With a record of so much carnage and rampant high speed and high risk driving, many Portlanders want to see the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) take a more aggressive approach to changing the design of Barbur in a way that would slow people down and encourage safer behavior. However, as we shared back in August when a 27-year-old man died after traveling at a "very high rate of speed" and losing control of his Prius, ODOT has no plans to seriously consider a roadway reconfiguration (a.k.a. "road diet") on Barbur. (more...)
SW Barbur Blvd
Miriam Clinton of Lake Oswego is likely to get more than two years in prison after a guilty plea Friday to driving while intoxicated, hitting a man (who was walking his bike) with her car and leaving him for dead on the side of Southwest Barbur Boulevard Aug. 16.
Clinton accepted one count each of third-degree assault, driving under the influence of intoxicants and failure to perform the duties of a driver, according to KOIN-TV's report this morning from Multnomah County Court. Upon her release, her driver's license will be suspended for five years, the Oregonian reported.
KOIN reported that Clinton "cried throughout Friday's proceedings, and declined to comment afterwards."
Since early fall, the Oregon Department of Transportation has often mentioned stakeholders who oppose a proposal to re-stripe about 1.5 miles of Southwest Barbur Boulevard, replacing one northbound lane to create room for two bike lanes.
"Over the past several months, ODOT has received both strong messages of support for a road diet and strong objections from stakeholders who feel that reducing motor vehicle capacity on Barbur/99W would create unacceptable impacts for commuters, businesses, transit, and freight operations," ODOT's Jessica Horning wrote in a Sept. 5 memo.
The current design pushes bikes and cars into the same 45-mph auto lane as they cross two narrow bridges. Barbur has been eyed for bikeway improvements for many years as it's the only flat link between most of Southwest Portland and the rest of the city.
But there are many factors at play here, so we wanted to give other views a fair airing and if possible get in touch with these stakeholders to include their comments for our stories. So, on Sept. 11, we asked ODOT to share the messages it was referring to. Two days ago, after a formal records request, the agency did.
Another person died early this morning while traveling on SW Barbur Blvd.
According to the Portland Police, a 27-year-old man was driving at a "very high rate of speed" when he lost control of his car (a Prius), crossed the centerline, demolished a bus shelter on the opposite sidewalk, hit a building, then smashed into a car parked in a lot. (More coverage from KGW and KATU).
This has become a depressingly regular occurrence on Barbur, a road that the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) insists on managing like a freeway, even though it's a neighborhood main street for many business owners and residents who walk, bike, and drive on it every day.
— Back in August, 20-year-old Henry Schmidt was seriously injured after a woman hit him while he walked on the shoulder of Barbur Blvd.
— In May of this year, just a mile or so north of this morning's fatality, 45-year-old Lance Marcus died after losing control of his car. He too was traveling at a "high rate of speed."
— In October 2011, 25-year-old Nisha Rana died in a single-vehicle traffic crash just a few blocks away from the Marcus fatality. Police again said she lost control of her car after driving "at a very high rate of speed."
says freight committee.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
The Portland Freight Committee, a group that advises the City's Bureau of Transportation on "issues related to freight mobility", penned a letter to Commissioner Steve Novick (and sent a copy to Mayor Hales) that outlines their opposition to the proposed "road diet" on SW Barbur Blvd. Novick mentioned the letter during his remarks at a City Council hearing on the SW Corridor Plan yesterday.
The PFC claims the road diet proposal would lead to a reduction in vehicle capacity and they feel SW Barbur needs an increase in capacity. They also say if the conditions are unsafe, "the cyclist community" should pay for a public outreach campaign and that if people want to ride bicycles they should walk them on dangerous sections or consider using other streets. (more...)
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
City Council took up a resolution yesterday to endorse the SW Corridor Plan, a regional planning effort to determine the best way to implement high-capacity transit through the Barbur Blvd corridor in southwest Portland. Thanks to a concerted push led by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance that included groups like Friends of Barbur, Oregon Walks, City Club of Portland and others, this hearing was pegged as an opportunity to speak up for two projects in the Corridor Plan that would study the impacts of a "lane diet" on SW Barbur Blvd. But transportation Commissioner Novick took some of the wind out of advocates' sails when he addressed the road diet issue on his website Friday afternoon.
"... The idea of a Barbur road diet is obviously not something all our regional partners have signed off on. We hope they will not be perturbed by the prospect of a study of a road diet..."
— Steve Novick, City of Portland Transportation Commissioner
At tomorrow's City Council meeting, Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick had the opportunity to take a significant step toward updating the design of SW Barbur Blvd. With the Council set to endorse the regional Southwest Corridor Plan, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) urged Novick and his colleagues to prioritize a study of two projects within that plan — both of which are referred to as the "Barbur Lane Diet" project. This prioritization was to take the form of an amendment to the SW Corridor Plan resolution that would have specifically called out the study.
However, as we reported Friday afternoon, Novick has declined this opportunity. In a statement posted to his website late yesterday, Novick wrote that he doesn't feel adding that language to the SW Corridor Plan resolution is the "right approach". "I would rather not link the Barbur road diet study to the Southwest Corridor resolution," he wrote. Novick then spelled out two reasons for his decision:
UPDATE, 10/8: The BTA is no longer holding a rally, but they still encourage folks to show up and testify. More on their blog here.
Next week's Portland City Council agenda has been published and it doesn't include a key amendment on the SW Corridor Plan resolution that the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) was hoping to see.
As we reported earlier this week, the BTA had made a very public request to Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick and the rest of City Council. They wanted a vote on a resolution supporting the SW Corridor Plan to be amended to include the following:
"Unfortunately, ODOT has decided to prevent improvement of bicycle lanes on its segments of SW Barbur. More significantly, ODOT is basing its decision on a questionable analysis of conditions."
SW Barbur Blvd should have the same amount of bicycle traffic — more than 5,000 bicycle trips a day — as N. Vancouver Ave. But it doesn't, because of a "failure of design". That's the surprising analogy made by the City's Bicycle Advisory Committee in a letter (PDF) sent to Transportation Commissioner Novick yesterday.
The PBAC is urging Novick to, "bring to bear all possible pressure on ODOT" to get them to the table and conduct a transparent analysis of how traffic on Barbur would be impacted by a road diet.
This is the latest in a string of letters from stakeholders an action alerts from advocacy groups urging the Oregon Department of Transportation to participate in a traffic study so that the project can move forward with agreed-upon data.
"This crucial connection to Southwest Portland has been too dangerous for too long and delayed action will almost certainly result in more preventable collisions and injuries."
— City Club of Portland
The City Club of Portland, a local civic institution founded in 1916, has added their voice to the growing chorus calling for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to fast-track a road diet on SW Barbur Blvd.
In a letter sent to Mayor Charlie Hales and the rest of City Council today, the chair of City Club's Bicycle Transportation Advocacy Committee, Craig Beebe, calls on ODOT to "immediately study solutions on Barbur that could significantly improve safety for every road user."
"This crucial connection to Southwest Portland has been too dangerous for too long," reads the letter, "and delayed action will almost certainly result in more preventable collisions and injuries."
Here's another excerpt (emphasis mine): (more...)