The City of Portland continues to tweak and update their Slow Streets Program.
Launched in May 2020 as a response to Covid-induced demand for socially-distanced biking and walking, the Portland Bureau of Transportation first placed rickety signs and plastic barrels at over 100 locations citywide. Then in 2021, with a ringing endorsement from the public on their side, PBOT upgraded them to more robust concrete planters.
The latest update is to ditch the old “Local Access Only” verbiage on the original signs and replace it with a different message. We shared visuals of the new signage back in December when we saw it on a few of the concrete planter diverter installations.
Since then PBOT has been busy swapping out non-concrete locations with the new, yellow “Shared Street 15 mph” signage that includes icons of a bike rider, walkers, and a driver. Note that these are advisory signs only (the yellow color is how you know) which means the 15 mph is not binding law. Most if not all the streets these are installed on still technically have a speed limit of 20 mph.
Just one year ago we reported that this “Shared Street” facility type was extremely rare in Portland. It’s not anymore!
In the past few weeks the new signs have popped up all over the city. I’ve seen them on residential side streets at Southeast Division and 86th, SE Lincoln and 60th, and on the Alameda Ridge.
I reached out to PBOT Interim Director of Communications and Public Involvement Hannah Schafer to find out what’s going on. She said they’re replacing the signs, “To match more closely with our more permanent Slow Street concrete barrel installations as we do needed maintenance on the temporary installations.”
Why’d they ditch the old signs? Here’s more from Schafer:
“We’ve found the ‘Shared Street’ signs are more understandable for folks and convey a clearer message than ‘Local Access Only’. Local Access Only can be misinterpreted as exclusive to only certain people (i.e. only people who live on the street), while an advisory shared street sign much more clearly states who is welcome and to adjust your speed accordingly. We want all Portlanders to feel welcome to use our shared streets and neighborhood greenways across the city for walking, biking, rolling and strolling!”
— Learn more about PBOT’s Slow Streets program on their website.