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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

For breaking news on overall service disruptions in the Portland-Vancouver metro area, go to @publicalerts or see 

New curb ramp helps Parkrose students access community center

photo of students by new curb ramp

In October 2012, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) received a request from a Parkrose School District representative asking if we could help some of their students access a key community asset – the Russelville Grange at 121st and NE Prescott. 

Many students were using TriMet to get to the community center, however people using mobility devices were unable to cross from the bus stop because of the square curb.  That meant asking for a ride from a family member or not going to the Russelville Grange at all.

The curb ramp was installed as part of PBOT’s work in the 122nd Ave corridor.  Over the last two months, the Maintenance Operations group has been installing curb ramps along 122nd and in the vicinity.

PBOT’s curb ramp request program is the best way for the community to let us know where we need to focus resources.  The curb ramp request program’s first priority is to increase access for people using mobility devices.  If you know of a place that needs a curb ramp to assist someone using an assistive or mobility device, please contact Clay Veka at (503) 823-4998 or

For more background information about PBOT’s curb ramp construction work, please take a look at this past article.

Portland’s 'SmartTrips Welcome' Program Wins International Distinction

Moving to a new home is a great time to try healthy transportation habits.

Landmark Tools of Change logoAn average of 15% of the U.S.population moved within the last year.  Consequently, new residents represent a significant proportion of urban dwellers. A new home, a new neighborhood, and the search for a new commute routine makes this a time when people are most receptive to new information and practices. In response, Portland’s Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) re-focused its individualized marketing efforts to help new residents develop environmentally-friendly and active transportation habits.

As a result of the SmartTrips Welcome program, the city’s new residents took 10% fewer drive-alone trips than before and the proportion of their trips taken by green and active methods increased by 14%. This strategic, targeted, and comprehensive approach at intervention and behavior change garnered a 2012 Landmark (best practice) distinction from an international review panel as one of the most successful, innovative, replicable, and adaptable in the world for fostering healthier, more sustainable choices and behaviors. 

The webinar will be presented by the Bureau's Active Transportation Program Manager Linda Ginenthal, Andrew Pelsma and Danielle Booth, on March 27th  from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. PST.   Click  this link for more information and to sign up for the webinar.

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.