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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 


News Release: Better Naito upstart spirit lives on in City-supported project

Better Naito

(April 27, 2017) City, community and business leaders gathered at Tom McCall Waterfront Park today to celebrate the third annual Better Naito street transformation. The project, which creates a safe space for people to travel to and along Waterfront Park during the busy summer months, will last for five months from April 28 to September 30, 2017.

After two successful summers of Better Naito run by volunteers from Better Block PDX and other community partners, City Council unanimously voted in November 2016 to make Better Naito an official City program, directing the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to implement it, and provided funding to sustain the project for five summers.

This year, the bureau has implemented additional safety features and protections to make access to Waterfront Park safer for all users. Thanks to Fixing Our Streets funding, the bureau installed a new pedestrian signal at SW Naito Parkway and SW Main St for improved safety and updated the traffic signal at NW Naito and NW Davis St to reduce conflicts at the Steel Bridge ramp by installing a right turn signal and bike signal. The bureau also installed white plastic posts to the north of the Better Naito installation between NW Davis and NW Ironside Terrace to better delineate the existing bike lanes.

Instead of the temporary construction cones of previous years, PBOT has installed removable white plastic posts to delineate one northbound motor vehicle lane on SW Naito Parkway, converting it to open space for the public to walk and bike and roll safely to Waterfront Park’s festivals and community events. The posts are installed the entire one-mile length of Better Naito, between SW Main and NW Couch St.

“Safety for Portlanders should always be our top priority,” said Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman, “I thank my colleagues on City Council for their support of Better Naito, particularly Commissioner Amanda Fritz and her staff at Portland Parks & Recreation, for their support of this project. I look forward to seeing how Better Naito continues to improve access to Waterfront Park over the next five months and the next five summers.”

“It has been rewarding to watch Better Naito mature from a student-led pilot project to a seasonal fixture,” said Transportation Director Leah Treat. “Community driven projects like these are emblematic of Portland's rich history of embracing public spaces for people. Better Naito also provides a solution to mobility challenges as people flock to the westbank throughout the summer to enjoy our many festivals and beautiful riverfront. This project would not be here today without the countless hours of volunteer work by dozens of people from Better Block PDX, Rose Festival and other community events at Waterfront Park."

“As the largest of many events that use Waterfront Park, we are grateful that the City has embraced the Better Naito concept for a safer and more family friendly access to the Festival,” said Jeff Curtis, Rose Festival Chief Executive Officer. “The installation of the new crossing and bike signals, plus adding a designated loading zone are huge improvements to public safety access along Naito and help make it safer for everyone responsible for operations as well.”

“Better Block PDX is so proud to have been involved with this project and the process that it has spurred. Our goals as a group are to show what can happen when we consider designing our public spaces for people, and Better Naito does just that,” said Better Block PDX core volunteer, Gwen Shaw. “When we first put this idea out there, we didn’t know what people would think, but we’ve been able to use this amazing space as a living workshop and really experiment in ways that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. And we thank City Council and PBOT for allowing us to do that.”

Better NaitoEvery year the festivals in Tom McCall Waterfront Park draw hundreds of thousands of people. During the peak season between April and November an additional 15,000 more people per day visit the Waterfront. Better Naito creates a new multiuse path on the west side of Waterfront Park, providing another connection for people walking and biking between the Hawthorne and Steel bridges.

The addition of BIKETOWN to Portland’s streets last year means that people will have another way to travel to and on Better Naito this summer. Two BIKETOWN stations are conveniently located adjacent to the installation at SW Salmon and Naito and SW Naito at Ankeny Plaza. In addition, BIKETOWN users will be able to park within many of the festivals at Waterfront Park this summer, including Portland Rose Festival CityFair, Pride NW, the Waterfront Blues Festival and Oregon Brewer’s Fest.

Loading and unloading of passengers and freight will be managed by PBOT and enforced by the Parking Enforcement division. The bureau has designated a passenger drop off and pick up zone on the north side of SW Taylor, closest to SW Naito. PBOT’s Parking Enforcement officers will be citing vehicles stopped in Better Naito without loading permits.

The Better Naito project was first piloted in 2015 to help manage this influx of visitors, create a safe space for people to travel to these events, and to reduce conflicts between people walking and biking and driving along the Waterfront in the summer months. The first Better Naito was a 2-week pilot project developed by Better Block PDX, Portland State University, and a host of community partners. Prior to Better Naito, people were often forced to walk in the bike lane, squeeze into narrow dirt paths, or bike in a travel lane with motor vehicles to reach Waterfront events. The volunteer-led effort championed by the non-profit Better Block PDX improved the Waterfront Park experience during its busiest season and was implemented again in the summer of 2016.

Feedback is welcomed via email at NaitoParkway@PortlandOregon.gov. You can also leave a voice message at 503-823-4321. The public is encouraged to share their feedback on social media with the hashtag #BetterNaito.


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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. Learn more at www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation

 

News Release: Mayor Wheeler, Commissioner Saltzman launch Smart Autonomous Vehicles Initiative

With this initiative, they directed the Portland Bureau of Transportation to develop autonomous vehicle policies and solicit proposals from companies that would test autonomous vehicles on Portland streets by the end of the year.

(April 19, 2017) Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and City Commissioner Dan Saltzman today announced the Smart Autonomous Vehicles Initiative (SAVI). With this initiative, they directed the Portland Bureau of Transportation to develop autonomous vehicle policies and solicit proposals from companies that would test autonomous vehicles on Portland streets by the end of the year.

At the Portland Business Alliance’s April Forum Breakfast: “The Road to Autonomous Vehicles,” sponsored by Portland General Electric, Wheeler made the announcement. At a news conference after the breakfast, Wheeler and Saltzman signed a directive telling Leah Treat, director of PBOT, to launch the initiative.

“Portland’s long history of transportation innovation is about to enter a new chapter,” Wheeler said. “My goal is to have an autonomous vehicle pilot program in Portland, working for Portlanders, by the end of the year. To the inventors, investors and innovators, I’m here to say that Portland is open for business. By working with private industry, we can make sure that cutting edge technology expands access to public transit and reduces pollution and congestion.”

It’s important for autonomous vehicles to improve safety, said Saltzman, the commissioner who oversees PBOT.

“Good rules allow business and government to work together, rather than at odds,” Saltzman said. “Autonomous vehicles can make our streets safer by taking human error out of the equation. As we work towards our Vision Zero goal of ending traffic fatalities and serious injuries, the public has a right to expect that the city will help make sure that safety standards are met. Autonomous vehicles should help us meet our safety, equity, climate change and economic goals.”

In crafting this initiative, we will build on the experience and know-how we gained as a finalist in the USDOT’s Smart City challenge last year, said Treat, the director of PBOT.

“This directive sets the framework for making smart choices about emerging technology,” Treat said. “Realizing the potential of autonomous vehicles starts with making smart choices and setting clear standards that support the interests of the autonomous vehicle industry and our community. We will look to the first autonomous vehicle pilots for valuable information about the performance of AVs and how we can harness this technology to increase affordable transportation, reduce congestion and fight pollution.”

The directive tells PBOT to take four actions to advance SAVI within the next 60 days:

1.    Propose for City Council and public consideration Interim Transportation System Plan (TSP) policies that ensure connected and autonomous vehicles will serve Portland’s safety, equity, climate change, and economic goals;

2.    Publish a Request for Information (RFI) that invites AV testing specific to advancing safety, equity, climate, and economic goals;

3.    Adopt an Interim Administrative Rule that provides a clear path to permit innovators to apply to test, pilot or deploy AVs in Portland; and

4.    Develop public engagement, reporting, and evaluation plans that ensure Portland residents, workers, and businesses have opportunities to shape the “rules of the road” for AVs in Portland.

Portland General Electric (NYSE: POR), the largest electric utility in the metropolitan area, said the initiative could help grow the local economy and reduce emissions with electric vehicles.

“Evolving our transportation infrastructure is one of the great challenges, and the great opportunities, we face in the Portland region,” said Charlie Allcock, Business Development Director for Portland General Electric.  “The transportation sector contributes over 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions here in Oregon. And increased traffic and congestion could put a damper on economic growth. We applaud Mayor Wheeler’s decision to make Portland a mecca for innovative solutions and new jobs, and will work closely with the city area as we move towards a smart, shared, self-driving and emission-free transportation future.”

The Portland announcement was praised by Transportation for America, a Washington, D.C-based alliance of elected, business and civic leaders from communities across the country that advocates for investment in smart, homegrown, locally-driven transportation solutions.

“Autonomous vehicles have the potential to reshape our cities, and we’re excited to see that Portland is taking proactive steps to ensure that this coming transformation in urban mobility is harnessed effectively to move them closer to their economic, safety, equity and environmental goals,” said Russ Brooks, Director of Smart Cities for Transportation for America. “Portland’s commitment to engaging the public to shape this future together should be a model for other cities. And their push to work together with other local, regional and state leaders to flesh out state legislation that works for cities should be a model for the federal government as they progress toward making national policy for autonomous vehicles.”

News Release: Speed Safety Cameras on SE Division and SE 122nd Avenue to start issuing tickets on Wednesday

(April 4, 2017) -- The Speed Safety Cameras on SE Division Street and SE 122nd Avenue will start issuing speeding tickets on Wednesday, April 5, after 30 days of issuing warnings.

Vision Zero Portland logo

The goal of the Speed Safety Cameras is to reduce speeding and save lives. Both SE Division Street and SE 122nd Avenue are part of Portland’s High Crash Network of roads. On these roads, people walking along or crossing on foot are twice as likely to be struck by a car than on the average city street.

The Speed Safety Cameras started issuing warnings on March 6th, and the 30-day warning period ends today, April 4th. Those drivers who exceeded the speed limit and were photographed by the cameras during this period received warning letters alerting them to their violation of the speed limit. 

There is already evidence that the average speeds of vehicles travelling on SE 122nd Avenue and SE Division have decreased substantially. 

● Before the cameras were installed, an average of 715 vehicles traveled 45 mph or faster on SE 122nd Avenue.

●  After the cameras were installed, an average of 61 vehicles drove 45 mph and faster along SE 122nd Avenue reflecting a 91% decrease from the speed survey.

●  Before the cameras were installed, an average of 1,762 vehicles traveled 10 mph and more over the posted speed limit on SE Division Street.

●  After the cameras were installed, an average of 514 vehicles drove 40 mph and faster along SE Division Street reflecting a 71% decrease from the earlier count.

“I am very heartened by the early results from the speed safety cameras on Outer Division and SE 122nd," said Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman. "These cameras work. They reduce speeding and by doing so, they are helping to make some of our most dangerous streets safer for all users.”

"Like the speed safety cameras we installed last fall on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, the cameras on SE Division and SE 122nd have had an immediate impact," said Transportation Leah Treat. "We are so focused on reducing speeding because it is one of the most significant contributing factors to deadly and serious crashes on our streets. If we can get people to slow down, we can save lives. It's that simple."

Saltzman Speed Cameras

On March 6, 2017, Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman installs warning signage near the Speed Safety Camera on SE Division. Photo credit: PBOT

The speed safety cameras on SE Division and on SE 122nd are the result of the 2015 passage of HB 2621, which allows them to be used on High Crash Corridors in the Portland city limits. The first cameras in Portland were installed on SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway in the fall of 2016. The City of Portland has been using other cameras to supplement speed enforcement for years, with police officers in vans enforcing speed limit violations. Portland also uses cameras to increase enforcement compliance with red lights at traffic signals.

When people exceed the posted speed limit while driving past the safety cameras, the camera systems capture photos and video for review by Portland Police. An officer from the Portland Police Bureau will review violations before a citation is issued. Penalties are the same as a speeding violation initiated by any other means. The typical speeding citation in Oregon is a Class C violation (11 to 20 mph in excess of the speed limit) resulting in a $160 fine. HB 2621 requires that money received from the speeding tickets can only be spent to cover the cost of the program or pay for safety improvements and programs on High Crash Corridors. PBOT plans to install additional speed safety cameras on NE Marine Drive later this year.

The Speed Safety Cameras program provides ample warning to people driving in the area. State law requires speed signage and speed reader boards to be installed on the street warning drivers more than 100 yards in advance of the cameras in both directions.  Speed reader board displays a driver’s current rate of speed providing immediate feedback in advance of the fixed speed safety camera. PBOT staff also conducted extensive outreach with local neighborhood associations, community organizations and businesses through mail, meetings, visits and community radio to raise awareness of the changes along the two corridors, before the cameras were installed.

In addition to the new cameras, PBOT is delivering additional safety and maintenance projects. For example, PBOT will enhance SE 122nd Avenue crossings by installing rapid flashing beacons, pedestrian islands, a pedestrian hybrid beacon as well as new sidewalks.

Along SE Division, projects include:

● Accelerated timelines for federally-funded safety projects on outer SE Division, including the East Portland Active Transportation (EPAT) and Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) projects. The projects now slated for construction in 2017 include pedestrian crossings with median islands and Rapid Flashing Beacons or Pedestrian Hybrid Signals to complement sidewalk infill.

● Expansion of the East Portland In Motion (EPIM) buffered bike lane project on outer SE Division St to a multi-modal safety project, with focus in the Jade and Division Midway Alliance Districts.

● Installation of additional speed reader boards at four locations from SE 82nd to the city limits to educate drivers and reduce speeding.

Death rate by various speeds

The City of Portland has joined cities around the country in embracing Vision Zero – the notion that the death of even one person on our roads is one too many. Vision Zero prevents traffic deaths through smart policy and system design. Learn more about Vision Zero and Speed Safety Cameras by visiting www.visionzeroportland.com.

News Release: PBOT, Police seek public’s help to find perpetrators of BIKETOWN vandalism

(3 p.m., April 4, 2017) The Portland Bureau of Transportation seeks the public’s help to find the people responsible for vandalism to the City’s BIKETOWN bike share system.

This morning, users of the public bike sharing system found that more than 200 bicycles had been vandalized, with tires and seats slashed, and spokes cut. Graffiti obscured control screens on the bikes, as well as informational panels at stations and also screens of electronic kiosks used to check out bikes.

“All Portlanders should be saddened and outraged by this senseless act of vandalism,” said City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees PBOT. “The Transportation Bureau created BIKETOWN, with bikes owned by the public, to make bicycling easier and more convenient for everyone. Unfortunately, because of this criminal act, dozens or perhaps hundreds of Portlanders were not able to ride a bike this morning.”

“Vandalizing a BIKETOWN bike is just as offensive as vandalizing a public bus or any other public property,” said Leah Treat, director of PBOT. “We will work with police and pursue all legal remedies to bring the perpetrators of this act to justice.”

Motivate, the City contractor that operates the BIKETOWN system, was cleaning up graffiti and repairing damaged bicycles within minutes of the first reports of the vandalism this morning.

BIKETOWN is key to Portland’s effort to expand bicycling, fight climate change and create 20-minute neighborhoods called for in the city’s long range plans. Since launching July 19, 2016, BIKETOWN has grown to 2,745 annual members and has been enjoyed by 45,542 people, who have taken 189,320 trips totaling 375,121 miles. People can sign-up for BIKETOWN membership via the BIKETOWN app or by visiting BIKETOWNPDX.com.

Anyone who sees someone in the act of vandalism or other crime in progress should call 9-1-1 immediately.

Anyone with information about the vandalism to BIKETOWN facilities should contact Officer David Sanders, of the Portland Police Bureau, at david.sanders@portlandoregon.gov.

Learn more about BIKETOWN at www.biketownpdx.com

News Release: PBOT drops SE Hawthorne speed limit to 20 mph as part of Vision Zero safety improvements on the business corridor

A safer Hawthorne completed today.

Crosswalk at 43rd and Hawthorne

A new crosswalk and median refuge island at SE 43rd and Hawthorne. Photo by Kirstin Byer, Portland Bureau of Transportation.

(March 31, 2017) The speed limit on SE Hawthorne Boulevard from SE 30th Avenue to SE 50th Avenue has changed from 25 mph to 20 mph and a new crosswalk is in place at SE 43rd Avenue as part of a series of safety improvements completed by the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) Traffic Maintenance and Operations crews along the business corridor.

Vision Zero Portland logo

The changes are the result of recommendations from a traffic crash investigation in 2016, after a young person was struck and killed while legally walking across SE Hawthorne at SE 43rd Avenue. In addition to a new crosswalk and speed change, PBOT crews constructed new ADA compliant curb ramps and a median refuge island at SE 43rd. They also moved parking away from corners at key intersections along SE Hawthorne to increase visibility and provide bike access to pedestrian signal buttons. Finally, striping crews restriped street markings throughout the corridor early this morning.

“This is another important step towards making Portland safe for all,” said Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman. “I appreciate the Hawthorne business community’s support for this project and look forward to working with other business districts to create safer conditions for people walking, biking, rolling and driving.”

“Hawthorne is one of the more deadly streets in the City. This was underscored by the tragic loss of a young and shining star in our community last year," said Transportation Director Leah Treat. "PBOT is committed to Vision Zero and continues to deploy known methods to create safer streets across the city. This includes lowering speeds, building pedestrian refuge islands, and partnering with the police for enforcement of the most dangerous driving behaviors.”

The new median refuge island at SE 43rd supports safety for people walking. The new midpoint crosswalk focuses crossing activity in one location, making crossing simpler. Left turns onto SE Hawthorne from SE 43rd will no longer be allowed and will reduce crash risk for all street users at the intersection.

More than half of deadly crashes occur on just 8 percent of Portland's streets. Portland’s Vision Zero Action Plan identifies 30 streets and 30 intersections across the city that make up the High Crash Network. SE Hawthorne is one of the streets on Portland’s high crash network. From 2005 to 2014, one person died and nine people were seriously injured while traveling on the one-mile stretch of SE Hawthorne between SE 30th and SE 50th Avenue. In all, there were 420 crashes involving 881 people on the one-mile segment of Hawthorne from SE 30th Ave to SE 50th Ave.

Under state statute (see ORS 811.111) PBOT has the authority to request speed limits of 20 mph in business districts and 25 mph in residential areas. As part of its Vision Zero effort, the bureau is using that authority where needed to meet both Vision Zero goals and the intent of the statute, in this case a business corridor. PBOT’s request to rescind the set speed and replace it with the statutory speed on SE Hawthorne was granted by the Oregon Department of Transportation in mid-March.

About Vision Zero:  The death or serious injury of even one person on Portland streets is one too many. Vision Zero is the bold goal to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries from Portland streets by 2025. On December 1, 2016, Portland City Council unanimously adopted the Portland Vision Zero Action Plan, which was developed by a 26-member task force made up of agency and community leaders.  The Action Plan includes 32 data-driven actions that address the top factors that contribute to fatal and serious injury crashes. Learn more about Vision Zero by visiting www.visionzeroportland.com.