“We’re ready for winter. Are you ready?”
First responders urge public to not abandon vehicles in travel, transit lanes
(Nov. 15, 2017) The Portland area’s four major transportation agencies are prepared for snow and ice, and Wednesday advised the public about the best ways to prepare for winter conditions.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Washington State Department of Transportation and TriMet have been coordinating their efforts and planning for winter conditions since October. Maintenance managers have met with meteorologists to discuss the weather outlook for the season. The agencies also monitor weather conditions around the clock and have developed plans to check trouble spots and adjust operations as conditions warrant.
“Winter weather can be unpredictable, so everyone with a car in the Portland area needs to have snow chains and practice using them,” said Chris Warner, deputy director of PBOT (pictured, at left). “Abandoned vehicles were such a big problem last year, blocking snowplows, first responders and public transit, that we are going to continue to ticket and tow abandoned vehicles and require chains or traction devices on West Burnside and Sam Jackson Park Road. Since last winter, we have been updating our winter weather plan. With our new online Winter Weather Center, PBOT will provide the public with real-time access to snowplow and anti-icing vehicle locations and other current information about road conditions. In winter weather, we focus on making key roads passable for public transit service and first responders, and we are working together with our regional partners to help everyone get home safe.”
A Washington State Department of Transportation snowplow was among the vehicles on display at the winter weather kickoff news conference Nov. 15, 2017. Photos by Sarah Petersen, Portland Bureau of Transportation.
Ted Miller, ODOT’s Portland area maintenance and operations manager, said getting ready for winter may involve preparing for things that don’t happen. But, he said, everyone, ODOT and the public at large, need to do their part when bad weather hits.
“Are you ready to go?” Miller asked. “Do you have your snow tires mounted, chains fitted, and emergency kits ready? Are you ready to make plans to take alternate transportation to work, telecommute, rideshare? We want you to be prepared by watching the local news, going to [www.tripcheck.com]tripcheck.com, and calling 511 to check conditions on your route. Please be prepared for the worst and those things you worry about maybe won’t happen anyway.”
WSDOT Maintenance Supervisor Aaron Yanez said the public needs to be prepared, especially when traveling on area highways.
“Interstates 5 and 205 are our priority routes in the Vancouver area,” said WSDOT Maintenance Supervisor Aaron Yanez. “If there is a need to travel with snow or ice in the forecast, those behind the wheel should be prepared and drive for the conditions.”
TriMet Director of Operations Command Center and Field Operations Anthony Fuller said the region’s public transit agency relies on regional partners to clear the roads that buses rely on.
“We appreciate the help of PBOT, ODOT and the rest of our regional partners as their efforts to keep main arterials open help keep transit moving,” said TriMet Director of Operations Command Center and Field Operations Anthony Fuller (pictured, at left). “While we don’t want a repeat of the conditions we faced last winter, we are geared up for it. We have fully restocked supplies and have made strategic improvements to our severe weather plans. During wintry weather, plan extra time and check [www.trimet.org/alerts]trimet.org/alerts before you head to the bus stop or train station. Also, now is the perfect time to learn your snow route.
The Portland Police Bureau wants to remind community members to be aware of ever-changing weather during the winter months. During inclement weather, police ask those without traction devices to stay off the roadways when possible. Abandoned autos, especially on major roadways, can cause delay for first responders as well as present a hazard for other vehicles.
Portland Fire & Rescue reminds everyone to plan ahead for winter weather. Create an alternate route, plan for public transit, or a car pool plan now if you are unable to telecommute to work. Have de-icer available at home and work to put out on sidewalks and walkways. Snowy and icy weather always brings an increase in falls and related severe injuries like broken hips, arms, collar bones, and shoulder injuries, so only venture out if you absolutely have to, and avoid icy walkways when possible. (Capt. Louisa Jones, Public Information Officer for Portland Fire & Rescue, pictured at left.)
Online tips for winter weather
One-stop clearinghouse for emergency information from state, regional
and local agencies across the metropolitan area
Portland Bureau of Transportation
Get Home Safe: Stormy Weather Travel Tips
Oregon Department of Transportation
Driving Tips from ODOT
If you're riding during snowy or icy weather, here's what you need to know
View more photos from today's news conference at PBOT's Albina Yard at PBOT's Flickr Page. Photos by Sarah Petersen, Portland Bureau of Transportation.
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. Learn more at www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation