What is the Busy Streets program?
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has started a new initiative called Safe Streets to respond to the Covid-19 public health crisis. The Safe Streets Initiative temporarily changes city streets to give people more space to walk, bike, roll, do business, and get around in their neighborhood.
The Busy Streets program expands on the Safe Streets Initiative work PBOT has already undergone with the Slow Streets and Healthy Businesses programs. Busy Streets helps with crowded areas where people, especially pedestrians, might find it harder to keep six feet apart, such as on narrow sidewalks, at crowded bus stops, or at busy intersections where corners are packed with people waiting to cross.
Using physical barriers, paint, and other markings, PBOT will open space on these narrow or crowded areas without closing streets to traffic.
Guided by PedPDX, Portland's Citywide Pedestrian Plan and PBOT's Equity Matrix, PBOT is focusing on high-traffic pedestrian areas in East Portland for this first phase of Busy Streets. Pedestrian districts in neighborhoods like Gateway and Montavilla, not only have heavy pedestrian traffic, but include lots of places that people walk to, including services and jobs, many of which may not provide teleworking as an option. These are also places that feature senior services, affordable housing, medical facilities, and transit.
PBOT is kicking off “Busy Streets” by expanding walkways along SE Stark and Washington streets in the Gateway and Montavilla neighborhoods. PBOT is focusing on East Portland’s “Pedestrian Districts” a term defined in PedPDX, Portland’s citywide pedestrian plan. These are areas near neighborhood centers and transit stations as defined in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan:
- SE Stark Street (north side), from 84th to 94th and from 99th to 105th
- SE Stark Street (south side), from 102nd to 105th
- SE Stark Street (both sides of the street), from 108th to 122nd
- SE Washington Street (north side), from 103rd to 106th
Expanded, temporary bus platforms
Additionally, PBOT will install temporary bus platforms at five bus stops along TriMet's frequent service line 15, all of which have narrow sidewalks. These larger platforms will make it easier for pedestrians to keep their distance from each other and people waiting to board the bus. These bus platforms will be at:
- SE Washington Street and 80th Avenue
- SE Stark Street at 82nd, 90th, 92nd, and 105th avenues
Finally, PBOT will make it easier to physically distance while waiting to cross the street at 10 busy intersections. Using paint and other markings, PBOT will expand corners at 10 busy intersections in East Portland:
- E Burnside Street at 99th and 148th avenues
- NE Halsey Street and 111th Avenue
- NE Prescott Street and 102nd Avenue
- SE Stark Street at 76th, 80th, and 148th avenues
- SE Washington Street at 76th, 80th, and 92nd avenues
PBOT will continue to evaluate how these projects are working and looking for other places in Portland that might need expanded walkways, expanded bus platforms, or expand corners at busy intersections.