UPDATED: What's Happening Now
- (11/27/23) Post-project data collection analysis and map available.
- (9/22/23) PBOT traffic operations staff is collecting data in the neighborhood to help evaluate traffic volumes and speeds and project impacts. The project team expects to have results and recommendation to share with community members this fall, 2023.
- Solar speed reader boards installed to raise awareness of vehicle speeds. (See picture, right.) Second speed reader board installed on 12/20/22.
- Installation of pilot project elements took place during the week of 12/26/22 to 12/31/22. PBOT Maintenance Operations staff completed the installation.
- Read the project update that went out to people subscribed to the project email list.
- Sign up for the project email list.
NE Alameda is a neighborhood greenway and priority safe route to school corridor. The intersection of NE Fremont and Alameda is a busy crossing for people walking, biking, rolling, and driving. The amount of traffic on NE Alameda coupled with the number of crashes and turning movements at the NE Fremont intersection creates an unsafe, uncomfortable intersection for all users.
Initially, the Slow Streets program planned to install more robust turn traffic calming at the intersection with concrete planters. After hearing from nearby residents and the neighborhood, PBOT changed the design and proposed a pilot project creating a simpler intersection with fewer turning movements and significantly less crash potential.
The project’s goals are to:
- Reduce crashes and crash potential at the NE Alameda and NE Fremont intersection.
- Create more crossing opportunities for people walking, biking, and rolling.
- Reduce automobile volumes on the NE Alameda neighborhood greenway.
The project will include plastic curbing and posts along the double yellow centerline, as well as turn restriction signs (see image, below). In addition, advance warning signs alerting people to the traffic pattern change will be installed.
UPDATED: Project Schedule
- Spring 2022 – Pre-project data collection (complete)
- Spring/Summer 2022 – Public involvement and notification (complete)
- Winter/Spring 2023 – Construction (Scheduled for week of 12/26/22 to 12/31/22)
- Fall 2023 – Post-project data collection
- Spring 2024 – Evaluation report with recommendation for intersection operations
Pilot Project Success Factors & Considerations
In 2015, City Council authorized the Neighborhood Greenway Assessment Report. City Council directed PBOT to adopt updated guidelines for neighborhood greenway operations, relating specifically to traffic speeds and volumes and intersection crossing opportunities for people walking and biking. The report specifically laid out guidance for how potential issues on streets adjacent to neighborhood greenway improvement projects should be addressed.
Guidelines for local service streets: As a result of traffic calming efforts on neighborhood greenways traffic volumes should not exceed 1,000 cars per day or 50 cars per hour during peak demand on adjacent local service streets.
Rationale: 1,000 cars per day or 50 cars per peak hour serve as the target volumes for neighborhood greenway operations. Local service streets can operate efficiently within the automobile thresholds recommended for neighborhood greenways. (Page 11)
PBOT’s robust data collection efforts at 22 locations in the project area will help determine the local impact of the intersection change. Non-local traffic should be using collector streets, such as NE 33rd and NE 41st/42nd to access destinations outside the neighborhood. While some additional traffic to local streets may occur, PBOT is committed to ensuring those streets operate as well or better than the neighborhood greenway. If post project data shows that a local service street in the project area went from less than 1,000 vehicles per day before implementation to over 1,000 vehicles, PBOT will work with the neighborhood to consider the following mitigations:
- Install traffic calming on the local service street, such as speed bumps.
- Investigate additional signage on the local service street, such as stop signs.
- Install traffic operational changes on the local service street, such as creating a one-way street.
- Remove or modify the intersection change at NE Alameda and NE Fremont.
Traffic Impact and Analysis
PBOT collected data at 22 locations during the spring of 2022 to understand how neighborhood traffic is operating (see map and information, below). Approximately 6 to 12 months after implementation, another round of data collection will take place using the data collected in the spring of 2022 as the baseline. The last 10 years of traffic data collected by PBOT can be found on our publicly available webmap.
UPDATED: Post-Project Data Collection and Analysis
PBOT collected data in 15 locations to help determine the safety project's traffic impacts in the surrounding neighborhood. The locations correspond with pre-project data. The information helps show how and where traffic patterns have shifted and if any specific street or streets are experiencing traffic patterns that do not meet PBOT guidelines.
The post-project data showed:
- Significant reduction in traffic on the NE Alameda neighborhood greenway.
- No significant impacts to nearby local, neighborhood streets.
- No significant impact to NE Fremont Street.
The project is meeting success factors outlined during implementation. No local street in the area is experiencing more than 1,000 vehicles in a day. No local street in the project area is experiencing elevated speeds or significant speed increases. The project team will continue to monitor several streets for potential impacts:
- NE Klickitat neighborhood greenway west of NE Alameda, which saw an increase in traffic volumes approaching 1,000 vehicles per day.
- NE 38th Avenue south of NE Fremont, which saw an increase in northbound vehicles.
Although the project does not impact typical transit operations, the Line 70 uses NE Alameda from 33rd to Fremont during snow events. The Line 70 bus will no longer be able to use that route and will likely shift to NE Prescott from 33rd to 42nd. That means no service for three stops typically served by the Line 70 bus during a snow event on NE 33rd (NE Skidmore, Shaver, and Bryce Streets).
UPDATED: Email Update Sign Up
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What does "pilot project" mean?
A pilot project is one that is constructed using low-cost, temporary materials. Pilot projects use pre- and post-project data collection and analysis to determine the project's success and impacts on the surrounding streets. A pilot project is easily changed or removed to adapt to traffic data and patterns that emerge after implementation.
What if my street ends up with much of the traffic that was using NE Alameda?
PBOT relies on traffic data collected before the project was implemented to serve as a baseline for how a street operates. PBOT has guidelines for traffic impacts on nearby local streets, which are outlined above. If a local street in the project area experiences high volumes of traffic after the project is implemented, PBOT will work with the neighborhood to install traffic calming mitigations or change the pilot project design.
PBOT's aim is for the other local streets in the project area to operate as safely and quietly as the neighborhood greenway street, NE Alameda.
Why not install a four-way stop at the intersection of NE Alameda and NE Fremont instead of the pilot project?
Adding a four-way stop sign at NE Alameda and NE Fremont would likely create significant safety issues. When there is a major imbalance in traffic between two streets, all-way stop controlled intersections can lead to more crashes. That's because people driving on the street with much more traffic become accustomed to not seeing and expecting vehicles at the other street with less traffic. NE Fremont has about seven times the amount of daily vehicles as NE Alameda and had nearly 10 times the amount of traffic in 2019.
In addition, a four-way stop at NE Alameda and Fremont would encourage more people to drive on NE Alameda, since it would make the intersection easier to navigate. City policy calls for less vehicles to use neighborhood greenways and safe routes to school streets, like NE Alameda.
For more information on stop sign placement and operations, please visit this webpage: portland.gov/transportation/traffic-operations/stop-sign-overview
Why not install a flashing yellow light at NE Alameda and NE Fremont instead of the pilot project?
A flashing yellow light, typically called a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) is an enhanced crossing treatment to improve access for people walking and biking across a busy street. They are expensive infrastructure treatments and do not reduce crashes for people driving. They also do not decrease the amount of cut-through traffic using a local street, like NE Alameda. An RRFB would likely improve crossing safety but would not meet the other goals of the project to decrease crashes and lower the number of vehicles using the NE Alameda neighborhood greenway.
Aren't most people using NE Alameda to make a left onto NE Fremont because they can't make a left turn from NE 41st onto NE Fremont?
PBOT collected substantial data to determine how people are using NE Alameda (that data, as well as the last 10 years of collected traffic data, is available on our publicly accessible webmap). Based on the data analysis, the project team sees the majority of traffic using NE Alameda as a way to avoid more appropriate streets for longer distance travel, like NE 33rd or NE 42nd.
While there are some left turns from NE Alameda onto NE Fremont heading west, it is not the dominant movement at the intersection. More drivers are using NE Alameda to move north or south across NE Fremont and continue through the neighborhood. In addition, there are not a significant number of people making left turns from NE 41st onto NE Alameda. That would be a prominent turning movement if drivers heading north on NE 41st were using NE Alameda to avoid the left turn restrictions at NE Fremont.
What about people speeding on NE Fremont? Can you slow those drivers down?
NE Fremont is a major emergency response route. That means it is one of the Portland Fire and Rescue (PF&R) bureau's most important streets for responding to an emergency. PBOT and PF&R work closely together to evaluate speeds for general vehicles as well as response times for emergency vehicles in planning and operating emergency response routes. Because NE Fremont is such an important route for emergency response, typical traffic calming tools like speed bumps are inappropriate.
After hearing from neighborhood representatives about speed concerns on NE Fremont, the project team is working to include a solar speed reader board near the NE Alameda intersection as part of the safety improvement.
Why not improve visibility for people turning onto NE Fremont?
PBOT is interested in learning more about intersections with poor visibility. Please let us know which intersection(s) needs parking removal to allow for better visibility. We are particularly interested in learning about north-south streets that intersect with NE Fremont, where left turns for residents accessing the busier street may be difficult due to poor sightlines.
Shouldn't NE Alameda carry more traffic since its wider than other streets?
NE Alameda is 36 feet wide from NE Fremont to NE Sandy, a typical width for local streets and for many neighborhood greenways. Although street width varies throughout the neighborhood and the city, it is not a primary factor for determining how a street should operate or for a street's policy designation and classification. NE Alameda is a designated Local Service Street. It is also classified as a Major City Bikeway, City Bikeway and as a Neighborhood Walkway. Each of these Transportation System Plan classifications guide PBOT on how the street should operate. These policy designations mean that NE Alameda should prioritize people walking and bicycling and limit the number of vehicles using the street to local access.
Did PBOT consider other project designs at the intersection?
Yes, the project team initially proposed concrete planters on NE Alameda to act as turn calming for vehicles. After hearing from nearby residents and the neighborhood that the proposal wouldn't create the safer intersection that was desired, the project team developed the pilot project.
In addition, staff met with neighborhood association representatives multiple times to explore alternative infrastructure improvements to meet the project's goals. The project team developed an alternative design to meet the project goals that was not favored by the neighborhood association representatives. Ultimately, the PBOT project team determined that the pilot project design offered the clearest opportunity to meet the project's safety goals and evaluate potential traffic impacts in the neighborhood.