On the morning of July 30th, 2016, 25-year-old Lydia Johnson was biking eastbound on Southeast Flavel Street. As she came to the intersection with 82nd Avenue, Joel Silva was driving a large box truck in the same direction. When he got to 82nd, Silva turned his truck right, collided with Johnson, and she was killed.
I visited the site a few days later and observed how the narrow, unprotected bike lane got pinched by driver after right-turning driver. It made me sick to think that another right-hook claimed another life.
Seven years later, the Portland Bureau of Transportation will install a bike box at this intersection. It’s a treatment first used locally in 2008 after a spate of right-hook tragedies. Bike boxes don’t add physical protection, but they give bike riders a safe space to wait in front of drivers during red signal phases and the green coloring and buffer sends a signal to drivers that they should use caution while turning.
The bike box coming to SE Flavel and 82nd is just one of several striping and signage updates PBOT is doing as part of their $80 million “critical fixes” project. This particular chunk of work is funded with a $750,000 federal grant and is scheduled to be completed by the end of this summer. In addition to Flavel, as part of this project, PBOT will install bike boxes at SE Woodstock and SE Duke streets. They’ll also update street signage and provide spot fixes to existing median islands to improve visibility.
This week, PBOT also began installation of high-visibility crosswalks (above) at 21 signalized intersections along 82nd Ave between SE Foster and NE Lombard. “High-visibility crosswalks (sometimes called “continental-style” crosswalks) have thick lines parallel to traffic flow that allow drivers to see the crosswalk from further away,” PBOT said in a project email today.
Once the most urgent repairs are made, PBOT will move into the next phase of the project. As per their 82nd Avenue Civic Corridor Investment Strategy, PBOT will invest $105 million into more safety and maintenance projects, efforts to mitigate displacement impacts, and future transit planning.
These updates come after PBOT took over ownership of 82nd from the Oregon Department of Transportation in April 2022.