By Ron Glanville
Background provided by the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) in their informational flyer about the need for Traffic Safety improvements on NE Halsey Avenue east of 114th Ave, has long been identified in the East Portland in Motion Plan (EPIM) adopted by City Council in 2011 and the East Portland Action Plan (EPAP) adopted in 2011. With 478 crashes over the past ten (10) years, 19 of which were fatalities or near-death injuries, NE Halsey is one of the most deadly high crash corridors within the City of Portland.
PBOT is proposing the following:
- Improved pedestrian crossing safety with 4 median refuge islands equipped with rapid flash beacons (119th, 128th, 143rd, and 155th).
- Improved street lighting at the new crossings.
- Infill missing sections of sidewalk (~3,700 linear feet).
- Reconfiguration of the roadway to provide space for wider bicycle lanes and a three travel lane east of NE 133rd. Requires parking removal (114th to 133rd Ave both sides, 133rd to 162nd on one side).
Funding for the project comes from $2.2M budgeted use of $1M from the City’s general fund along with $1.2M for Portland Transportation System Development Charge (SDC).
The EPIM project original request was for full sidewalk infill of Halsey (currently most of the blocks past 128th have just curbing) as this area has not seen improvements for some time and most pedestrians are required to walk in the bike lanes on the street because of poor sidewalk conditions of either muddy track or overgrown vegetation. There are residents who are in wheelchairs who travel down the bike lanes to get to the bus stops. This current proposal will provide only sidewalk infill for an estimated 20 to 25 blocks when there’s more than 50 blocks of needed infill.
The “Road Diet” part of the plan which has been described as painting stripes and reducing speed has been opted out for now according to PBOT contact Rich Newlands the project manager, due to response from various meetings with Neighborhood Associations and Transportation committees.
Most of the committees have requested that the City and PBOT complete the sidewalk infill projects as top priority, and speed reduction has also been requested. Outer Halsey needs safe walking areas (sidewalks) more than anything else.