Through surveys and other public engagement, PBOT has talked with community members and other stakeholders to better understand how Portlanders experience 122nd Avenue today and what their priorities are for the future of the road. PBOT has made recommendations for 122nd Avenue based on this feedback, alongside numerous other factors, including policies like the 2035 Comprehensive Plan and PBOT's analysis of the current conditions of the road. This analysis includes a review of crash history, traffic volume, and existing infrastructure.
Public engagement (2018-2019)
In early 2018, PBOT surveyed more than 1,000 community members about how they use the 122nd Avenue corridor, asking them to identify their concerns about safety and access. Nearly a third of the community members that took our survey identified as people of color. PBOT also convened groups of residents whose first language is one other than English, in order to gather feedback that reflects the multicultural makeup of the area.
Through the survey and workshops, we learned that more than 90% of people travel by car on 122nd Avenue. Almost half of these also used an additional mode of travel sometimes. About a third of respondents reported walking or using a mobility device, 21% riding a bike, and 19% riding transit.
We also asked what criteria should be used when evaluating changes to 122nd Avenue. As seen in the graphic here, community members identified two top priorities: traffic impacts and safety. The next highest were pedestrian access and comfort, transit performance, and placemaking.
PBOT got additional comments about safety at crossings, congestion, bike safety, vehicle speeds, and enforcement. Of all the sections of 122nd Avenue, community members expressed the most concerns about the stretch between NE Glisan Street and SE Powell Boulevard, as well as the intersection of 122nd Avenue and E Burnside Street. To learn more about this phase of public outreach, download our full survey summary here:
In late 2018 and early 2019, PBOT then asked the community for feedback about different options for possible improvements along the corridor. Most people liked the options we shared, finding them sufficient. However, there was a strong desire to make sure these improvements don't increase traffic.
We also asked the community to help us decide which pedestrian crossings to improve first. PBOT found wide agreement (80%) with our strategy of prioritizing pedestrian crossings that fall in so-called "Pedestrian Districts" and "Centers" as defined in the city's Comprehensive Plan. What did the community say was their highest priority crossing? Those at 122nd Avenue at NE Davis Street and at SE Clinton Street. Both of these improvements have been funded. See our 122nd Avenue crossings at NE Davis and SE Clinton streets page here.
Other community comments and recommendations focused on connections to schools, parks, and/or transit stops. There was also a call to more evenly space out pedestrian crossings throughout the corridor, although some thought adding crossings was unnecessary and would lead to more congestion.
Finally, PBOT asked what people's top three fixes were for the short-term. Street lighting came in first. Other fixes that earned high scores focused on pedestrians, as well as people biking and taking transit (review chart below). To learn more about this phase of public outreach, download our full survey summary here:
Additional input from other projects and groups
PBOT's East Portland Arterial Streets Strategy project
At the same time PBOT was gathering feedback on 122nd Avenue, PBOT was also seeking broad input about all major streets in East Portland and finding similar themes. This was part of PBOT's East Portland Arterial Streets Strategy, or EPASS for short. More than 1,000 people responded to an EPASS questionnaire in summer 2019. Respondents ranked their top five transportation investments in East Portland as follows:
- Improve sidewalks or complete missing ones (62%)
- Increase street lighting (53%). This was also identified as a top priority for near-term fixes to 122nd Avenue.
- Reduce vehicle congestion and bottlenecks (52%)
- Improve (signaled) pedestrian crossings (42%). This was also identified as a top priority for near-term fixes to 122nd Avenue.
- Reduce cut-through traffic on residential side streets (28%)
Oregon Walks Report
During the planning process, Oregon Walks published the “Oregon Walks Fatal Pedestrian Crash Report.” This report looked at 48 fatal pedestrian crashes in Portland from 2017 and 2019 and made the following conclusions:
- Those living in the underserved area of East Portland are disproportionately affected by fatal pedestrian crasheswith all crashes occurring in areas where the median income is below the city average.
- People who identify as Black, who are experiencing homelessness, who are older adults, or who are persons with disabilities are all at a disproportionately high risk of being killed in collisions.
- Street lighting was found to be an urgent issue. Seventy-nine percent of crashes occurred in the dark, with poor lighting or other inadequacies found in a majority of these locations. Further engineering review is needed.
- A lack of traffic calming as well as speed limits set over the statutory limit were factors in a majority of fatal pedestrian crashes.
- A majority of fatal pedestrian crashes occurred on roads designated by PBOT as “High Crash Corridors.”
"Walking While Black" focus groups
As part of the development of Ped PDX (Portland’s citywide pedestrian plan), PBOT staff worked with community partners from the Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF), the Black Parent Initiative (BPI), and the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) Africa House to better understand how the walking experience of the Black community may be different because of their racial and ethnic identities. One prominent finding from these “Walking While Black” focus groups was the importance of street lighting to Black Portlanders. Focus group participants rated “poor lighting” as the biggest barrier to walking. This is particularly important for the 122nd Avenue Plan due to the lack of lighting along both side of the street and the high proportion of people of color living adjacent to 122nd Avenue.