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(April 7th, 2016)— This morning, Transportation Commissioner Novick, Representative Reardon and transportation safety advocates joined the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and Portland Police Bureau for a crosswalk education and enforcement action at the intersection of 151st Avenue and SE Stark.
Today’s action highlights the recent completion of several East Portland crossing improvements and underscores the need for everyone to exercise caution and remain attentive to all road-users. The intersection is also the site of one of 16 rapid flash beacons (RFBs) newly constructed and activated in East Portland. Planning, design, and construction was made possible with $1.9 million secured by Representative Fagan and her legislative colleagues in the 2014 legislative session.
“As Commissioner in Charge of the Bureau of Transportation, safety is my highest priority,” said Commissioner Novick. “Every Portlander should be able to safely commute throughout our community—whether while driving, walking or biking. By partnering with our legislative leaders and local advocates, like the East Portland Action Plan, we’re able to leverage resources and prioritize new safety improvements that will make crossing the street safer and easier.”
“Today, we are celebrating the collaboration and hard work of legislators, City staff and East Portland Action Plan members who work to improve the safety of everyone in our community,” added Representative Reardon.
Representative Vega Pederson, who helped secure the funding for these recent safety improvement projects stated, “The addition of rapid flash beacons, along with the funding we secured in the 2015 and 2016 Legislative Sessions, are great steps towards improving the safety and infrastructure in East Portland. Still, given that over 13 tragic fatalities have occurred this year so far, it is clear that more needs to be done – particularly to protect residents that walk or bike through our community.”
“For all of us who are committed to safe streets, these have been a very rough few months. We cannot and we will not accept this level of tragedy on our streets,” said PBOT Director Leah Treat. “We know that we cannot achieve our Vision Zero goals alone. That is why I am very thankful for the support of our leaders in the state legislature, our Transportation Commissioner, our partners at the Portland Police Bureau and our dedicated community safety advocates.”
The crossing improvements and 16 newly activated RFBs in East Portland are the result of a strong partnership between community advocates and planners who worked to prioritize safe improvement projects in the East Portland in Motion (EPIM) Plan. EPIM is a five year implementation strategy for enhancing active transportation in neighborhoods east of 82nd Ave., which identified over 80 priority construction projects and programs.
Of these priorities, State funding made improvements at the following East Portland intersections possible:
The new rapid flash beacons in East Portland come a year after the City of Portland adopted Vision Zero, a traffic safety initiative that rejects the notion that traffic crashes are simply “accidents,” but instead preventable incidents that can and must be systematically addressed. Education and enforcement actions conducted by PBOT and Portland Police are also a key part of the Portland’s citywide effort to reach its Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries.
During the education and enforcement action, police officers and PBOT staff will remind drivers to stop appropriately for pedestrians in the crossing and encourage people walking to cross at the corner and, when available, utilize rapid flash beacons to alert drivers to yield to pedestrians. Drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk or pedestrians who jaywalk may be issued a warning or citation by the Portland Police Bureau.
Crosswalk education and enforcement actions are an effective way to communicate traffic laws to people driving, walking and biking. To find out more about PBOT's safety work and Vision Zero initiative—PBOT’s goal of making our transportation system the safest possible and moving towards zero traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries by 2025—visit www.visionzeroportland.com. There, you can learn more about rights and responsibilities for safely crossing a street and view the results of previous crossing education and enforcement actions.
Photography of the news conference by Felicity J. Mackay/Portland Bureau of Transportation, available at PBOT's Flickr page.