The next evolution of 122nd Avenue has begun.
A new planning effort by the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation has the ambitious goal of removing the north-south arterial from the official high crash network.
I say ambitious, because 122nd is arguably the most dangerous street in Portland. It has the dubious distinction of being home to four of the top ten most dangerous intersections and it’s one of only 13 streets citywide that’s earned a “high crash” designation for bikers, walkers, and drivers.
But if all goes according to plan, in just two years 122nd will have a much different reputation.
If that timeline seems optimistic, bear in mind that efforts to improve 122nd Avenue have already begun. In the past three years, PBOT has pumped $4 million into safety upgrades into the street — just half of an $8 million agreement with TriMet wherein the transit agency’s end of the bargain is to implement a frequent service bus line. With the announcement last month that Line 73 will now run every 15 minutes or less, that’s a promise they’ve already made good on.
PBOT has also placed 38 high-tech traffic sensors on 122nd between Burnside and Bush. That project will help PBOT better understand how people are behaving on the street and will inform which interventions are most likely to improve them.
In addition to the funding that’s part of the TriMet partnership, PBOT has set aside $2 million from the new local gas tax to design and build safety projects on 122nd. This new plan will aim to prioritize not just how that $2 million should be spent; but also which projects should be built when future funding becomes available.
Among the changes we could see on 122nd are a lane reconfiguration from the existing five standard lane cross-section, to a more modern and humane alignment that includes fewer lanes for driving and more dedicated lanes for bikes and buses. (Line 73 is one of only two bus lines specifically identified for improvements in the City’s recently adopted Enhanced Transit Corridor plan.)
Along with a new project website, PBOT has released an online survey (open through August 15th) to get a better sense of how the public feels about the street. An open house this fall will share design concepts and potential projects. Once plans are finalized, PBOT expects to design and build out the project in 2019-2020.
For more information, contact PBOT Project Manager April Bertelsen via email at email@example.com.
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