(Photos © J. Maus)
The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has completed a project that permanently closes the right-hand turn from N. Interstate to N. Greeley Ave. The turn was at the bottom of a steep hill and after a sharp turn that inhibits sight lines of bicycle riders and right-turning motor vehicles.
In November of 2007, Mayor Sam Adams (then Commissioner of Transportation) called the intersection “inherently dangerous” and ordered PBOT to put up barricades to temporarily close it. Adams’ concern came in the wake of two fatal bike crashes (including one at this intersection) that involved right-turning trucks.
The project is the final infrastructure project that was part of a series of bike safety improvement measures funded by an emergency allocation of $200,000 approved by City Council in December 2007.
City traffic engineer Rob Burchfield said that they looked at other options — including a bike box and a special, flashing “no turns” signal that would be actuated by bicycles — but that, “We felt closing the right turn would eliminate the conflict and uncertainty.” Crews have poured concrete and connected a median island with the sidewalk. The work cost an estimated $10-15,000.
Local artists are working with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to create a memorial mural for Brett Jarolimek on the underpass at this location. Funding for that project is still in the works.