Portland adds space for people on busy streets

Portland adds space for people on busy streets

Many streets in east Portland have high-stress corners with wide turning radii and narrow sidewalks adjacent to fast-moving traffic. (Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The third leg of the Portland transportation bureau’s pandemic-related Safe Streets Initiative aims to allocate more space to people on busy streets. Their aptly named Busy Streets program is creating new bus platforms, wider sidewalks and expanded corners.

PBOT photo shows crews installing bus platform on SE Washington.

Last week PBOT installed the first bus platform on SE Washington and 80th in the Montavilla neighborhood. The new expanse of pavement will give TriMet Line 15 bus users more space to maintain a safe physical distance while they wait. More bus platforms are coming on SE Stark Street at 82nd, 90th, 92nd and 105th. Stark and Washington will also see several sections of expanded walkways.

Unlike with the Slow Streets and Healthy Business programs, there are no planned lane closures or driving access restrictions. PBOT is using a mix of new pavement, paint striping and physical barriers to re-allocate the space. Check out the graphics below for what the new wider corners and sidewalks will look like…

PBOT graphics show concept for expanded corners and sidewalks.

To choose locations, PBOT leaned on the groundbreaking work in their PedPDX Pedestrian Master Plan and chose to focus the first phase of projects on east Portland’s Montavilla and Gateway neighborhoods. “Both districts not only have heavy pedestrian traffic, but include lots of places that people walk to, including services and jobs, many of which may not provide teleworking as an option,” PBOT said in an announcement today. “These are also places that feature senior services, affordable housing, medical facilities, and transit.”


Corners will be expanded using paint-and-posts at 10 east Portland intersections:

  • E Burnside Street at 99th and 148th avenues
  • NE Halsey Street and 111th Avenue
  • NE Prescott Street and 102nd Avenue
  • SE Stark Street at 76th, 80th, and 148th avenues
  • SE Washington Street at 76th, 80th, and 92nd avenues

You can view exact locations of all the Busy Street projects on PBOT’s Safe Streets Initiative map.

While PBOT says these projects are temporary, it seems there’d be no reason to erase them once the need for physical distancing subsides (if it ever does). East Portland is tragically car-centric and there’s an urgent need to re-allocate right-of-way away from car use and toward people on foot. Here’s to hoping these become permanent.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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