Deadly crash response protocol
Following deadly crashes, Portland Bureau of Transportation follows a protocol of actions to raise awareness and respond to the tragedy of people killed on our streets.
- We conduct an emergency engineering evaluation of the crash site to determine if there are quick, low-cost infrastructure changes we can implement to address safety concerns.
- When changes are identified, we quickly move those into design and implementation.
- We deploy electronic variable message signs at the crash location to raise awareness and encourage safe driving behavior where traffic violence occurs. The signs flash two messages, “Traffic Death [date]” and “Travel with Care.”
These steps are outlined in 2019 memo from then PBOT Director Chris Warner on accelerating citywide safety fixes in response to traffic fatalities.
These interventions provide a quick and inexpensive response and safety improvement in a location where someone was killed. They do not provide a comprehensive safety solution at the location or for the city as a whole. Vision Zero relies on many other tools to improve safety on Portland's streets. The most consequential infrastructure changes happen through large scale street transformations that require much larger budgets and much longer planning and engagement processes. These projects are carried out by PBOT's planning and capital delivery teams.
Below is a list of recent 2023 infrastructure changes that we have implemented as part of the fatal crash response protocol.
7/28/23 - Deadly crash at NE Weidler and Halsey streets
PBOT crews added object markers and chevrons on the raised median to alert drivers traveling westbound that the street curves. Work was completed in August 2023.
7/21/23 - Deadly crash at SW Barbur Boulevard and 22nd Avenue
PBOT crews put up "right turn only" signs and pavement markings on SW 22nd Avenue approaching Barbur Boulevard. That intersection doesn't have a traffic signal, the streets meet at an angle, and SW Barbur Boulevard is wide and fast in this section. Only allowing right turns prevents riskier left and through movements, and because there are few destinations on SW 22nd Avenue and signalized intersections near by, the change should have minimal impact on people driving in the area. PBOT crews also installed wayfinding signs at SW Spring Garden Street and 19th Avenue to let people know how they should access SW Barbur Boulevard. Work was completed in August 2023.
7/20/23 - Deadly crash at SE Powell Boulevard and 63rd Avenue
PBOT crews added a a "stop sign ahead" sign on SE 63rd Avenue approaching Powell Boulevard. Work was completed in August 2023.
7/15/23 - Deadly crash at SE Cesar E Chavez Boulevard and Taylor Street
PBOT crews installed a diverter at the intersection of SE Taylor Street to prevent left turns to and from SE Cesar E Chavez Boulevard. Left turns have multiple conflict points, with drivers needing to negotiate multiple lanes of oncoming traffic and cross traffic, as well as two legs of pedestrian movements. At this intersection, left turns made up a disproportionate number of crashes (25% of crashes involved a left turn, but only 1.7% of the vehicles entering the intersection were turning left). People walking and riding bikes can still cross SE Cesar E Chavez Boulevard at this location.
6/22/23 - Deadly crash at SE Stark Street and 135th Avenue
PBOT crews removed on street parking on the south east side of SE Stark Street to improve visibility. Work was completed in July 2023.
5/29/23 - Deadly crash at NE Columbia and Cully boulevards
PBOT crews installed intersection warning signs for people driving on NE Cully Boulevard to bring attention to the fact that an intersection was coming up and that cross traffic on NE Columbia Boulevard does not stop. Work was completed in August 2023.
5/9/2023 - Deadly crash at NE Broadway Boulevard and 15th Avenue
PBOT crews installed accessible pedestrian signal technology and a five second pedestrian head start for pedestrians crossing NE Broadway Boulevard to reduce the risk of turn crashes. Work was completed in September 2023.
Curve warning sign and 20 mph speed limit sign at NE Weidler and Halsey streets, near 113th Avenue.
Left turn restriction at SE Cesar E Chavez Boulevard and Taylor Street