ODOT open house on Thursday looks at safety improvements for N Broadway

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

We covered this project a few weeks ago; but wanted to make sure you were aware of the official open house tomorrow (1/7) night. Check the ODOT press release below for more details…

Thursday open house looks at safety improvements for North Broadway

ODOT and the Portland Bureau of Transportation will host a public open house on Thursday, Jan. 7 to look at improvements planned for the intersection where the southbound Interstate 5 off-ramp, exit 302A, meets North Broadway.

The open house is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7 in the basement of the Left Bank office building, 240 N. Broadway. The entrance is on North Wheeler Avenue between North Weidler Street and North Broadway. Signs will be posted near the building.

Members of the project team from ODOT and PBOT will be available to discuss the project and answer questions.

The work is part of the larger N/NE Quadrant Plan which would make operational and safety improvements in the areas both on and off I-5. The Plan, a joint effort by ODOT and PBOT, does not yet have funding for all elements.

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State and city fast-track closure of extra offramp near east end of Broadway Bridge

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The extra “slip ramp” from
I-5 onto Broadway would close.

Here’s some good news about one of the most dangerous spots on one of Portland’s most popular bike routes.

The Oregon Department of Transportation and City of Portland are planning to break ground this spring on much-anticipated changes to the area where a southbound Interstate 5 offramp drops people fresh off the freeway into a slip lane that curves across the North Broadway bike lane.

This project had previously been scheduled to start next summer.

The changes planned will mean that when someone exits I-5 to head across the Broadway Bridge, instead of seeing this (a “slip lane” that is all but begging people to roll through it, right into a bike lane)…

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ODOT will close I-5 off-ramp onto Broadway, add other safety features

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Detail of plans to close an I-5 “slip ramp”
that dumps onto Broadway.

An open house event tomorrow night (11/19) will be your chance to see what the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has planned to improve safety on Broadway where it passes over Interstate 5.

Changes to the notorious section of Broadway near Wheeler and Flint were a focus of the city’s N/NE Quadrant planning process back in 2012 and they were included as “near-term solutions” within a larger, $400 million ODOT project to widen I-5 through the Rose Quarter.

With that large-scale proposal years away from fruition (if it ever happens at all), local neighborhood activists pressed ODOT to do something more immediate to remedy the many traffic safety issues in the area of the Broadway-Weidler couplet just west of I-5. We’ve been highlighting safety issues at this location for over seven years – ever since the Portland Water Bureau prohibited its fleet vehicles from making right turns onto Wheeler due to right-hook concerns.

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Another right-hook on N Broadway

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The scene this morning.
(Photo courtesy Betsy Reese)

I hate to say it, but there has been yet another right-hook collision on N Broadway.

This morning at around 8:35 am, a woman driving a Chrysler PT Cruiser turned right off of Broadway onto N Ross Avenue and collided with a man riding his bicycle. The man on the bike was traveling west on Broadway toward the Broadway Bridge prior to the collision. The extent of his injuries are unknown, but I have confirmed the collision with the Portland Police Bureau and with two witnesses who saw the aftermath.

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Broadway/Flint/Wheeler intersection, circa 1940

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Flint/Broadway intersection 70 years ago.
(Photo: City of Portland archives)

The notorious Broadway/Flint/Wheeler intersection has been getting a lot of attention lately. Just today I rolled up on PBOT traffic safety staff and engineers observing the new partial closure of Wheeler, while a PPB officer talked with Paramount Apartments owner Betsy Reese. In addition to the closure, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has followed through with promises to business owners in the Lower Albina district by removing several on-street parking spots to make it easier for large trucks to turn in the area.

But a lot of work remains to make this area hospitable to all road users. It’s a mess and the addition of the new streetcar line — set to open later this month — will only add to the traffic safety issues.

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Police enforcement at Ladd Circle, N Flint ruffles feathers once again

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The scene at Flint/Broadway last week.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Once again, two of the city’s most infamous stop sign locations are being targeted by the Portland Police Bureau (PPB). This morning, and two other days this week, multiple motorcycle cops have stationed themselves at the intersections of N. Flint and Broadway and SE Ladd Ave at the circle. These locations have gotten bicycle-focused police attention for many years, but the behaviors that bring them there — a high rate of non-compliance by people riding bicycles — continue to be problematic.

At Flint and Broadway, I have confirmed with the PPB that they are working the intersection due to a request by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). The request comes as part of the move by PBOT last week to partially close N. Wheeler Ave (which is just a few yards west of the Flint/Broadway intersection). One vocal business owner who was opposed to the closure felt that the collisions at Wheeler were the direct result of people running the stop sign at Flint. Even though PBOT analysis shows a myriad of dangerous factors that contributed to the Wheeler right-hooks, media coverage of the closure then adopted this business owner’s perspective, thus cementing the idea with their audiences.

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Mayor makes it official: PBOT will close Wheeler Ave tomorrow – UPDATED

Wheeler Ave traffic and meeting-15

Mayor Adams at a meeting this morning
about the N. Wheeler Ave closure.
(Photos © J. Maus)

In a meeting with over a dozen representatives from businesses in the lower Albina district, Mayor Sam Adams announced this morning that he will move forward with a partial closure of N. Wheeler Ave. PBOT crews will install a median barrier in the northbound lane of Wheeler and make other adjustments by tomorrow morning. The step is being taken to prevent right-hook collisions that have plagued the intersections for many years.

PBOT first floated the idea of a Wheeler closure on August 10th, saying it was the only “immediate” fix that would prevent right hooks and thus further injuries to people bicycling down Broadway. (PBOT analysis shows that Broadway/Wheeler has more bike/car collisions than any other in the city.) When it became clear that some business owners were not on board with the idea, PBOT delayed action to hash out their rationale and meet with those who would be impacted.

Addressing meeting attendees this morning, Adams said, “We have a very serious problem and it’s an urgent problem and it’s literally matter of life and death in the near term.”

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A business owner shares concerns about N. Wheeler Avenue closure plans

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Despite a growing sense of urgency from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), and calls from stakeholders, the public, this site and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance to close it immediately, North Wheeler Avenue is still open. Delaying action is a growing opposition from nearby businesses, who worry about impacts of the closure and who feel PBOT is choosing the wrong fix to the problem.

Last week, following yet another injury collision due to a right hook, it seemed like PBOT should act on their own findings that the intersection was inherently dangerous and should be closed “immediately”. PBOT was all but ready to drop down some temporary traffic barricades last week; but then it emerged that some business owners that use Wheeler to access their buildings were not happy with how the move would impact them.

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While PBOT placates business owners, another person gets right-hooked at Broadway/Wheeler – UPDATED

Mayor and Transportation Commissioner
Sam Adams says safety is his
#1 transportation priority.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

This morning another person was taken to the hospital after suffering injuries in a right hook collision at N Broadway and Wheeler.

Last week I sat in a meeting at the Portland Building and listened to an impassioned PBOT employee describe the agency’s desire to close, N Wheeler Avenue at Broadway to prevent right hooks. The staffer said a partial or full closure of Wheeler was the only solution they have found to prevent repeated right-hooks, “that we think is very likely to cause a serious injury or death.” The staffer added, with a palpable sense of urgency, that PBOT sees this is a “a critical safety problem that we’re focused on addressing in an immediate way.”

There was talk from PBOT at that meeting, and agreement from several key stakeholders, that traffic barricades should be placed on Wheeler right away, without delay, in order to prevent further injury.

Unfortunately, action is stalled because a few businesses in the lower Albina district are concerned about how a closure of Wheeler might impact them (Wheeler is not the only road that accesses the businesses).

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To prevent right-hooks, PBOT will take bold step and close Wheeler Ave

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PBOT’s Greg Raisman shares plans for Broadway/Wheeler.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has announced plans to close auto access on N Wheeler Avenue where it intersects with Broadway. The surprise announcement — nothing short of a bold attempt to prevent right-hook collisions — was made at a special meeting of neighborhood reps, ODOT, and other stakeholders at the City of Portland building earlier today. The meeting was called to discuss “immediate” steps to improve what PBOT (and many others) see as an urgent safety issue: Right-hook collisions at N. Broadway and Wheeler.

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