Transforming a street for the 21st CenturyRead More…
1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204
Public Information Officer
(Oct. 7, 2019) The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and Portland State University's 28-year-old Portland Traffic and Transportation Course has a fresh new feel this year with a new instructor, new guest speakers, and an updated, equity-focused curriculum.
The course provides on opportunity to have in-depth conversations with guest lecturers, all transportation leaders from Portland and beyond. This year’s lineup includes: Marisa DeMull (Engineer at Alta Planning + Design), Tamika Butler (Toole Design's Director of Planning for California and the Director of Equity and Inclusion), and Art Pearce (Manager of Policy, Planning & Projects at PBOT). The new instructor, Thuy Tu, brings with her 20 years of experience as a Senior Transportation Planner and Civil Engineering Project Manager and a strong focus on equity, livability, and resilience.
Community input from people who live, work, and travel on a particular street or corridor is crucial to a transportation project’s success. This class will explore ways that community members can influence projects early in the planning stages. Community engagement can take many forms, from open houses and design workshops to advisory committees. Learn how the transportation system is developed and shaped using transportation policy, plans, and community input. Community-based organizations will also be joining the lineup of guest speakers to share their experiences in planning with PBOT and the city.
The Portland Traffic and Transportation Course was created in 1991 by Portland's then-Transportation Commissioner Earl Blumenauer (now U.S. Representative for Oregon's 3rd congressional district) and Rick Gustafson, former Metro Executive Officer and Oregon House Representative.
When: Thursdays at 6:40 p.m., Oct. 3 – Dec. 5, 2019
Interested in joining the course? Registration is closed for 2019. Registration for the next fall class will open in summer 2020.
For more information about the course, visit: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/35727
(Oct. 10, 2019) Designing roads for safety—especially on major streets known as arterials—has been a historic challenge for cities across the country. Portland arterials make up just 8% of city streets, but nearly 60% of the city’s traffic deaths and serious injuries. That is why the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) places such a high priority on arterials. PBOT knows that reducing speed on these roads, among other improvements, is key to making these streets safer and reducing the likelihood (and severity) of crashes.
Watch a new video that shows how we're redesigning streets for the benefit of all Portlanders:
Our roads and what's been built up around them has changed significantly over the last half century, but so have people’s habits and the transportation options they have. PBOT’s new designs for arterials reflect this growth and these changes, ensuring arterials work for everyone, with reconfigured lanes, safer pedestrian crossings, new places for people to bike, and better access to frequent transit service to help all Portlanders get where they need to go safely and efficiently.
Recent updates to SW Capitol Highway from Huber Street to SW 49th Avenue and Kerr Parkway have already earned praise from community members, including Shawn Garnett, Principal of Markham Elementary School, saying, "I had some reservations at first, thinking it could end up being a traffic jam nightmare in the mornings and afternoons with all the school buses, pedestrians, and cars. The changes made in front of Markham are the BEST ever for students and everyone else’s safety. This has been a LONG time coming, but it has finally come. The changes respect the lives of children and adults. The reduction to two lanes on Capitol Highway in just that small stretch emphasizes the importance of people’s safety, especially in front of a school. This makes it so much easier for our safety patrol students to do their jobs and helps me to breathe easier. I could not be happier with the new configuration."
Another reason PBOT prioritizes safety on arterials is because of who we know is most affected by traffic violence. The following populations all have a disproportionately higher risk of suffering a life-altering injury on Portland streets:
Our city policies guide us to ensure all Portlanders have access to safe streets and that no single group is disproportionately impacted by traffic violence. A life-altering injury or fatality every other month is simply unacceptable. No one wants to come home to news that a family member was rushed to the hospital due to a car crash.
More information about our Vision Zero efforts to reduce and eliminate life altering and fatal crashes can be found here: www.visionzeroportland.com
East Portland Arterial Street Strategy
Based on the feedback of Portland residents, PBOT has launched an initiative called the East Portland Arterial Street Strategy. With this initiative, PBOT is seeking a holistic approach to making East Portland arterial streets safer while also planning for the travel demands of the future.
This means that each arterial may require a different approach or design. Reconfiguring lanes, as we have done on corridors like SE Foster Road and NE Glisan Street, is one of many tools in PBOT’s toolbox to improve safety, but it may not be the right fit for every arterial.
We encourage your feedback on these and other initiatives as we continue to work on making East Portland safer. Thank you for your suggestions.
The project will increase safety for freight, motor vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic
(Oct. 10, 2019) Work has begun on the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) N Greeley Avenue Multiuse Path and Paving Project. The Fixing Our Streets funded project will repave the entire width of N Greeley Avenue from Going Street to Interstate Avenue and install a two-way, 1-mile path on the east side of N Greeley Avenue along the same stretch separated by a concrete barrier.
N Greeley Avenue is a busy, high-speed road with heavy freight vehicle traffic. On Greeley, there are 25,000 motor vehicle trips per day and 15% of them are trucks; some vehicles travel at speeds of up to 60 mph. The street also carries distinct classifications as a Major City Bikeway—providing a direct bicycle connection between St. Johns and the central city—a Priority Truck Street, and a City Walkway.
"We know that protected bike lanes are safer for people biking and driving” said Alex Zimmerman, co-chair of the Portland’s Bicycle Advisory Committee. “N Greeley is an important link in our bikeway network, and this project will benefit everyone using the corridor while protecting some of our most vulnerable road users."
The installation of a protected multiuse path is expected to reduce bike crashes. The roadside barriers will also reduce the severity of crashes and prevent run off the road crashes.
When the work is complete in early 2020, the new street configuration will look like this:
During construction, incremental lane closures will be required along N Greeley Avenue. PBOT traffic engineers will monitor traffic in the area closely and make adjustments to the traffic control plan as necessary to accommodate freight and other traffic accessing Swan Island. This is critical because of the lane closures on the N Going Street Bridge following the Union Pacific train derailment last month.
People biking are asked to use the designated bicycle detour on N Interstate Avenue and Willamette Boulevard during construction. The detour is expected to remain in place for the duration of construction, which is estimated to be completed by late-winter, early-spring 2020.
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 project is funded by a City Council-approved Major Maintenance Set-Aside as well as the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax through the voter-approved Fixing Our Streets. The total project budget is $1,800,000.
For more information, please visit the N Greeley Avenue Multiuse Path and Paving Project website.
(Oct. 10, 2019) – Street improvements on SW 45th Avenue between Vermont and Caldew streets begin tomorrow, Oct. 11 through Oct. 25 from 7 a.m. through 4 p.m. each business day - and possibly weekends – with a full closure of SW 45th Avenue between Multnomah Boulevard and Vermont Street during work hours.
The closure will allow crews to grind and pave 0.6 lane miles of pavement to create a new, smoother street for travel.
In addition, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) crews will be adding a new crosswalk and bike lane connection on SW 45th Avenue between SW Pendleton Street and SW Nevada Street. The project will reorganize the road to provide a missing bike network connection between the neighborhood and the Southwest Community Center, Gabriel Park, and SW Vermont bike lanes. The project will also mark a crosswalk on SW 45th Avenue at SW Pendleton Street, and a turning box for people on bikes traveling northbound to help facilitate left turns onto SW Illinois Street.
The bike lane was first identified in the Portland Bike Plan for 2030 and has been prioritized for implementation in the Southwest in Motion Plan draft. The crosswalk supports Safe Routes to School access at Hayhurst Elementary. The bike lanes are funded by Fixing Our Streets, the 10-cent gas tax for fixing our streets and making them safer and the first local funding source in the city’s history dedicated exclusively to the city’s transportation needs.
During construction hours, travelers are requested to follow the signed detour route via SW 31st Avenue and Capitol Highway.
Streets with ground down surfaces are open for travel. The street closure will only be in effect during work hours. The narrow street and adjacent terrain make a full street closure during work hours necessary for the safety of travelers and work crews. 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
How do PBOT crews 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
This work is weather-dependent, and the schedule may change.
Fourth lane potentially in several months
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(Oct. 14, 2019) The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) continues to work on short-term and long-term fixes to restore access for travel on the North Going Street Bridge, which provides access to the Swan Island industrial area.
The Portland City Council gave emergency approval on Sept. 25 for a contract of up to $1 million with Cascade Bridge LLC to provide bridge stabilization and repair work, including permanent repairs.
City Council members and the public have been asking about who would pay to repair the City's bridge, from the damage caused by the Union Pacific Railroad derailment Sept. 7.
The City’s Risk Management team will seek to recover from Union Pacific all reasonable and necessary costs associated with the damage to the City’s transportation infrastructure, as well as other costs related to the incident and the resulting disruptions.
Fourth lane coming soon
PBOT engineers and contractors are planning on how they can open a fourth lane on the bridge, which would allow two lanes on and off the island in each direction at all times. PBOT is working with Union Pacific to schedule times when the railroad can be shut down to allow access for bridge repairs.
PBOT has submitted a variety of work plans and schedules that could complete the work. PBOT's contractor has agreed to work at night to expedite opening a fourth lane, and while we are hoping to have the lane open as soon as possible, it could take several months because of limited access to the work zone beneath the bridge.
PBOT has also submitted a work plan that could open a fourth lane in a matter of weeks. Union Pacific is reviewing that plan.
Traffic signal adjusted for eastbound traffic congestion
People who work on Swan Island say that traffic congestion leaving the island continues to be a significant disruption. In the days after the Sept. 7 derailment, crews adjusted traffic signals. Last week, PBOT traffic engineers also adjusted the traffic signal at the intersection of N Going Street and N Port Center Way, the last signal travelers reach before they enter the bridge. The adjustments increased the "green time" for eastbound traffic by more than 30 percent, giving more time for eastbound travelers.
After the adjustment, PBOT staff measured the time it takes to travel from where the N Anchor Street ramp enters N Channel Avenue, to the point where N Channel Avenue passes under the N Greeley Avenue Bridge. At 11 a.m., without traffic congestion, the average travel time was 1 minute and 7 seconds.
Using the worst set of travel times, the average peak travel time was about 4 minutes longer than non-peak. We did have one trip that was an increase of almost 9 minutes longer, for a trip of about 10 minutes long.
PBOT engineers will continue to look for ways to reduce traffic delays during the lane closures.
Return to six lanes potentially this spring
Planning for permanent repairs to the bridge, including planning for access to Union Pacific's property during construction, is on-going. Permanent repairs would return the bridge to its full three lanes each direction.
Permanent repairs, which would open six total lanes, could potentially be completed this spring.
Reversible lane too risky, unsafe
Initial repairs by PBOT crews made the bridge safe enough that the bureau was able to open a third travel lane on Sunday Sept. 15, allowing two lanes for westbound travel to Swan Island, with one lane available for eastbound travel. People who work on Swan Island say that traffic congestion leaving the island continues to be a significant disruption.
PBOT traffic engineers studied the feasibility of reversing the direction of one of the two westbound travel lanes, to offer two lanes eastbound direction, coming off the island, in the afternoon and evening. That option was determined to be unsafe. To use a concrete barrier to separate traffic would require obtaining specialized machinery that is not available in the region. Using cones and other plastic materials would pose safety risks as those materials could be displaced or blown over by traffic, blocking travel lanes. Moving plastic materials twice a day also exposes city crews or contractors to safety risks during the most hazardous time of a road closure: the time when they make adjustments to the equipment at the scene.
Work starting soon on N Greeley Avenue will close a northbound lane
The team working on the North Going Street Bridge has been coordinating with another PBOT team and a contractor that is starting work on repaving North Greeley Avenue. The North Greeley Multiuse Path and Paving Project will soon require closing one lane northbound on Greeley, at a location closest to N Interstate Avenue and far enough away that it should not impact traffic entering the North Going Street Bridge. Lean more at this North Greeley project update.
Stay tuned for further updates
We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.
For more information:
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