Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 26th, 2013 at 12:58 pm
The bad news is that the Portland Police responded to yet another collision on SW Barbur Blvd this morning. The good news* is that help is on the way — in the form of a recently awarded, $1.8 million state grant — to add safer crossings and other improvements where it happened.
(*We’re still debating if waiting years for a paltry $2 million safety upgrade to a known danger spot — while people continue to get hurt and killed — should really be considered “good”.)
According to Police, a woman suffered “traumatic injuries” and is currently at a local hospital after she was “struck by a vehicle”. The incident occurred at around 8:00 am at the intersection of SW Barbur and 26th Ave.
at the 9600 block of Barbur. We haven’t heard any other details about the woman’s condition or how the collision occurred;. It’s worth noting that this is an area well-known for its safety problems.
UPDATE, 4:05 pm: Here’s what happened according to the PPB:
“Investigators learned that the 27-year-old female pedestrian was crossing Southwest Barbur Boulevard from South to North, at 26th Avenue. There is not a crosswalk at this location. Both lanes of eastbound traffic stopped and allowed her to cross into the center median but then she stepped into the westbound lane of traffic and was struck by a Honda Accord driven by a 34-year-old woman.”
This stretch of Barbur is so notorious as a danger zone that the City of Portland and local neighborhood activists have been trying for many years to implement some basic safety updates. According to the Portland Bureau of Transportation, SW Barbur Blvd is a designated “High Crash Corridor” for all modes. “Within City Limits, there were 19 pedestrian crashes and 23 bike crashes on SW Barbur from 2000 to 2009. Speed was a factor in many of the crashes, as was failure to yield,” wrote PBOT in the grant application (PDF).
Thankfully (unlike the road diet stalemate situation further
south north), the Oregon Department of Transportation has given the PBOT permission to move forward and implement safety upgrades on this section of Barbur even though it’s a state-owned facility.
And just last week, Portland City Council voted to support the Barbur Demonstration Project 19th Ave to 26th Ave. This project will pump $2.1 million in funds (allocated via Metro) to make this section of Barbur Blvd safer and more pleasant and it includes upgrades to the bicycling and walking environment. The project has been in the works for several years and the funds come in addition to $750,000 passed by City Council as part of the same project back in August 2011.
According to PBOT’s grant application, this project is designed to,
“improve safety for both pedestrians and cyclists, providing good access to transit, reducing the double barrier effect of crossing SW Barbur Blvd and the I-5 Freeway, improving pedestrian and bicycling connectivity and access for users of all ages and abilities and enhancing the walking environment. This project will build critical missing gaps in the sidewalks and bike lanes along SW Barbur Blvd, rationalize driveways, make minor improvements to existing signalized intersections and provide two new enhanced crossings for pedestrians and cyclists to access transit and destinations along or across SW Barbur Blvd.”
Unfortunately for the woman struck this morning, and all the other Portlanders who have to experienced the embarrassment that Barbur has become, these safety updates didn’t come fast enough. PBOT and ODOT are slowly making Barbur better, but as this morning’s incident makes clear yet again — there needs to be a much greater sense of urgency.