vision zero in portland

After year of tragedies, City returns to outer Division with an apology and a plan

Avatar by on February 24th, 2017 at 12:06 pm

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PBOT’s yard signs were very popular last night.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman apologized to residents of the Jade District in person last night for a spate of fatal traffic crashes on outer Division Street.

Speaking as the new commissioner-in-charge of the transportation bureau, Saltzman stood in front of a mostly Chinese-speaking crowd and said, “We’re sorry and we’re bound and determined to do something about that.”

18 months ago in the exact same room as the meeting Saltzman attended last night — the Jade/APANO Multicultural Space on the corner of 82nd and Division — the City of Portland launched their Vision Zero effort. The Bureau of Transportation didn’t plan on coming back, but since that celebratory launch five people have died and three others have suffered life-altering injuries on outer Division. When two Chinese immigrants died trying to cross the street in separate collisions within just hours of each other back in December, PBOT swung into action and has been listening and formulating plans ever since.

Last night in a meeting hosted by the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, PBOT kicked off a community process slated to end with a plan adopted by City Council this fall.
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PBOT will use little-known “emergency” law to rein in speeding drivers

Avatar by on February 16th, 2017 at 2:26 pm

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PBOT Director Leah Treat at a meeting of the Vision Zero Task Force in City Hall this morning.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

When a city says traffic safety is their top priority, it should be willing to do whatever it takes to make people drive more slowly.

In Portland that means taking a very close look at the Oregon Revised Statutes.

Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat announced today that her bureau will seek permission to enact section nine of ORS 810.180 which gives the city the power to set an “emergency speed” without going through the often onerous process of asking for permission from the State of Oregon. (Note: Another section of this same law gives cities the power to reduce speeds on certain residential streets, thanks to a lobbying effort by PBOT in 2011.)

Treat said they’ve decided to take this very rare step in order to keep people safer on outer Southeast Division Street. Back in December two people were killed while trying to walk crossing Division Street in two separate crashes just hours apart. The tragedies sparked outrage from local residents, activists and even top PBOT staff. One day after the deaths, PBOT Active Transportation Group Manager Margi Bradway called neighborhood leaders to talk about the city’s response. Those conversations led to the passage of $300,000 in emergency funding to do outreach and education in adjacent neighborhoods (which are populated by many people of Chinese and other descents who don’t read or speak English).

To continue their focus on taming Division Street, Treat said PBOT will bring an ordinance to Portland City Council on March 2nd asking them to support the move. The existing state law gives PBOT the ability to make this move, but we’ve never heard of it actually being done. [Read more…]

It’s a big week for Vision Zero: Here’s why

Avatar by on February 13th, 2017 at 5:39 pm

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Expect to hear a lot more about Vision Zero in 2017.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland and the State of Oregon are both coming off a terrible year when it comes to traffic safety.

492 people died while using Oregon roads in 2016. That’s a 10 percent increase over the 2015 total and a whopping 57 percent jump from 2013 (when we lost 313 people to traffic crashes). In Portland 45 people died, marking just the second time since 1998 that we’ve had over 40 deaths in one year.

The combination of those grim statistics and the maturity of Vision Zero as a rallying cry and policy concept could make 2017 a watershed year for traffic safety. Or, it could just be more of the same: a bunch of plans, proclamations, protests and meetings. It’s up to all of us to make sure we move the needle.

This week there are four events that show how activists, a nonprofit organization, the State of Oregon, and lawmakers are responding to this urgent issue.

Tuesday (2/14) – Oregon Transportation Safety Committee Meeting

The Oregon Transporation Safety Committee is a governor-appointed tasked with advising the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Oregon Transportation Commission on all matters regarding traffic safety. They meet monthly in Salem. This month’s agenda includes reports from various ODOT liaisons, a discussion about a new speed program, an update from the head of ODOT’s Traffic Division Division, and the drafting of a proclamation to declare May “Transportation Safety Month”. Take a look at the agenda here (PDF).
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With passage of action plan, Portland now has roadmap to zero traffic deaths

Avatar by on December 2nd, 2016 at 11:31 am

PBOT Director Leah Treat presenting the action plan at City Council yesterday.

PBOT Director Leah Treat presenting the action plan at City Council yesterday.

21 of the 32 actions outlined in the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Vision Zero Action Plan should be completed within two years and all of them should be done by 2021.

Those are the marching orders given to PBOT from City Council after four commissioners (Mayor Charlie Hales was in Mexico at a climate change conference) voted unanimously yesterday to pass the plan (PDF), a 35-page document developed over six months of task force meetings, data-crunching, and public outreach.

The vote comes six months after City Council passed the Vision Zero resolution that says, “No loss of life is acceptable on our city streets.”

The plan of actions to reach a goal of zero fatalities by 2025 (just nine years from now) are broken down into five categories: street design, impairment, speed, dangerous behaviors, and engagement and accountability. They include things like: breaking ground on new capital projects on high crash corridors, increasing police training, gaining local authority to set speed limits, expanding the red light safety camera program, and more. [Read more…]

City Budget Office recommends no funding for Better Naito, vision zero, Springwater, Halsey and Hawthorne projects

Avatar by on October 14th, 2016 at 9:24 am

This version of inner southeast Hawthorne is still just a dream. For now.

This version of inner southeast Hawthorne is still just a dream. For now.

The City Budget Office (CBO) just threw a bunch of cold water on some hot active transportation projects.

Last month we were happy to share that the transportation bureau had requested city funding for five projects that would upgrade our streets and make them safer for everyone to use. The request was made as part of the fall budget monitoring process or “BUMP”. This is where the city takes the growth in tax revenue that went beyond projections and re-invests it back into worthy projects. Competition for the funds are fierce and all city bureaus compete for a limited pot of money (estimated to be about $8 million total this go-round2).

The Bureau of Transportation trotted out five projects that were especially exciting for transportation reform advocates: a seasonal reconfiguration of Naito Parkway (aka “Better Naito”); the Outer Halsey Streetscape Safety project and a Vision Zero educational effort; a new path connection for the Springwater, and a major redesign of inner Hawthorne Boulevard.

Unfortunately the CBO isn’t recommending funding for any of them. [Read more…]

Portland’s new chamber of commerce wants more business support for Vision Zero

Avatar by on September 27th, 2016 at 3:16 pm

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The Portland Independent Chamber of Commerce (PICOC) has turned their influential attention to an issue near and dear to our hearts: the struggle for safer streets.

Launched early this year by a relatively young cadre of tech industry leaders as an antidote to the Portland Business Alliance, PICOC wants more Portland businesses to step up and support “the Vision Zero movement.”

Their latest campaign hit inboxes and social media feeds today. It’s timed to influence City Council’s upcoming vote on the Vision Zero Action Plan released by the Portland Bureau of Transportation earlier this month. Council is slated to formally adopt the plan on October 12th. [Read more…]

City’s first speed camera already having major impact

Avatar by on September 23rd, 2016 at 10:22 am

This SUV was caught by Portland's new speed camera going 72 mph in a 40 mph zone.(Photo: (PBOT)

This SUV was caught by Portland’s new speed camera going 72 mph in a 40 mph zone. View a video of it below.
(Photo: (PBOT)

Oregon’s first speed camera has had a very busy first month. And that’s great news for fans of safer streets.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation installed the camera on SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway on August 25th. It’s been issuing only warning since then but the agency announced this morning that as of tomorrow (9/24) the warnings end and the citations begin.

If the first month is any indication, the camera will be a huge success (unless people don’t mind getting tickets). PBOT says the presence of the camera (and associated signage) has already reduced top-end speeding by 93 percent (more stats below).
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PBOT seeks cash for Hawthorne, Vision Zero, outer Halsey, and a new Springwater connection

Avatar by on September 22nd, 2016 at 11:48 am

 Concept drawing of SE Hawthorne upgrades. View is looking east from SE 6th Ave.(Graphic: PBOT)

Concept drawing of SE Hawthorne upgrades. View is looking east from SE 6th Ave.
(Graphic: PBOT)

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City releases draft of Vision Zero Action Plan

Avatar by on September 14th, 2016 at 10:36 pm

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Redesigning big streets is a major thrust of the plan.

Over one year after Portland City Council unanimously supported a commitment to Vision Zero, the task force assembled to help lead us there has released its action plan.
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Portland about to win another major battle in its quest to lower speed limits

Avatar by on August 24th, 2016 at 2:12 pm

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The City of Portland thinks proximity to vulnerable road users should be used to determine speed limits — not the dangerous behaviors of those with the most protection.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s simple: When we drive too fast, it’s much easier to kill someone. But even with that clear and present danger, the vast majority of us still speed. Our roads will never be safe until we get a handle on this and now the City of Portland has taken a big step in the right direction.
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