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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 800, Portland, OR 97204

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News Release: SW Portland’s most dangerous street for biking is getting a safety update

Photo of SW Capitol Highway

SW Capitol Highway’s current multilane configuration will be updated to make it safer for people walking, biking and driving. Photo courtesy of Google Street View.

(Sept. 5, 2019) The segment of SW Capitol Highway, between SW Huber Street and Kerr Parkway will be getting a safety upgrade starting this Saturday, Sept. 7 as part of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) Vision Zero goal of eliminating deadly and serious injuries from Portland’s streets. The project will make it easier and safer for people to cross the street and get to bus stops along this busy thoroughfare. The project will also reduce speeds and improve the existing bike lanes.  View a map of the project area.

SW Capitol Highway is identified as a High Crash Street on PBOT’s Vision Zero High Crash Network. From 2012 to 2016, there were 55 total crashes on the corridor, including: two serious injuries, six moderate injuries, 33 minor injuries, one bicycle crash, and two pedestrian crashes.

 “I think the new design will definitely help traffic flow and safety for drivers, bikers, and walkers,” said Tina Tiedemann, owner of Bullseye Pub at SW Capitol Highway and Pomona Street. “I believe anything we can do to increase the safety of all is a huge benefit.” Bullseye Pub will be open for business during construction on Capitol Highway.

During phase one of the project, crews will restripe the roadway to provide one automobile lane in each direction with a center turn lane between SW Alfred Street and SW Stephenson Street. This striping will also add protection to existing bike lanes with plastic bollards or parking protection. Additionally, PBOT will optimize the traffic signal at SW Pomona Street and SW Capitol Highway to minimize vehicle backups. PBOT will also install a new marked crosswalk at SW 49th Avenue.

During phase two of the project later this fall, PBOT crews will build new pedestrian crossings with median islands and lighting at SW Coronado Street and SW Dickinson Street. They will also increase visibility at the existing crossing at SW Alfred Street with new street lighting and pedestrian islands. Lastly, PBOT plans to request speed limit reduction from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) from 35 mph to 30 mph.

The reason SW Capitol Highway from Huber Street to Kerr Parkway is a High Crash Corridor is, in part, due to it being a large multilane road. This type of road configuration encourages speeding and can be hazardous for pedestrians and for people driving.

Through the use of a center median and turn lane, and left-turn pockets at intersections, PBOT improves road efficiency, making it safer and ensuring it handles the same amount of traffic. The changes made by this project will resemble the following graphic:

Graphic of future changes for Cap Hwy

PBOT expects these improvements to result in a 19-47% reduction in all crashes and an 11-46% reduction in pedestrian and bike crashes. Construction of phase one is expected to take about two weeks, though the timeline could be impacted by rain or unforeseen events. Vehicle travel will be reduced to one lane in each direction and travel times could be slower than usual.

Elsewhere on SW Capitol Highway, paving from Multnomah Boulevard to Texas Streetwill be wrapping up later this fall, design plans for the SW Capitol Highway: Multnomah Village – West Portland project are reaching a 95% design milestone at the end of September, and PBOT continues to coordinate with ODOT on the scope of ODOT’s Barbur Crossroads Safety Project.

During construction, we ask the public to travel cautiously, observe all lane detours and directions by reader boards and flaggers, and use alternate routes if possible. Learn what you can expect in our work zones and how you can help everyone stay safe by watching this video: https://youtu.be/lx3RkJjkjSE

The total budget for the SW Capitol Highway Complete Streets- SW Huber Street to Kerr Parkway project is $275,000, with funding provided by the Cannabis Tax and General Transportation Revenue.

For more information, visit the SW Capitol Highway – Huber to Kerr Parkway Complete Streets Project webpage or contact the project manager:

Liz Rickles, 503-823-7078, elisabeth.rickles@portlandoregon.gov