PBOT Vision Zero May 2023 Newsletter


In this newsletter...

Travel safe this Memorial Day weekend

A GIF with birds flying across a blue backdrop with the text, "Slow the Flock Down. Save a Life."

As the Memorial Day weekend approaches, remember to prioritize safety and minimize risk-taking behavior to prevent traffic deaths.

A variety of factors contribute to deadly collisions on Portland streets:

  • Speed: If you’re going over 30 mph in Portland — and not on an interstate highway — you’re probably going too fast. Safe speeds lower the risk of crashes. And when crashes do occur, safe speeds make it less likely that people are killed or seriously injured.
  • Driving under the influence: Nearly half of Portland traffic deaths involve impairment. Riding transit or taking advantage of the Safe Ride Home initiative (which offers reduced-cost rides on targeted holidays and events) are great ways to reduce impaired driving.
  • Distracted driving: Keep your focus on the road. Distracted driving is serious and can be costly. A quick glance at a cell phone can cause a driver to miss a person approaching a crosswalk.  
  • Seatbelt use: Always wear a seatbelt. It’s still one of the best ways you can protect yourself when inside a vehicle. 

Each of these risk factors are easily eliminated by being aware and making the conscious decision to travel safe. Make plans for how you are going to get home this holiday weekend, especially if you think you may be drinking alcohol.

SW Capitol Highway transforms High Crash Corridor to people-friendly street

A ground view rendering of SW Capitol Highway improvements showing the new sidewalk, bike lane, multiuse path, and crosswalks.

After 30 years of advocacy, the $27.5 million SW Capitol Highway - Multnomah Village to West Portland complete street retrofit project is nearly finished. This longtime community-priority project will transform one of Portland's High Crash Corridors to a people-friendly street. It will connect safe and desirable walking, biking, and rolling routes from Multnomah Boulevard to Taylors Ferry Road. In doing so, this SW Capitol Highway project will fill an active transportation gap. Now — for the first time — people will be able to travel safely without a car between Portland Community College Sylvania and downtown Portland.

Portland Bureau of Transportation teamed up with the Bureau of Environmental Services and Water Bureau to deliver this transformational project. In addition to stormwater management facilities and larger, more seismically resilient water pipes, project elements include:

  • a six-foot-wide continuous sidewalk on the east side of the street
  • a six-foot-wide sidewalk-level protected bike lane on the east side of the street
  • a nine-foot-wide multiuse path on the west side of the street
  • a reduced 25 mph speed limit and curbs to calm traffic and make the street safer for everyone
  • new striping and crosswalks
  • improved bus stops with ADA wheelchair ramps

The shining star of this SW Capitol Highway project is the sidewalk-level protected bike lane. This world-class facility is the preferred type of protected bike lane design in Portland. And project staff estimate that the stretch of sidewalk-level protected bike lane on SW Capitol Highway may be the longest in the city. The new bike lane will be an enhanced experience for bicyclists who will ride completely off and above the main roadway. 

A panoramic photo of current view of SW Capitol Highway project showing the completed sidewalk on the left, the travel lanes in the center, and the bike lane and multiuse path on the right.

Before construction started in 2021, people walking, biking, and rolling lacked safe access along this segment of SW Capitol Highway. Without sidewalks, pedestrians resorted to using gravel shoulders that were often disrupted with mud puddles and overgrown vegetation. In 1993, the conditions on SW Capitol Highway were poor enough that Southwest Neighborhood Information (now Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc.) wrote to then City of Portland Commissioner Earl Blumenauer requesting improvements. Now, 30 years later, PBOT is finally delivering on their requests. 

Excerpt from a letter that reads "The local residents and business owners are very motivated and eager to transform this area from an auto-dominated environment to a pedestrian, bicycle and transit-friendly environment."

Upon completion, this SW Capitol Highway project will be one of the largest PBOT projects in recent memory. It is funded by Fixing Our Streets, the voter-approved ten-cent gas tax making streets safer for all, Transportation System Development Charges, contributions from Environmental Services and Water, and state bonds. 

To learn more on this SW Capitol Highway project, visit the project webpage

Visit us at NE Cully Sunday Parkways on June 25 to pick-up FREE yard signs and reflective stickers

Adult bicyclist wearing a helmet and posing with a "slow down save lives" yard sign in a crowded park.

Celebrate with us on June 25 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Northeast Cully Portland Sunday Parkways! Portland Bureau of Transportation's Vision Zero and Safe Routes to School teams will be handing out yard signs and reflective stickers. Swing by to pick-up some free materials and chat safety with us!

Stay in the loop by texting "Cully" to 888-520-0526 to receive event updates and exciting information about entertainment and activities throughout the day.

Burgard Bridge replacement will connect people to nature and goods

A zoomed in satellite view of the project area between N Burgard Road, Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area, N Columbia Boulevard, Pier Park, and N Lombard Street in North Portland.

The federal government awarded Portland Bureau of Transportation $13.8 million of funding to replace the aging and obsolete Burgard Bridge in North Portland. Burgard Bridge is located on N Lombard Street, which is one of Portland's High Crash Network streets.

In addition to improving the movement of goods and seismic resiliency on a major freight route, the project will also enhance safety on this critical multimodal route that connects people to jobs in the Rivergate Industrial District and recreation areas like Kelley Point Park and Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area. The safety improvements on Burgard Bridge include: 

  • sidewalks on both sides
  • sidewalk-level protected two-way bike lane
  • travel lanes for trucks and motor vehicles that meet modern standards
  • replaced and upgraded traffic signals

PBOT will also incorporate innovative safety measures during the construction phase that will ensure that freight traffic avoids detours through the St. Johns neighborhood streets to the south. 

Featured safety tip: Report hate or bias incidents

Portland United Against Hate text to the right of an illustrated red heart above gray, blue, and teal leaves.

If you have been the target or witness of a hate or bias incident on Portland streets, report it through Portland United Against Hate. 

Portland United Against Hate founded in 2016 as a response to the rise of hateful and bias acts occurring both locally and nationally. This organization defines an incident of hate as something that "occurs when a behavior based in bias (e.g., another person's race, color, disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.) creates a hostile environment or belittles, restricts, harms or alienates targeted persons."

Reporting hateful acts in Portland United Against Hate's tracking tool builds a dataset of the types and locations of incidents, which can support development of strategies to counter or mitigate hate and bias in our communities. 

You may also report bias incidents to the Oregon Department of Justice Non-Emergency Bias Response Hotline by calling 1-844-924-BIAS (2327). 

To better understand how Black people and other people of color walking, biking, or rolling can face obstacles and risks that reflect structural racism in the policy, planning, and design of our streets, we recommend both the Arrested Mobility report and podcast episodes

We'll be sharing safety tips in each newsletter. If you have a safety tip you'd like us to feature, please email it to us

Remember to say crash — not accident!

“CRASH” in a stylized handwritten, yellow marker font type above “ACCIDENT” in a light, strikethrough yellow font type.

We’re inviting our community to change the way we talk about crashes. We want to shift the broad cultural perception that crashes are inevitable and remind each other that they are predictable and preventable. A Vision Zero approach refuses to accept traffic violence as a byproduct of “just the way things are.” So, will you join us?

Read the full blog post to learn more about why we use the word "crash" rather than "accident."

Free Vision Zero pins, stickers, brochures, fliers, and yard signs

A pile of white and orange Vision Zero pins.

Help educate family, friends, neighbors, your school, or your organization about Vision Zero, Portland's commitment to eliminate serious and fatal traffic injuries in Portland.

These materials are available in English, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Vietnamese, Somali, and Lao. 

  • Pick-up yard signs from the Portland Building front desk (1120 SW 5th Ave) during regular business hours (Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

If you're interested in making a bulk request, please email us.

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