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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


For breaking news from Portland Bureau of Transportation see our Twitter feed: @PBOTinfo

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Portland streets are safer thanks to pavement markings

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Portland has over 1,600 miles of pavement markings. PBOT’s goal is to stripe 100% of the painted lines twice annually and maintain the thermoplastic lines as needed. This helps make sure all the City’s striping will be functional throughout the year.

Paving Truck at work

Paint might not be the first word that comes to mind with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), yet its streets have enough pavement markings to reach to Omaha, Nebraska. The City’s markings include 4,696 crosswalks, 99 pass-miles* of traffic lane lines, 734 pass-miles of center lines, 2,812 stop bars, 20,018 symbols and words, plus 180 miles of bike lanes.

Portland has over 1,600 miles of pavement markings. PBOT’s goal is to stripe 100% of the painted lines twice annually and maintain the thermoplastic lines as needed. This helps make sure all the City’s striping will be functional throughout the year.

Shared lane marking or "Sharrow"PBOT uses two types of materials for its pavement markings: paint and thermoplastic. The per-mile material cost for thermoplastic is about 7½ times the per-mile cost of paint. Paint is quicker to apply while thermoplastic is generally more durable. Paint markings last generally sixth months to a year while thermoplastic can last up to 4½ years (depending on a number of factors including location, traffic volume and type, and pavement condition).

Given that the scope of resources needed to maintain transportation infrastructure greatly exceeds existing resources, PBOT looks for ways to do more with less. Observing that thermoplastic’s durability drops significantly when used on older roads, in 2012 PBOT’s Maintenance Operations group focused its use of thermoplastic on new roads, high wear locations (such as arterials with sharp curves) and designated Streets of Citywide Significance (SCS).

SCS are travel corridors PBOT prioritizes for expenditures due to their high traffic volume across all modes (freight, transit, motor vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles). Safety is a key element that factors into the SCS designation. The SCS designation includes PBOT’s designated High Crash Corridors.

This prioritization resulted in PBOT using less thermoplastic in 2012 and maintaining more lines with paint.  As a result of the change in the business practice, productivity (defined as pass-miles striped per crew day) increased 70% from two years ago.

For more information, see PBOT’s 2012 Asset Status and Condition Report.

*A pass-mile is a continuous 4-inch wide line, one mile in length.

Portland’s bikeways provide classroom for London & Rochester

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Out-of-town visitors learn from our streets, just as we have learned from other cities

Rochester students on a bike tour of PortlandTo develop an efficient transportation network with choices for all Portlanders, City staff and citizens often look to best practices in the U.S.and abroad. Likewise, many communities near and far look to Portland to learn about the best ways to get around.

On Sunday, a group of sixth grade students from Rochester, NY’s Genesee Community Charter School arrived for a four day fact-finding mission on how to make Rochester a better place for children and adults to bicycle.

As part of their capstone project, Genesee sixth graders take an in-depth look at a problem in their local community and study it over the course of the year. This year’s class is investigating all aspects of bike friendly communities. Rochester City staff and bicycle advocates charged this year’s students to develop programming that encourages adults and kids to use bikes as a form of active transportation.

The students' Portland trip included meetings with staff at the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), Portland State University, Oregon Health Sciences University, Go By Bike,  the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, and Alta Planning and Design.

On Tuesday morning, students put down their pencils and rolled up their pant legs for a PBOT-sponsored bicycle tour of Portland’s bikeways and programs.  The students rode with the Sabin Elementary School Bike Train to see first-hand how to increase the number of students biking to school. Sabin Elementary teachers and students welcomed the students with refreshments and presented a case study on their Bike Train.  (PBOT would like to thank volunteers Bill Griesar, Kiel Johnson and Carl Larson for their assistance with the bicycle tour.)

Rochester students + Portland volunteersRiding on Neighborhood Greenways – residential streets with low volumes of auto traffic and low speeds where people on bicycles and pedestrians are given priority – provided an example of how to create pleasant, low-cost biking environments for youth and adults. “It was incredibly comfortable…I could do that for several days without feeling threatened,” said Genesse 6th grader Sam O’Connor.

“I learned how fun it is ride on the streets without having to worry about cars being behind you or rushing by you,” added Genesee’s Ellie Anderson-Zych.  

When London Mayor Boris Johnson released The Mayor’s Vision for Cycling in London last week, a bit of Portland found its way into the plans of the United Kingdom’s capital city.

Professional correspondence between staff at PBOT and London municipal staff Steve Cardno and Brian Deegan resulted in a tour of Portland to learn more about our bikeway system and programs. Portland’s Neighborhood Greenways provided a vision for a low stress and convenient bikeway network in London. Prominent in the London Mayor’s cycling vision plan are Quietways,  “pleasant, low-traffic side streets.”  The City of Portland will stay in touch with transportation professionals in London as their Quietways system develops.  

While Portland welcomes visitors from other places, the city has also benefited from the innovations of others. Instead of the cost and challenges of creating solutions out of whole cloth, adapting best practices from across the country and around the world has provided Portlanders with better and safer transportation choices. 


Mayor says traffic fatalities are too high, Portlanders must drive sober

Police report 5 of the 11 traffic fatalities so far in 2013 involved driving under the influence

The number of people dying in traffic crashes on Portland streets this year is unacceptable according to Mayor Charlie Hales. In office for less than 80 days, the new mayor was alarmed that there have already been 11 traffic fatalities with five of those 11 involving driving under the influence.

“Every person who dies in a crash represents a family and community tragedy. So far in 2013, we’re averaging about one death a week. That’s unacceptable,” Hales said. “Leadership at the Transportation Bureau, Portland Police Bureau and I are alarmed that five people have lost their lives this year related to driving under the influence. Drive sober to save lives. Doing otherwise is illegal and reckless.”

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, citing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every day another 27 people die as a result of drunken driving crashes.

Lieutenant Chris Davis of the Portland Police Traffic Division said, “As we travel, the choices we make can significantly reduce the chances that tragedy will strike. None of us leave the house planning to be involved in a traffic crash. But, we all can slow down, stay sober and follow the rules of the road. Our officers have been way too busy this year and the Portland Police Traffic Division is asking all Portlanders to recommit to travel safely no matter if you are walking, bicycle riding or driving.”

“The Transportation Bureau is working diligently to make streets safer for everyone and raising awareness that drunk and distracted driving is a killer. We’re fortunate to have the men and women of the Portland Police Bureau and Mayor Hales committed to traffic safety as well,” Transportation Director John Widmer said.

In addition to talking about traffic fatalities, the Transportation Bureau and Police Bureau held three community meetings in the last month to get input on improving traffic safety. Meetings were held to make Northeast Sandy Boulevard, Burnside Street on both sides of the river and Northeast Glisan Street safer places for people to walk, bike, use transit and drive.

An additional meeting is scheduled for April 8 with the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association, the location of another pedestrian fatality in 2013.

Burnside and Sandy are two of the 10 streets the bureau calls “High Crash Corridors.” Glisan Street was the location of the first pedestrian fatality of 2013. The High Crash Corridor program’s goal is to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and injuries where they are most prevalent.

Findings from the “Metro State of Safety Report” issued in April 2012 focused on major streets and high numbers of crashes. The report said arterial roadways comprise 59 percent of the region’s serious crashes, 67 percent of the serious pedestrian crashes and 52 percent of the serious bike crashes, while accounting for 40 percent of vehicle miles travel. That is why the City focuses safety funding toward these corridors through education, enforcement and engineering activities.

The report also said alcohol or drugs were a factor in 57 percent of fatal crashes.

The Portland Police Bureau partnered with transportation on these efforts, particularly through enforcement actions designed to educate drivers and pedestrians of crosswalk laws and cite those who break them. On January 23, police cited 12 people and warned two others for traffic safety violations at a crosswalk on Northeast Sandy Boulevard at Northeast 85th Avenue. And on February 26, police issued 27 citations in 90 minutes on at a crosswalk on West Burnside Street at Northwest 21st Place.


Williams Ave. safety projects wins $1.47M grant from ODOT

The Transportation Bureau received great news from the Oregon Transportation Commission. The OTC announced that our North Williams Avenue Traffic Operations and Safety Project was awarded $1.47 million in grant funds. This sum will make the project possible, with design work scheduled to begin this summer and, weather permitting, construction to begin in spring or summer 2014.

The Transportation Bureau began working to modernize North Williams with a dedicated advisory committee two years ago. Their insight and commitment made it a better project than the one envisioned at the beginning.

Check out the Final Report and Recommendations on our website to see how the street will be changing.

Thank you ODOT, our Stakeholder Advisory Committee members and those who live, work and travel North Williams.

New proposed guidelines for Street Seats

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Public input fuels program improvements

Photos of Street Seats

In 2012, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) experimented with a new program, termed Street Seats, to permit businesses to build a temporary platform in the on-street parking lane. Based on similar programs in San Francisco and New York City, the Street Seats program allows sponsoring businesses to utilize these platforms to add additional outdoor seating along the street. The goal of the program is to allow Portlanders to enjoy a meal or a beverage outdoors, while enhancing street vitality and supporting local business.

PBOT conducted an evaluation to garner feedback on the pilot from businesses, neighborhood associations, and community members. Nearly 100 people provided feedback. Responses to the program were generally positive: 90% of businesses believed that the Street Seats program would benefit neighborhood businesses, and 80% of community members surveyed felt that Street Seats positively impacted their street’s vitality.

PBOT also received concerns regarding loss of parking, the safety of the platforms, and a private enterprise’s exclusive use of the public right of way.  In addition, some perceived the platforms to be aesthetically displeasing or of poor construction quality.

Public concerns and suggested improvements helped PBOT to propose guidelines that to build on the pilot’s success:

  • A clear public process: PBOT will notify relevant neighborhood and business associations of pending eligible applications. The pilot’s rolling application process will be replaced with limited application windows. The 2013 application deadline will be on May 1st. This also allows PBOT to evaluate applications together and identify any potential conflicts between applicants.
  • A public parklet option: Similar to San Francisco, entities (business, church, neighborhood association, non-profit, etc) not interested in providing table service or serving alcohol may apply to use the platform to create public, open space. Permit fees for this option will be limited to the $500 application fee.
  • Maintaining existing on-street parking levels in the Central Business District: In response to concerns expressed by the Downtown Retail Council, Street Seats are currently not being accepted for the area from W Burnside St.  to SW Harrison St., SW 10th Ave. to SW 2nd Ave.
  • Structural and design enhancements: To increase safety, visibility, and to preserve neighborhood aesthetics, PBOT proposed guidelines add  several new design provisions into the pilot program’s design guidelines:
    • Wheel stops, along with planters or weighted bollards will be required on either end of the installation;
    • Platforms must provide a continuous barrier along the street-facing perimeter while maintaining clear visual sightlines to the street; and
    • Durable materials capable of withstanding year-round use will be required.


Eligible applicants not choosing the public parklet option will pay the $500 permit fee plus $105 per linear foot of right of way. This would result in an annual fee of $2,600 for 20ft platform ($500 + $105x20ft). If the platform is to be located in a metered parking space, the applicant will be responsible for lost meter revenue. Businesses will also be responsible for securing a Café Seating permit  if they do not already hold one.

Please provide comments on the proposed Street Seat Guidelines by April 1 to or PBOT Active Transportation Program Manager Gabe Graff at 503-823-5291.