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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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Building curb ramps, ensuring access

Before After

Regardless of how you travel, you’re a pedestrian at some point for nearly every trip you take. In Portland we have 2,504 miles of sidewalks and 37,782 corners.

For Portlanders with a physical disability, streets without a curb ramp present significant barriers to travel and make it challenging simply to cross the street. Curb ramps make it easier for others using the sidewalk, such as seniors, children, parents with strollers and people with shopping carts or rolling suitcases. Curb ramps add to a more pleasant pedestrian environment.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is committed to removing barriers to people with disabilities and making it easier for others to walk and roll along Portland’s sidewalks and street crossings. Rebuilding corners to provide curb ramps is one significant way the City provides access for people who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

Crew building sidewalk with curb rampOn an annual basis, the Portland Bureau of Transportation targets constructing and fixing between 700 – 1000 corners to provide curb ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are three ways that PBOT selects intersections for curb ramp construction:

  • locations citywide based on prioritizing criteria. Learn more below.
  • at specific locations based on citizen request for accommodation by people with disabilities.
  • as a part of Capital Improvement Projects, such as sidewalk infill projects.

 As of 2012, 42% of Portland’s corners have one or more curb ramp.

PBOT’s Active Transportation Group prioritizes the curb ramps to be built citywide annually based on criteria developed by staff and stakeholders; and the PBOT Maintenance Operations Group builds the ramps.  Locations are prioritized based on:

  • requests from people who use mobility devices;
  • broken or hazardous existing curb ramps;
  • incidences of pedestrian crashes;
  • high level of pedestrian use;
  • concentrations of people with disabilities;
  • missing links to key destinations or within the Neighborhood Greenway network, including:
    • local and state government offices and facilities
    • places of public accommodation
    • places of worship
    • neighborhood greenways with pedestrian traffic
    • senior centers
    • business/commercial centers

Street corner with completed curb rampsThe list is also analyzed and adjusted to ensure that curb ramp construction occurs in areas with higher concentrations of people of color and other historically underserved populations. Finally, PBOT evaluates the list to see that curb ramps are built throughout the city. This list is presented for review by the Portland Commission on Disabilities, Accessibility in the Built Environment Sub-Committee.

PBOT builds most of these curb ramps during the fair weather months (May – October). Curb ramp projects for the 2013 paving season include:

  • East Portland Sidewalk Infill Projects
  • NE Going St/Alberta Court Neighborhood Greenway from N Vancouver to NE 47th Avenue;
  • SE 122nd Avenue from Powell to Marine Dr. (High Crash Corridor)
  • SE Clinton between SE 25th – 51st Avenues
  • SW Chestnut from Bertha – Vermont and vicinity
  • SW Columbia and SW Jefferson from SW 1st – 17th Avenues
  • W Burnside approximately from 1st – 23rd Avenues
  • University District (SW Broadway & Harrison, SW Broadway & Jackson and SW Park & Market)