PBOT Vision Zero February 2024 Newsletter


In this newsletter...

  • Thank you for being sweet on the street!
  • Latest design for 82nd Avenue incorporates public feedback, improves safety, and supports business access and neighborhood livability
  • PBOT explores "rest on red" pilot on SE Powell Boulevard to reduce speed-related crashes
  • Both pedestrians and drivers drastically overestimate pedestrians' nighttime visibility
  • Portland By Cycle Basic Bike Maintenance workshop in St. Johns on Feb. 28
  • Remember to say crash, not accident!
  • Free Vision Zero pins, stickers, brochures, fliers, and yard signs
  • Personal safety resources
  • What we're reading

Thank you for being sweet on the street!

A colorful illustration of an adult and child sloth riding a bike on a neighborhood street and text, "Thank you for being sweet on the street!"

On Wednesday, Feb. 14, we’re inviting communities across Portland to share the love and thank one another for being sweet on the street! We’re encouraging communities to print our custom-made, mini–Valentine’s Day-inspired cards on regular or color paper and share with your friends, family, and neighbors. It’s just another way we can offer gratitude for and encourage safe travel decisions.

Print your PBOT "Thank you for being sweet on the street!" card here!

Why? Because we know making safer travel decisions aren’t always easy, but they are always sweet. ❤ 

You’re making our community a sweeter place every time you:

  • Drive at or below the speed limit
  • Walk, bike, roll, or take transit to get where you need to go
  • Watch for pedestrians crossing the street
  • Drive alert and are courteous of others
  • Never pass school buses or vehicles stopped at crosswalks

Learn more about how to be sweet on the street online. 

Latest design for 82nd Avenue incorporates public feedback, improves safety, and supports business access and neighborhood livability

Pedestrians cross a four-lane street with landscaped, tree-lined median islands in the center lane. Drivers wait at a red light while pedestrians cross.

Last month Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) released plans for sidewalks, pedestrian safety improvements, and new, smooth pavement on a 2.5-mile stretch of 82nd Avenue—one of the most dangerous streets in the city—from NE Fremont to Schuyler street and Mill Street to Foster Road.

Construction on the 82nd Avenue Major Maintenance project will start this summer. This is part of PBOT's multi-year Building a Better 82nd program to identify and prioritize future investments to address urgently needed safety and maintenance improvements. Today, the 60% design drawings and plans are available for public review—representing a major milestone in the project's development—the result of nine months of public engagement, safety and traffic analysis, and design progress. 

Safety improvements are focused on some major community destinations in the corridor, including McDaniel High School, the Jade District and Eastport Plaza Shopping Center. It will also improve access to TriMet's Line 72, the most popular bus route in Oregon.

Learn more and provide your feedback by:

To sign up for construction updates by email or to contact project staff, visit the 82nd Avenue Critical Fixes website.

PBOT explores "rest on red" pilot on SE Powell Boulevard to reduce speed-related crashes

An adult pedestrian uses a crosswalk to walk across a wide street as vehicles wait.

Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is exploring an initiative to install, test, and evaluate technology that will allow some traffic signals on SE Powell Boulevard to "rest on red."

This means that at night some intersections along SE Powell Boulevard—one of Portland's highest crash streets with a history of speed-related crashes—will display red lights in all directions to require drivers to slow down as they approach the intersection. Technology at intersections will detect vehicles and give a green light.

Since 2017, PBOT, Oregon Department of Transportation, Multnomah County have invested $193 million in safety projects on Portland's highest crash streets and intersections. Traffic safety investments vary in scope but often aim to slow driving speeds and make travel safer for people walking, biking, and rolling. They also aim to make transit faster and more efficient. Furthermore, 66% of these traffic safety investments on our highest crash streets and intersections were in neighborhoods with more people of color and people living on low incomes, as measured using PBOT’s Equity Matrix.

The Vision Zero Action Plan Update 2023-25 included this "rest on red" project as one of the actions and performance measures to maximize signal operations to design and maintain streets to protect people—even when they make mistakes. Core to this work is slowing down people driving and protecting pedestrians and others outside vehicles. 

Both pedestrians and drivers drastically overestimate pedestrians' nighttime visibility

An adult bicyclist stands on a sidewalk in front of a bike with a reflective vest and high-visibility ankle straps.

Like most things in life, it's best to know our perceptions might not reflect reality. And according to a National Safety Council article from 2012, we should apply this same mindset to how we approach nighttime pedestrian traffic safety.

Seeing people at night is harder than we think

Research indicates that "both pedestrians and drivers drastically overestimate pedestrians' nighttime visibility" and underestimate the safety value of "proven conspicuity aids," e.g., things that help you shine bright in dark and low-light conditions, including lights, high-visibility and reflective clothing and accessories, etc. 

Reflective clothing > dark clothing

Consider thispedestrians who wear reflective clothing are visible to people driving from 500 feet away (more than two downtown Portland blocks!) compared to just 55 feet (about the length of a bowling lane) when wearing dark colors. 

So, the next time you are getting ready to go for an errand at night, be mindful of other road users and know that our assumptions about visibility are likely inaccurate. We encourage you to drive at or below the speed limit, start alert, and consider bringing a headlamp, reflective coat, or another high-visibility accessory if you're outside a motor vehicle. 

It’s up to all of us to make our streets safe!

Portland By Cycle Basic Bike Maintenance workshop in St. Johns on Feb. 28

closeup photo of a bicycle wheel showing the hub and spokes, with several bike tools in the background

Portland By Cycle's first workshop of 2024 is here! Join others interested in learning more about basic bike maintenance at St Johns Community Center (8427 N Central St.) on Wednesday, Feb. 28 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Portland Bureau of Transportation staff will talk about how to maintain a few key things on your bicycle to keep it running smoothly all year long—including learning how to fix a flat!

Bring your bike along with you for some hands-on practice. This workshop is free, open to everyone, and doesn’t require any prior bike maintenance experience. 

Visit Portland By Cycle's webpage to learn more and subscribe to their newsletter to get information about upcoming rides, classes, and events.

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.

  • Order and receive in the mail pins, stickers, brochures, and fliers. These materials are available in English, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Vietnamese, Somali, and Lao. 

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

Personal safety resources

Students are smiling, clapping, watching, and playing double dutch jump rope at school.

We want to help create a transportation system that allows all people to feel safe getting where they need to go. Check out our webpage full of resources that address personal safety on our streets, including information about how to:

And remember, you can always start with PDX 311 for help with any local government questions or service needs. Staff are fluent in English, Spanish, Romanian, and Tagalog and have resources to assist community members in additional languages. 

What we're reading

  • How Parkrose teens helped win $25,000 to fix a street (Axios)
  • What Vision Zero has and hasn't accomplished (NPR)
  • Want safer streets? Paint them. (Washington Post)
  • To build a healthier city, begin at the sidewalk (Bloomberg CityLab)
  • Want to live in a walkable, bikeable city? Follow these tips. (Yale Climate Connections)
  • The vicious cycle at the heart of pedestrian safety (Planetizen)
  • The other reason American pedestrian deaths are rising after dark (Streetsblog)
  • It may be really polite, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe (Bainbridge Island Review)
  • Driven to distraction: New rules recommend states steer clear of highway sign humor (NPR)
  • Busting a common myth about speeding (Planetizen)
  • How cars turned into giant killers (Slate)
  • Phones track everything but their role in car wrecks (New York Times)
  • Are we living in 'Black Mirror?' Apple Vision Pros may make it feel that way (NPR)
  • In a win for the climate, urban speed limits are dropping (Yale Climate Connections)