Portland Comm. Jo Ann Hardesty
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News Release
Commissioner Hardesty to Introduce Budget Amendment to Provide Safety Interventions to High Crash Corridors - 06/09/21

This afternoon, Commissioner Hardesty will introduce a budget amendment to urgently respond to the crisis of vehicular violence that has so far caused 25 traffic-related deaths on the streets of Portland this year. 

These last 15 months have been a whirlwind of crisis – first and foremost a global pandemic, but also including a racial justice uprising, economic devastation, wildfires, a nationwide increase in gun violence, and here in Portland a 47% increase in traffic deaths for 2021 so far as of June 8, 2021.  

“It’s clear our City is seeing a tragic increase in loss of life from vehicular violence and we need to treat this like an emergency. Recently I directed the Portland Bureau of Transportation to identify and plan out actions that could be taken to prevent traffic deaths as quickly as possible. This amendment includes ready to go action items proven to improve street safety that can be acted on within the next 4-6 months.” – Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty  

These safety interventions will in some cases begin brand new projects while accelerating and enhancing other projects that were already in development. 

The $450,000 in General Funds will go to the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) for High Crash Corridor safety interventions including:  

  • Speed Safety Cameras: Install additional cameras on High Crash Corridors to reduce high-risk speeds.

Local impact: Portland’s existing cameras have reduced overall speeding by an average 71 percent and top-end speeding decreased by 94 percent, compared with the period before the cameras were in place.  

  • Increase Safety and Visibility at Intersections on the High Crash Network, including: 

Pull parking farther from intersections (sometimes called “daylighting”) 

Install signals that give pedestrians a head start  to help people see each other and avoid crashes 

Local impact: Nearly three-fourths of pedestrian crashes occur at intersections in Portland 

  • Turn Calming Infrastructure: Add small rubber bumps to high-crash intersections that help left-turning drivers see and avoid pedestrians in the crosswalk.  

Local impact: 20% of pedestrian crashes result from left-turning drivers failing to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk at signalized intersections 

  • Center Turn Lane Delineation: Install flexible posts to help prevent misuse of open center turn lanes approaching major intersections, which can increase the risk of crashes. 

  • Speed Limit Reductions: Speed limits are a proven tool in supporting safer speeds.  

Local impact: Speed is a major factor in nearly half of Portland traffic deaths. 

It is crucial to focus on High Crash Corridors. While they make up only 8 percent of Portland streets, high crash streets consistently account for the majority of traffic deaths. In 2020, 62 percent of Portland’s 54 traffic deaths occurred on High Crash Corridors, and they account for the majority of traffic deaths so far this year as well. 

Many High Crash Corridors have four or more lanes of fast-moving traffic, unprotected pedestrian crossings and bike lanes, and long distances between signals. These are the places where deadly crashes happen most often. They include a network of High Crash Intersections. Fixing these streets is a central element of Portland’s Vision Zero strategy.  

These high crash streets are disproportionately in East Portland and generally in areas with higher rates of people living on low incomes and people who are Black, Indigenous or People of Color. The death rate from traffic crashes among Black residents in Multnomah County was nearly twice the rate among white residents during the period 2013-2017, according to a recent study by the county

The City of Portland is among dozens of cities in the United States that have adopted Vision Zero as the city's goal for traffic safety, and PBOT leads the citywide effort. Vision Zero is the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries from city streets, and acknowledging that these deaths are not inevitable. With the right combination of infrastructure, education, enforcement, and other strategies, we can reduce and eventually eliminate traffic deaths. Learn more at VisionZeroPortland.com 

The time to take action is now. 

View more news releases from Portland Comm. Jo Ann Hardesty.