Vision Clearance Guidelines at Intersections
Portland has few regulations, policies, or design standards limiting on-street parking at street intersections and crosswalks (marked or unmarked). In many locations throughout the city, vehicles have traditionally been permitted to park all the way to the edges of street corners.
Why is Vision Clearance Important?
This practice can significantly decrease visibility at street intersections and crossings, making it difficult for people driving to see pedestrians and bicyclists attempting to cross the street. This is a particular concern along busy streets, and in locations with the highest concentrations of pedestrian and bicycle activity (including in neighborhood centers, retail districts, and along neighborhood greenways). While pedestrians and bicyclists are most vulnerable, inadequate vision clearance impacts safety for all modes, as parked cars at street corners can make it difficult for people driving to see oncoming traffic when turning onto or crossing busy streets.
New Vision Clearance Guidelines at Crosswalk Approaches
Daylighting approaches to crosswalks (both marked and unmarked) by setting back on-street parking makes people crossing the street and people riding bicycles more visible to people driving. It is also current national best practice.
PedPDX has worked with Portland’s City Traffic Engineer to develop new design guidance for vision clearance at approaches to marked and unmarked crosswalks on pedestrian priority streets as identified in PedPDX, and on the High Crash Network.
To improve safety for all modes at street intersections and crossings, new improvements to the right-of-way will set back parking a minimum of 20 feet from the approaches to all crosswalks (marked and unmarked) along pedestrian priority streets and on the High Crash Network.
Vision clearance can me achieved through a variety of strategies including curb extensions and street signage. Uses that retain visibility such as bicycle or motorcycle parking, bioswales, Biketown stations may be allowed within the 20-foot vision clearance setback.