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Portland Bureau of Transportation

We keep Portland moving

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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North Williams Safety Project


The N Williams Traffic Safety Project:

A new safer street design constructed Sept-Dec. 2014 

 Public Outreach Campaign Features Neighbors' Safety Messages Displayed on Banners, A-Boards


Dec. 26, 2014 Update: Construction substantially complete. View "before and after" photos and more here:



(September 2014) - Safety improvements are coming this fall to N. Williams Avenue  - a corridor that serves a growing neighborhood as well as being a popular commute route between downtown and North Portland. 

Construction begins the week of September 15, 2014 and will continue for up to three months as a new traffic signal is installed, improved crosswalks for pedestrians are built and the bike lane expands and is moved to the left side of the street.  Buses will continue to stop on the right side of the street. Separating bike travel from bus travel makes travel safer and more convenient.

 The project was developed in 2012 after a 16-month public involvement process to identify how to make N. Williams Avenue a safer place for all travelers and to address longstanding community concerns over pedestrian safety in particular.

Safety improvements will benefit all travelers, and changes will affect the look of the street and traffic flow for all travelers. View the changes below and on this map.  

In addition, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is following up on recommendations from the public involvement process to conduct a safety campaign to encourage all travelers to share the road safely.  The campaign features a  brochure. sent to area residents and a series of banners and A-boards that feature residents sending their safety messages to fellow residents.  The banners, posted to light fixtures along the corridor, will continue through the winter.

Improved pedestrian crossings:

* Five crossings are being upgraded with curb extensions and painted crosswalk markings.  The crosswalks are at N Tillamook, Page, Stanton, Failing and Going streets.

* A new traffic signal will be installed at N. Cook Street

Traffic calming:

* Speeds are being reduced from 30 to 25 mph and 20 mph in the main commercial section between Fremont and Skidmore.

* Two lanes of motor vehicle travel will be changed into one lane of motor vehicle travel and one left-side bicycle lane on most of the corridor, with the exception of the section between Fremont and Skidmore where travelers will share the road.  

This change will accommodate growing bicycle travel, eliminate conflicts with transit, and improve safety for pedestrians, who no longer will be faced with the "double threat" of crossing two lanes of traffic.

Enhanced transit and bike travel:

* Transit and bicycle traffic will both flow more smoothly as the bicycle lane moves from the right side of the street to the left, eliminating conflict with buses which make frequent right-side stops

* The bicycle lane also will be widened from five feet to 12 feet to accommodate the only roadway in Portland that has reached capacity for bicycle users.  N Williams is Portland's busiest bicycle corridor with 4,000 cyclists at peak hour

Driving - what's new, what remains the same:

• Improving the environment for transit, biking and walking gives people choices and increases the capacity of the street to handle more travelers in this rapidly developing urban neighborhood.

* Turn lanes will be maintained for drivers, to miniimize congestion from turning vehicles.  Drivers will need to look out for bicycles on the left as they turn.

* The new traffic signal at N. Cook will make that crossing safer and more predictable for drivers and all travelers.

Public Art:

A public art installation being developed by the community is being funded and will honor the rich history of the neighborhood as a center for Portland's African-American community

For More Information

For more information on the North Williams project, or to be added to the email list to receive updates contact Rich Newlands at or by phone at 503-823-7780.

For media inquiries, contact Diane Dulken at or 503-577-8236.

Construction Timeline

Projected construction timeline for the North Williams Safety project

N Williams Safety Project Map

N Williams Safety Project Plans Map

Final Report

Final Report and Recommendations for the N. Williams Traffic Safety Project - August 2012