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After another death, community groups will press City for ’emergency’ on outer SE Stark

Posted by on February 7th, 2018 at 2:12 pm

Looks like an emergency to me.

We’ve seen this sad movie before: After seemingly incessant traffic violence on our streets, people join together with tears in their eyes and frustration in their hearts to implore our government agencies to do more to make our streets safe.

This time Oregon Walks and the Rosewood Initiative will lead the way. They’re hosting a press conference Thursday morning to draw attention to terrible conditions on outer SE Stark Street after a woman was killed by an auto user at 148th Street last week. That was the third fatal traffic crash at or near that same intersection in less than a year. In a statement (below), Oregon Walks Executive Director Noel Mickelberry is calling on the City of Portland to declare an official emergency on SE Stark in order to immediately reduce the speed limit from 35 to 30 mph.

Mickelberry hopes the Portland Bureau of Transportation will take a similar approach to the emergency declaration they successfully pursued on SE Division last year.

Here’s more from the Oregon Walks press release:

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Advocates and Community Members Demand a Safer Outer Stark

On Thursday, February 8th Oregon Walks and The Rosewood Initiative will hold a press conference on SE 148th & Stark at 10am on Thursday, February 8th – calling for action to improve safety after a community member was killed by a hit and run
driver.

We believe that crashes are preventable. We are calling on our local elected officials to invest in safety improvements on Outer SE Stark immediately.

– Use an emergency ordinance to lower the speed limit from 35mph to 30mph on SE Stark from I-205 to 162nd. This was recently implemented on Outer SE Division St.
– Fully fund the Outer Stark Safety Project – including street redesign, signalized crossings, and pedestrian lighting and other traffic calming measures.
– Ensure that implementation of the Outer Stark Safety Plan includes robust community engagement to ensure the project meets community needs.

Noel Mickelberry, Executive Director of Oregon Walks, the state’s pedestrian advocacy organization, shares that this is the 6th most dangerous road for people walking in the City. “We have seen too many people unable to get to where they need to go because of the dangerous design, high speeds, and limited crossings along Outer Stark. To reach Vision Zero, we have to invest in safer street design and Outer Stark is a perfect example of a street that is not designed for the safety of people.”

“People are dying on SE Stark and other East Portland streets way too often,” said Kem Marks, Director of Transportation Equity at The Rosewood Initiative. “We need our elected leaders to take action to make our streets safe for everyone. This is a high priority equity issue for East Portland.”

“East Portland streets were designed to move large quantities of cars quickly. The problem is, these roads are not highways, they are our neighborhood streets. They are lined with multi-family housing complexes and thousands of people that call East Portland home. We have a collective responsibility to the people that live in our communities east of I-205 to make these streets safe,” said Jenny Glass, Executive Director, The Rosewood Initiative.

Join us for a press conference to learn more about our safety priorities, and our ask to City Council:

When: Thursday, February 8th at 10am
Where: Intersection of SE 148th & Stark. Parking available at Scan Design on 148th, just south of SE Stark.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Middle of the Road Guy
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Middle of the Road Guy

It’s only an emergency when the press makes PBOT look bad.

Dave
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Dave

How about, like, speed limit enforcement? How about treating road laws like they mean something? How about fines that are so steep that they engender genuine fear in drivers?

Mark Nelsen
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Mark Nelsen

Dave hits the problem on the head…all across the region. There is so little enforcement on highways/freeways/streets that changing speed limits won’t matter. I drive 22 miles of I-84 every day going to work and speeds have gone up quite a bit in the past 5 years. I’ve always been a 64 in a 60mph zone type person; but now it’s like I’m standing still! More enforcement = slower traffic = fewer deaths.

Ryan
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Ryan

My commute goes from North Gresham to inner SE PDX. I tried using Stark for a significant portion of that one time. From speeding cars to a bike lane that disappeared suddenly (and had sunken storm drains and debris even when it was there), I never tried that route again even though it cut over a mile off my commute. I do plenty of rides where I mix with cars or am on bike lane-less roads, but that ride down Stark was just too stressful.

Noel
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Thanks for covering this Jonathan! If you share our concerns and want to let City Council know – feel free to email them – the more voices, the better!:

MayorWheeler@portlandoregon.gov,
Nick Fish ,
Commissioner Fritz ,
chloe@portlandoregon.gov,
dan@portlandoregon.gov

maxD
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maxD

I just reviewed the street on google maps. Looking at the photograph, there are only a handful of cars using the on-street parking, making this 5 lane road feel like a 7-lane road. What if we removed parking and removed one lane of traffic then added dedicated bus lanes and a buffered bike lane on a temporary, emergency basis- just until plans could be planned, designed, engineered and built.

Granpa
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Granpa

Red light cameras combined with steep fines. Photo radar, combined with steep fines. POPO rightly complain about being understaffed, but monitoring traffic violations can easily be automated, freeing up Police for their other responsibilities.

The city of portland (lover case intentional) is willful in allowing this deathwatch to continue.

dan de vriend
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dan de vriend

Too bad it will stop at 162nd. Gresham needs to get with the program too.

rick
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rick

Surely outer SE Stark has enough room for 3.5′ bike lanes?

Spiffy
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at the press conference we witnessed illegal lane changes, speeding, drivers cutting through the 7-11 parking lot we were in to avoid waiting to turn right, cars stopped in the crosswalk, drivers turning off Stark into the bike lane, etc, etc, all the usual law-breaking you’re used to…