Woman killed on NE Sandy Blvd is 20th traffic death while walking this year

Looking southwest on Sandy Blvd from NE 79th.

Something is wrong with Portland’s traffic safety efforts. While ostensibility dedicated to a Vision Zero Action Plan with a clear goal of zero traffic deaths by 2025, the fatality statistics are going in the wrong direction.

This morning just after 7:00 am, a woman was killed while walking across NE Sandy Blvd. It happened between NE 78th and 79th Avenues. The Portland Police Bureau hasn’t released details of the crash and is currently doing an investigation.

This woman was the 20th person to die while walking in 2017 — that’s the highest toll in over 20 years. The furthest back our immediately available data goes is 1996. That year 17 people died while walking.

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City proposes $30,000 project to preserve on-street parking next to unused parking lot

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
overhead map annotated

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has proposed to narrow a sidewalk by four feet in order to make room both for bike lanes and for some of the free on-street parking spaces that currently serve Katie O’Brien’s bar at NE 28th Avenue and Sandy.
(Graphic: BikePortland)

There’s one section of 28th Avenue’s commercial strip, at the heart of the planned 20s Bikeway, where it’s not possible for bike traffic to divert onto a side street: the one block between Sandy Boulevard and Interstate 84.

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Movie spoof says Sandy Blvd is the “worst street ever”

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

A spoof movie trailer making the local Internet rounds today has transportation wonks crying with laughter. The trailer is for a film dubbed “Sandy Blvd.” and the premise is simple: “Sandy is the worst F#$%I* street ever!” If you watch the clip below at work, just be forewarned there is a lot of profanity.

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ODOT project will add bike lanes to NE Sandy Blvd in east Portland

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

A one-mile stretch of NE Sandy Blvd will get
rebuilt with bike lanes and a new sidewalk thanks
to a $3.8 million ODOT project.

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is set to stripe new bike lanes on a one-mile section of NE Sandy Blvd from NE 122nd Avenue to NE 141st in east Portland. Construction on the $3.865 million project begins this week.

Currently, Sandy has one standard vehicle lane in each direction, with unimproved shoulders on both sides. Cars park in the shoulders, which lack sidewalks or bike lanes and are full of gravel and potholes. The project will rebuild Sandy, making significant changes that include:

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Follow-up: No ‘Bikes in Roadway’ signage for Sandy Blvd

Riding on NE Sandy Blvd-5-4

PBOT says ‘Bikes in Roadway’ signs
aren’t the right approach for Sandy.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Remember our story last week about NE Sandy Blvd? We shared the experience of riding on that large arterial street through the eyes of Esther Harlow.

Despite a lack of comfortable bike access, many people like Harlow prefer riding on Sandy Blvd because it’s a straight shot into the central city. While more significant bike access improvements on Sandy aren’t in the near-term pipeline, Harlow had an idea to improve bike access she felt would help the situation immediately.

To make the bike/car interactions a bit more pleasant, Harlow wants to have “Bikes on Roadway” signs installed. She made an official request to PBOT with her idea. Harlow heard back from a PBOT civil engineer and she shared the response with us. PBOT declined the request, but the engineer makes a reasonable case for his decision. The reply (below) might help others understand the thinking PBOT does before deciding whether or not to install signage (it’s also cool to see a government agency take someone’s request so seriously)…

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Solutions for Sandy

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Sandy Blvd as it appears in the
Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030.
(Thin orange lines are “City Bikeways”)

Given the existing bicycling environment on NE Sandy Boulevard, you might be surprised to learn that the street officially classified as a “City Bikeway.”

Here’s how the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 (section 2.3.3), defines City Bikeways:

“They establish direct and convenient bicycle access to all significant destinations… and function to allow residents access to Portland’s bikeway network, ideally within three city blocks from any given point. They provide a mobility function and help establish the fine-grained network of a world-class bicycling city…

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For some, riding on Sandy Blvd is a risk worth taking

Despite being dominated by cars and offering no dedicated bike access, many Portlanders choose to ride on NE Sandy Blvd. for the same reasons people like to drive on it — because it’s the most direct and efficient route into the Hollywood District and downtown.
(Photos © J. Maus)

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