After two people were killed in a two week span at the same intersection of Northeast 82nd Avenue last month, nonprofit Oregon Walks organized a high profile rally Friday. With a broad coalition of support that includes State Representative (and former east Portland activist) Khanh Pham, State Senator Michael Dembrow, PBOT Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, and other elected officials and community leaders, a list of demands had been circulated for the past week or so.
One of those demands was met by ODOT just a few hours before the rally was set to start.
In a statement released today just after noon, ODOT announced they will reduce the speed limit on 82nd Avenue from 35 to 30 mph for a nine-mile stretch between NE Killingsworth and SE Clatsop. “Portland Police will enforce the new speed limit as soon as the signs are fabricated and installed,” ODOT said.
While the announcement was a surprise, the speed reduction idea was far from it. The City of Portland filed a formal request for this reduction nearly one year ago and ODOT had failed to act until just before the rally.
In addition to the speed limit change, ODOT says they’ll ask the Oregon Transportation Commission at their meeting May 13th for $3.35 million in safety upgrades on 82nd Avenue (and $10 million total for pedestrian safety infrastructure statewide):
Installation of new rectangular rapid flashing beacons – pedestrian activated signals – at Northeast Pacific Street and Southeast Mitchell Street this summer. These beacons have increased safety for people walking and riding bicycles. Adding digital speed feedback signs that increase driver awareness at 10 strategic locations through the corridor. Improving three pedestrian crossings without signals by adding enhanced lighting, new signs and additional striping. These are planned for Northeast Wygant Street and Southeast Cooper and Hawthorne streets. Installing new enhanced pedestrian crossings at Northeast Webster and Alberta streets and Southeast Mitchell Street. These new crossings will include new lighting, signs and striping.
ODOT says the projects will be completed by fall of this year.
For more on today’s announcement see the coverage in The Oregonian.
Stay tuned for a recap of today’s rally on Monday.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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