs. Fixing our Streets projects span across Portland to the benefit of all Portlanders.  

This project’s total budget is $1.9 million, funded by Fixing our Streets. For more information, please visit the project website at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/denver or contact the project manager: 

Geren Shankar, (503) 823-4793, geren.shankar@portlandoregon.gov

 

News Release: Multnomah County and PBOT remind people to travel safely this Labor Day holiday

This year, 36 people have died in crashes on Portland streets—the most deaths at this point in the year since at least 2015.

Traffic deaths in Portland 8.28.19

Vision Zero Portland logo

(Aug. 29, 2019) The Labor Day holiday is a time of celebration.  

The long weekend is a time to mark the achievements of the labor movement and the unofficial end of summer. We celebrate with barbecues, outdoor recreation, and road trips. But all too often, travel brings tragedy for those involved in traffic crashes. 

This year, 36 people have died in crashes on Portland streets—the most deaths at this point in the year since at least 2015. Nearly half of those killed have been pedestrians, increasingly adults ages 65 and over.  

According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, nearly a third of drivers involved in fatal car crashes in 2017 had been drinking. Out of 56 fatal crashes in Multnomah County in 2017, 21 of them involved drivers who had been drinking. 

Crashes from impaired-driving also have a devastating financial impact. Based on 2010 numbers (the most recent year for which cost data is available), impaired-driving crashes cost the United States $44 billion annually. On average, a DUII could set you back $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work, higher insurance rates, car towing, and more.  

Help keep yourself and others safe this Labor Day weekend by doing the following: 

  • Travel at a safe speed. Nearly half of Portland's deadly crashes involve people traveling at unsafe speeds.  
  • Travel sober. More than half of deadly crashes in Portland involve people who are intoxicated, usually by alcohol. Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely. 
  • Stay alert. Every three hours, someone in Oregon is injured by a distracted driver. Pull over to use a mobile device. 
  • Look out for others. Pedestrians and people bicycling don’t have 4,000 pounds of metal to protect them in a crash. 
  • Buckle up! Seat belts save lives. 

 

"Holidays are a particularly dangerous time on the road. As Labor Day approaches, I'd like to remind everyone to look out for others as you travel,” said Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Director Chris Warner. “It has been a tragic year already for traffic fatalities in Portland. Let's do everything we can to slow this trend. Safety is everyone’s responsibility. We all have a role to play in making our streets safe.” 

"You can prevent crashes and deaths from impaired driving," said Tri-County Health Officer Dr. Paul Lewis. "Put someone else in the driver's seat when you have been drinking- text a friend, call a cab, order an Uber or Lyft, but don't drive yourself." 

Thank you for supporting the City of Portland’s Vision Zero work to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries.