SE Uplift Transportation Safety Activism in 2017
by: Terry Dublinski-Milton, SE Uplift Co-Chair
Though the summer feels like it will never end, fall is coming. Thus, it is time for an update on where we are in the long fight to make our streets safe for all users. There are many activists working so we can all travel safely. Here is a snapshot of what is happening now. (Please note that *asterisks signify projects formally endorsed by the SE Uplift Board of Directors.)
2017 Transportation Safety Improvements:
- After significant activist work, the City of Portland installed permanent traffic diverters on SE Clinton at 17th and 32nd Avenues. Speed bumps have also been added, with more coming with a future repaving project. This has fundamentally improved the safety and functioning of our busiest bikeway.
- Similarly, a temporary diverter has been added to 15th and SE Ankeny to begin a modernization of this legacy greenway.
- * The Mount Tabor community through the Stark-Thorburn Safety Alliance raised $35,000 of private funds to add fire engine friendly speed tables to Se Stark-Thorburn between 60th and Giliham. Working with residents who have seen cars crash into local homes over several decades, the Thorburn safety alliance also lobbied their representatives in Salem to get ODOT to drop the speed limits on Stark-Thorburn and Burnside by 5 MPH, thus setting the stage for speed bump construction completed this summer.
- A new pedestrian crossing has been installed at 43rd and SE Hawthorne after neighborhood and BikeLoudPDX activism followed a tragic pedestrian fatality.
- In July, speed bumps on Ne 52nd, 53rd and 55th to finish the 50s Bikeway after several years of North Tabor activism
- After several fatalities, city hall declared outer Division east of 82nd a safety emergency allowing for a temporary speed limit decreased to 30 MPH. With community supported safety measures like pedestrian crossings and buffered bike facilities coming next year through local funding, the community hopes to be able to make this lower speed permanent in time for the future Division bus enhancements.
- The 20s Bikeway has been declared complete by the Portland Bureau of Transportation. SE Uplift with be showing it off on Saturday Sept 30 at 10 am with a community bike ride! See our event calendar for details.
- The SE 19th Bikeway contract has, after several years of delay, been awarded to complete the Greenway and bike lane segments connecting Brooklyn with Westmoreland and Oaks Bottom.
- The SE Woodstock commercial district now has a 20 MPH speed limit!
- The Foster Streetscape is coming this next year! Pedestrian crossings, sidewalk improvements, bike lanes connecting SE 52nd to Lents, and a slower neighborhood corridor will help revitalize this commercial heart of SE Uplift.
- Also coming next year a new south entrance to Mount Tabor Park at SE 64th as part of the Park’s Bond Mount Tabor Park revitalization. This multi-use-path, endorsed by multiple neighborhood associations, will connect SE Lincoln to Division and includes a new SE Division crossing by the retirement community. This will give our southern residents safe access to our regional park gem without travelling on 60th for the first time.
In addition to these completed and near term projects, multiple projects of significance have been awarded funding because of neighborhood and organizational activism.
- * Metro’s regional flexible funding package allocated federal funding for:
- Building sidewalks to create safe routes to school in the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood on SE Duke and Flavel
- Building the SE Ogden-Knapp Greenway from SE 52nd to SE 87th
- Constructing multi-modal improvements on key pedestrian and bicycle routes within and connecting to the Jade District and Montavilla Neighborhood Center
- Improving freight access and circulation at key points in the Central Eastside Industrial District, while using local matching funds to improve bikeways leading into and through the district.
- A reconfigured NE Halsey will add bike lanes, crossings, a direct and safe bike and pedestrian connection to the 82nd MAX station and build a separated cycletrack connection, similar to SW Moody, from NE 80th to the I 205 path and Gateway Green.
- * The Portland Bureau of Transportation successfully applied for state funding for the SE 70s Neighborhood Bikeway, which will complete the bikeway between NE Sacramento and SE Flavel, finish the NE Davis-Everett greenway east to Vestal Middle School and will provide connections to the future Division Transit Project. This project builds many critical pedestrian crossings in high crash corridors through all our eastern neighborhoods. Voter approved local gas tax revenue will continue this Bikeway south from Flavel to the Springwater.
- The Gideon Street overpass near SE 16th that was removed during the Orange Line and Clinton MAX Station construction has been awarded funding from the federal government.
In September there are several opportunities for public testimony to advance safety projects:
Wednesday September 6, 10 AM: City Council will take public testimony and vote on the Growing Transit Communities project which contains many of the projects listed above to increase safe access, and reliability, to the outer 20 and 77 bus lines.
Wednesday September 13, 9:45 AM: City Council will take public testimony on the modernization of the Transportation System Development charges rates, methods of calculation of street volumes and the 1-10 year project list which includes many of the funded projects above plus the Reedway Overpass and the build out of the 60s Bikeway, which has been declared the next highest project priority by the SE Uplift Board and all six Neighborhoods from the 60th MAX station south to the Springwater.
Thanks to all the hard working activists out there, and for taking the time to read this brief summary.
–Terry Dublinski-Milton, SE Uplift Co-Chair