Crossing project on NE Sacramento shrinks massive intersection

Aerial view of NE Sacramento and Brazee via Google Maps.
Aerial view of NE Sacramento and Brazee via Google Maps. Before the project went in, the east-west crossing from Brazee to 64th was 112-feet. Now it’s just 32-feet.

The stretch of Northeast Sacramento between NE 62nd and 77th is one of those special streets in Portland (like North Willamette, SW Fairmount, and others) that was blessed with good genes and just naturally feels safe and welcoming. It boasts a great view from the Alameda ridge, has a low volume of car users, and is in a solidly residential neighborhood.

Traffic on Sacramento Street May 26th, 2020. (Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

When Covid hit in 2020 and people flocked to safe streets on bikes and feet, Sacramento St was often bustling with more human than automobile traffic. PBOT has taken notice and has used their Safe Streets Initiative to build on the popularity of the street. It was one of the first locations to receive “Local Access Only” signs and orange barrels when the Slow Streets program launched two years ago. Since then, PBOT has followed-up with concrete barricades and more permanent, “15 mph Shared Street” signage.

The latest evolution of NE Sacramento is the drastic reconfiguration of its widest expanse of pavement: The three-way intersection at Brazee and 64th.

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I rolled by it the other day for a closer look:

To calm traffic down even further, PBOT has installed a “paint and post” treatment that has dramatically reduced the size of the crossings.

Before the project went in, the east-west crossing from Brazee to 64th was 112-feet. Now it’s just 32-feet.

Before the project went in, the north-south crossing from the north side of Brazee to the viewpoint path on the south side of Sacramento was 70-feet. Now’s just 48-feet.

PBOT says the project was funded through the 2012 PPS school bond to make it safer for people to reach nearby Rose City Park School. And it appears to be working. Look at how much room the pickup truck driver is giving to that group of walkers in the photo above (lowest one on the right)!

And although it’s only paint right now, PBOT has shown recently that they will go back and upgrade treatments like this with curbs and more permanent features.

It’s great to see streets evolve over time in a way that makes them safer and more pleasant for people to use. Now we need to create more spaces like this and link them up with safe crossings so we can make the “Sunday Parkways everyday” dream a reality.

Have you been on NE Sacramento lately? Any impressions to share?

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Todd/Boulanger
1 month ago

Way 2 Go PBoT! PS. That large bulbous looks like a great place for a bench, bike repair station [on a steel plate], or parking for a weekly book mobile / food cart / mini disco etc.

Jeff Wright
Jeff Wright
1 month ago

I live close by and this stretch of NE Sacramento was “taken over” by pedestrians and bikers. A few people who live on the street also temporarily blocked auto traffic both ways to accommodate kid play areas where neighborhood children held games and dragged out their kiddie pools on hot days. In addition, a coalition of neighbors have taken it upon themselves to remove blackberries on the hillside leading down to the golf course. (This hill held the stands for a auto and bicycling racetrack in the early 1900’s). All good in the hood.

Ted Buehler
1 month ago

I’m glad PBOT has brought back the Beeswax coloring on nondriving areas. I really liked it when it used on NE Multnomah Ave around 2010.

Ted Buehler

Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago

Quick changes like this are great – I hope the process here looks similar to the SE 30th/Lincoln/Harrison junction.

EP
EP
1 month ago

I like that when I ride through here on a bike, headed westbound on Sacramento, I can just veer right and pass through the poles onto Brazee, but cars have to slow and look around. Not sure if bikes are supposed to follow the auto path/rule too, but it’s nice how you can bypass it.

It’s kind of like the 5-way intersection at SE Sandy/7th/Washington where they untangled that mess with poles. I wish they’d add the yellow paint as well to help better define the lanes of travel.

Let's Ride!
Let's Ride!
1 month ago

This is fantastic. That neighborhood is a little-known gem and, between the native plant restoration on the ridge and the transportation improvements, is one of the few areas of Portland that got better in the last couple of years! It’s a great way to access Rocky Butte, which is the ultimate lunchtime road ride.

Jay
Jay
1 month ago

Looks great! We could really use this same treatment on N Willamette Blvd at N Liberty and also at N Vincent. So many pedestrians walking/jogging along Willamette have to chance it with dangerous unmarked crossings.