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.
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
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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