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News Release: Maintenance, safety top Portlanders transportation priorities, survey says

adam davis dhm research
Adam Davis of DHM Research reviews the results of a recent transportation survey.

(February 3, 2014) – A new survey confirms Portland residents strongly support transportation improvements to enhance maintenance, public transit and pedestrian and bicycle safety.

Key findings from the survey conducted by DHM Research include:

  • Portlanders are most concerned about basic maintenance and safety.  Consistent with prior surveys and audit reports, general repairs like potholes and repaving ranked among the top four “most  important areas to invest in now.”
  • Four out of six safety needs ranked among the top six “most  important areas to invest in now.” Responses identified safe pedestrian  street crossings, safety around schools, safety at intersections and transit stops, and the addition of sidewalks as top choices.
  • The survey reaffirmed commitment to public transit and identified needs for increased bicycle safety. After road maintenance, improving MAX/TriMet and better/safer bicycle lanes were the two biggest needs identified by respondents. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed responded  supportive to “safer bike routes to separate people riding bicycles from car and freight traffic.” In response to the question at the end of the  survey asking Portlanders to identify ‘biggest transportation needs,’ five of the top 14 response categories were related to public transit service. 
  • Seven in ten respondents said they were somewhat or much more likely  to support a funding package creating better access for freight to industrial areas that could support jobs and economic development.

“Portlanders recognize that we have extensive transportation needs across the city,” said City Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees the transportation bureau. “They want to reduce the number of traffic fatalities, maintain our streets and provide for public transit and safe bicycle access. Research like this, coupled with community engagement at our February town halls, will help the transportation bureau recommend the kind of investments that Portlanders want.”

“Safety is our top priority and this research demonstrates our alignment with the public,” Transportation Director Leah Treat said. “Our education efforts, engineering work and enforcement campaigns are steering us in the right direction. But with traffic fatalities on the rise, we must do more to ensure everyone is safe onPortlandstreets, whether they’re walking, biking or taking public transit. The bureau’s continuing dialogue with the public will make sure we turn the corner.”

commissioner steve novick
Commissioner Steve Novick said Portlanders recognize the city's growing transportation needs.

From Jan. 16 to 21, DHM Research conducted a survey of 800 Portlanders to assess their perceptions of the city’s transportation needs.  The survey, combined with extensive public outreach will help the city develop a response to longstanding transportation maintenance and safety needs.  Starting today, members of the public will be able to take the survey online by following a link from the project web page:

Novick and Treat joined Adam Davis of DHM Research for a presentation on the findings at a news conference on Monday at Portland City Hall. Davis noted a number of interesting comparisons between the current survey and a similar survey completed for the City of Portland in 2007. 

“Public concern about pedestrian safety has grown significantly,” Davis said. “We expected maintenance and safety to be top concerns, as they have been in the past.”

In 2007, about two out of three people said more crosswalks on streets with bus and transit stops would increase their support for funding. Now, more than eight in ten say the same thing. By contrast, feelings about the need for long delayed maintenance that will reduce the future costs of road and bridge repairs have remained steady at three-quarters support.

Mayor Charlie Hales and Novick convened a Transportation Needs and Funding Advisory Committee in January to advise the commissioner on a transportation funding package. The committee helped draft the language used in the telephone survey.

The public and the news media are invited to join Hales, Novick, Treat and transportation staff at three upcoming town halls to discuss current unfunded transportation needs:

  • Thursday, Feb. 20, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Sunnyside Environmental  School, 3421 SE Salmon  Street
  • Tuesday, Feb. 25, 6:30 to 8:30 at Immigrant & Refuge Community   Organization (IRCO), 10301  NE Glisan Street
  • Thursday, Feb. 27, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Highway

The meetings will start with an opportunity to give input around desired transportation improvements, followed by a presentation on transportation needs and possible solutions. Members of the public can contact Mark Lear at (503) 823-7604 or for more information.

For more details on the survey, members of the news media can refer to the transportation survey report by DHM Research and Monday’s presentation by Adam Davis.

director leah treat
Leah Treat, the director of the Bureau of Transportation, said safety is a top priority for the public -- and the Bureau.