A few times each day on the wooded four-lane stretch of inner SW Barbur Boulevard, state data released last week suggest, someone decides to hit the gas and zoom through at an average 55 mph or more.
And about a dozen times each year, Barbur’s crash history suggests, someone on this part of Barbur loses control of their vehicle and hits something. Once or twice a year, someone dies.
Since narrowing the road in this stretch to one lane in each direction appears to make many fewer people choose to hit the gas, a redesign that would replace one of the northbound lanes with a bike lane and walking path in each direction could be seen as a perfect test case for Vision Zero. That’s the principle, endorsed by Portland’s transportation director, that safety is always a higher priority than convenience when it comes to road design.