Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

Woman hit while walking on Barbur; but help is on the way – UPDATED

Posted by on September 26th, 2013 at 12:58 pm

SW 26th Ave is not a nice place to walk.

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).

PBOT map of project area and planned changes. This morning’s collision happened in the lower left corner of the map. (click to enlarge)

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.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

36
Leave a Reply

avatar
14 Comment threads
22 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
26 Comment authors
Alex ReedTrek 3900Doug KlotzMikeDon Baack Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Peter Micahelson
Guest
Peter Micahelson

Another person jumps in front of a massive, speeding automobile. These people must be stopped!

LoveDoctor
Guest
LoveDoctor

Although many people were involved in getting ODOT/PBOT to act, kudos to Roger Averbeck for being a voice of change. He’s done a lot to organize the action that led to some of the proposed changes.

CarlB
Guest
CarlB

My map shows the 9600 block of Barbur to be a ways south of 26th and closer to the park and ride. In any case, all of Barbur is way more dangerous than it needs to be.

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

“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,”

As if the pedestrians and bikes just crashed on their own. This statement makes it sound like the bikes and peds were all running or biking at max speed, and also failed to yield to…. each other? No mention of the major instigator of these crashes, cars and trucks and buses.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

ODOT and the rest of us have a philosophical difference of opinion on what SW Barbur Blvd is.
ODOT seems to see SW Barbur Blvd as the same primary thoroughfare for all traffic coming into Portland from the south and west. This is despite the fact that I-5 replaced it in that function in every conceivable way.
The rest of us see SW Barbur Blvd as a spillover drag strip for frustrated commuters from I-5. Safety of all local users are sacrificed for the convenience of drivers who don’t stop to spend money at any of the businesses on SW Barbur Blvd. As its function as a rural thoroughfare has evolved in to a dense urban mixed use zone ODOT stubbornly refuses to treat it as anything other than a drag strip for I-5 overflow.

This though process must be stopped.

J_R
Guest
J_R

According to state law, there is a crosswalk at every intersection unless there is signing that indicates “crosswalk closed.” I’m unfamiliar with the area and google street view is not definitive. Did the PPB statement really mean “there is no ‘marked’ crosswalk?” Or is it clearly signed “no crosswalk?” PPB should be precise and accurate in their statements.

D
Guest
D

How about no more prosecution of auto theft until there is one full calendar year of no pedestrian fatalities? The state should have no more regard for drivers’ property than drivers have for other road users’ lives.

Doug Klotz
Guest
Doug Klotz

I think there should be an effort to call PPB on this announcement. If they don’t know that there’s a crosswalk at that intersection, then this is an indication of why we can’t get enforcement of pedestrian right of way. Who should we call/write to notify PPB of the existence of “unmarked crosswalks”? Should we send them a video? This is really inexcusable from our police department, who are charged with enforcing laws, that they don’t even understand the law themselves.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

This stretch of Barbur is one of the worst examples of a “stroad” out there. ODOT basically designed it with freeway-style off and onramps to access SW 26th. It’s a waste of valuable land and horribly dangerous for pedestrians. I feel sorry for anyone that needs to cross the street here.

Roger Averbeck
Guest
Roger Averbeck

In the 1999 State Highway Plan, Barbur Blvd is designated as a District Highway. Here is the definition, from ODOT’s website:

“District highways are facilities of county-wide significance and function largely as county and city arterials or collectors. They provide connections and links between small urbanized areas, rural centers and urban hubs, and also serve local access and traffic. The management objective is to provide for safe and efficient, moderate to low-speed operation in urban areas for traffic flow and for pedestrian and bicycle movements.”

How are we doing? Please send your comments to:

ODOT Region 1 Manager Jason Tell

Roger Averbeck
Guest
Roger Averbeck

The post dropped the e-mail address – jason.a.tell@odot.state.or.us

Kevin Wagoner
Guest
Kevin Wagoner

Did I see that changes might be coming in 2016! OMG I can’t wait! 2016 is only like…um 800 days away?

If speed is an issue in these terrible events why not lower the speed limit this weekend and permanently increase the enforcement? Do we really have to wait for anything until 2016?

I periodically look at http://www.crimereports.com to see what kind of enforcement is in the area. Particularly on SW Spring Garden where the speeds are high and the enforcement is low (just a few blocks from the accident). Anyway looks like that website reports 1 traffic stop and 1 accident there in the last 30 days. 1 traffic stop seems lame….it seems like we could get many traffic stops in 1 hour. I don’t get it.

Growing up my mom was everything from a dispatcher to a probation officer and my step dad was a deputy sheriff so I was always around every branch of law enforcement. I have a lot of respect for anyone that takes up the uniform for us. But I can’t help but be disappointed with the what I perceive as the lack of enforcement.

I call the PDX Safe Line a lot asking for enforcement…it doesn’t show up on this web site noted above and I don’t get any feedback. Massively disappointed.

Don Baack
Guest

Don Baack September 27, 2013 at 3:55 pm
PBOT RECEIVED A MILLION DOLLA R GRANT TO FIX 6 or 7 Barbur crossings INCLUDING BARBUR AT SW26 th in 2000 or 2001, or some time long ago.

I was SWNI Transportation Chair at the time, walked the needed crossings with PBOT staff. They seemed to find many reasons why they could not install the crossings.

Since that time they have done some crosswalk work at Huber and maybe a couple of other crossings, but it appears the funds were frittered away by the many project managers that have apparently been assigned to this project. Another important Barbur uintersection that needs immediate attention is SW Lauade, It also was on the 2001 list. ODOT and PBOT have been fixing to do somethinug there since 2001!

We need an immediate accounting of where this grant money was spent and why the needed crnossings were not done! Maybe it is too much talk and not enough doing.

Finally, while we are talking about Hwy 99, when is the promised HAWK signal crossinf Naito at Whitaker going to be installed? It was to have been a part of the Hooley/Gibbs Bridge project but is still in the fixing to do it stage. Do we need another death to get PBOT off the dime on this?

Don Baack, Hillsdale

Trek 3900
Guest
Trek 3900

As a pedestrian you can NEVER assume that all lanes of traffic will stop just because the closest ones have stopped. Drivers in the opposing traffic lanes may not notice that cars in the other lanes have stopped. What they see is that THEIR LANE is clear so they go merrily along until an invisible (to them) pedestrian walks out from behind the stopped cars and they hit the ped.

There was a prominent case in this area a few years ago where I think car drivers were killed from a similar situation; a stopped car let another car go (not a ped). I think there was a lawsuit or else negligence charges against the car that stopped so the other car could go.