PBOT Vision Zero June 2024 Newsletter


In this newsletter...

  • PBOT, Division Midway Alliance, and Coalition of Communities of Color launch "Beyond Traffic Safety" report on personal safety
  • Outer Division Safety Project delivers safety improvements to SE neighborhoods
  • “Rest in red” is now live at SE Powell Boulevard and 28th Avenue
  • Northeast Cully Sunday Parkways, June 16
  • High Crash Network projects
  • "No turn on red" improves safety for all modes, especially pedestrians and people biking
  • Drive at or below 20 mph on residential streets because it's the law and it saves lives
  • Deadly crash data is updated monthly on the Vision Zero Dashboard
  • Remember to say crash, not accident!
  • Free Vision Zero pins, stickers, brochures, fliers, and yard signs
  • Personal safety resources
  • What we're reading

PBOT, Division Midway Alliance, and Coalition of Communities of Color launch "Beyond Traffic Safety" report on personal safety

Blue and purple transparent color background with text, "Beyond Traffic Safety: Building community belonging and safety in public spaces."

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is committed to creating safe streets for all Portlanders. This goes beyond traditional traffic safety investments—such as crosswalks, signals, and streetlight. Creating safe streets also means supporting personal safety.

Going beyond traditional traffic safety investments

Imagine streets where all people feel safe from traffic violence as well as threat and fear of emotional, psychological, and physical harm.

We believe that Portland will not reach our racial justice commitments, climate goals, or Vision Zero goal—to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries—without ensuring that all Portlanders feel safe using our public spaces.

Meaningful public-private partnership

PBOT's Beyond Traffic Safety: Building community belonging and safety in public spaces report documents community members’ experiences and reflections on what personal safety means to them. The report is the culmination of a two-year collaboration between Division Midway Alliance and Coalition of Communities of Color Research Justice Institute, funded in part by a grant from the National Safety Council Road to Zero Coalition.

A Personal Safety Toolkit for PBOT and partners

Included in the report is the Personal Safety Toolkit, which provides 14 ways that PBOT, government agencies, and community-based organizations can improve community members’ experience of safety and sense of belonging while traveling along Portland streets and being in public spaces. The toolkit includes infrastructure and community programming tools.

In the coming months, PBOT will put the Personal Safety Toolkit to the test in the upcoming 122nd Avenue Safe Streets for All Project, which will fund major safety improvements along 122nd Avenue from SE Foster Road to NE Sandy Boulevard.

Learn more about the Beyond Traffic Safety report

Outer Division Safety Project delivers safety improvements to SE neighborhoods

An orange BIKETOWN bike rests on a sidewalk at the improved SE Division Street and 104th Avenue crossing.

Portland Bureau of Transportation's (PBOT) Outer Division Safety Project delivers proven, nationally-recognized traffic safety tools on SE Division Street between 80th and 174th avenues in the Powellhurst-Gilbert, Montavilla, Mill Park, Hazelwood, and Centennial neighborhoods. Project elements include improved and more frequent pedestrian crossings, new street lighting, protected bike lanes, and more.

Outer Division Safety Project Evaluation Report

Every year, PBOT makes improvements on Portland streets to make them safer. Some of this work is tried and tested, and some includes newer innovations—either way, evaluating these traffic safety projects helps us better understand how well projects meet safety goals, align with policy guidelines, and impact street users.

Since crews wrapped up construction in 2022, we’ve had enough time to analyze the Outer Division Safety Project improvements. Today, the evaluation report is available.

Significant improvements for pedestrians and people on bikes 

The Outer Division Safety Project evaluation shows a significant improvement in conditions for pedestrians and people biking. Today, 90% of the corridor has a crossing nearby and 29 of 30 bus stops have a crossing within 200 feet after the project constructed 17 new crossings.

The evaluation also reports faster bus trips, more on-time buses, and a substantial decrease in top-end speeding west of SE 130th Avenue. Our analysis indicates that the project had little impact on emergency vehicle travel time.

This report will be updated once crash data is available. (As of spring 2024, crash data is not available.)

Even more improvements await!

PBOT has traffic safety improvements planned for SE Division Street:

  • Through analysis, we learned that most U-turn locations are operating well—but we identified some spots that need minor improvements. In these locations that need improvements, PBOT will clarify that U-turns are prohibited or remove some concrete to increase the space drivers have to make U-turns.
  • As part of the All Roads Transportation Safety projects, PBOT will add lighting along the corridor, as well as add medians on two stretches of SE Division Street between 152nd and 160th avenues and 166th and 174th avenues.

Read the full Outer Division Safety Project Evaluation Report

“Rest in red” is now live at SE Powell Boulevard and 28th Avenue

Night-time photo of SE Powell Boulevard and 28th Avenue with traffic signals showing red in all directions.

In May, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT)—in collaboration with Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)—implemented "rest in red" to existing infrastructure at SE Powell Boulevard and 28th Avenue, an intersection next to Cleveland High School.

"Rest in red" uses existing infrastructure to manage high speeds late at night

"Rest in red" is a traffic signal timing operation with enhanced technology that PBOT uses to manage travel speeds and make signals more responsive to people walking, biking, and rolling. PBOT is using "rest in red" to help target and interrupt dangerous driving behavior—such as excessive speeding on wide, open corridors during late night and early morning hours—which contributes to deadly crashes.

Slowing down drivers on one of Portland's deadliest streets

Now, traffic signals on SE Powell Boulevard at 28th Avenue will display red lights in all directions during late night and early morning hours (10 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weekdays or 7 a.m. on weekends) when there are no approaching motorists. Previously, this intersection would instead display green lights during late-night hours.

This change communicates to people driving on Portland's second deadliest street to slow down as they're approaching the traffic signal, which will turn green before they come to a complete stop (as long as they're driving at or below the speed limit).

PBOT will evaluate "rest in red" and its safety benefits and make adjustments if needed. After evaluating SE Powell Boulevard and 28th Avenue, PBOT will work with ODOT to install "rest in red" at other locations on SE Powell Boulevard and identify other promising locations on the High Crash Network.

Learn more about "rest in red"

Northeast Cully Sunday Parkways, June 16

Dozens of people wearing bright, colorful clothes and riding bikes on a neighborhood street on a sunny day.

Celebrate summer and open streets during Northeast Cully Portland Sunday Parkways, presented by Kaiser Permanente, on June 16 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.!

Start anywhere on the 6.2-mile route and bike, walk, or roll in any direction as you explore unique entertainment, free family-friendly activities, community booths, and vendors along Northeast Cully's network of neighborhood greenways, parks, and community resources. 

Visit the Vision Zero team on the route!

Vision Zero and Safe Routes to School will be supporting Portland Sunday Parkways at Fernhill Park. Please come visit us, grab some reflective stickers and pins, and play our board game exploring traffic safety solutions!

A young child hovering over a table that has a traffic safety game set-up on it.

Check out recent transportation safety projects

As you're riding along the route, we encourage you to check out recently completed Portland Bureau of Transportation projects that make streets safer and more welcoming to people walking, biking, and rolling: 

Ride BIKETOWN for free

Get free, unlimited 60-minute rides on BIKETOWN on the day of the event. Rides must start or end on the event route and end within the service area to be eligible. 

Learn more about Northeast Cully Sunday Parkways

High Crash Network projects

Map of Portland's high crash streets and intersections, whether they're owned by the city of state, and where they overlap with high equity areas.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation prioritizes safety investments in Portland's highest-crash streets and intersections. These 30 streets and intersections with the most serious crashes represent 8% of Portland streets yet account for 62% of traffic deaths in recent years. The High Crash Network also disproportionately intersects with low-income communities and communities of color. 

A person with a suitcase waits on a raised curb extension next to a painted green protected bike lane on SW Broadway.

Recently completed projects

SW Broadway Bike Improvements Project(hotel loading zones)

Curb extensions to create curb-height passenger loading zones

  • Location: SW Broadway Boulevard in front of The Benson Portland, Heathman Hotel, and Hotel Vance
  • Completed: May 2024

Additional recently completed projects:

Contractors working for PBOT pour a new ADA ramp corner at SE Salmon Street and Grand Avenue.

Project under construction

Central Eastside Access and Circulation Project

Traffic signals, accessible curb ramps, striping, and high-visibility pedestrian crossings and bicycle connections

  • Location: SE Sandy Boulevard and Ankeny Street, SE Salmon Street at Grand Avenue and MLK Jr. Boulevard
  • Construction: started Sept. 2023, expected to last at least 12 months

Additional projects under construction:

Learn more about the High Crash Network

"No turn on red" improves safety for all modes, especially pedestrians and people biking

A four lane, four-way signalized intersection at Cleveland High School with a "no turn on red" black on white sign.

Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) uses "no turn on red" traffic safety signage as a low-cost treatment to reduce the risk of all crash types while minimally impacting delays for drivers. Prioritizing "no turn on red" in Portland will improve safety for all modes and is particularly beneficial in reducing conflicts between people in motor vehicles encroaching in crosswalks while pedestrians are crossing.

An opportunity to improve safety at intersections

The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials Highway Safety Manual indicates "no turn on red" can reduce all crash types at an intersection by 9%. This data informs PBOT's traffic safety decisions. 

Designing and maintaining streets that protect people

The Vision Zero Action Plan Update 2023-25 includes "no turn on red" as one of the actions and performance measures to maximize traffic signal operations and design and maintain streets to protect people—even when they make mistakes. Core to this work is slowing driving speeds and protecting people outside vehicles. 

PedPDX, Portland's citywide pedestrian plan to make Portland a great walking city for everyone, also references "no turn on red" as a tool for separating pedestrians crossing intersections from people in motor vehicles encroaching in crosswalks.

Implementing "no turn on red"

PBOT will likely add more “no turn on red” locations over time as we upgrade traffic signals as part of larger capital improvement projects. PBOT will also pursue funding opportunities to proactively install both “no turn on red” and Pedestrian Head Starts (which give pedestrians the walk signal several seconds before drivers get a green light) in pedestrian districts with high pedestrian demand. Additional funding would allow PBOT to proactively install "no turn on red" signage in support of the Vision Zero Action Plan and PedPDX.

There is currently limited budget to retroactively install "no turn on red" at select signalized intersections.

Learn more about "no turn on red" traffic safety signage

Drive at or below 20 mph on residential streets because it's the law and it saves lives

A pie chart representing approximately 2,1000 miles of Portland's streets by speed limit as percentages where most (76%) have a 20-mph speed limit.

Did you know the residential speed limit in Portland is 20 mph? It's extra important that people drive slowly on residential streets as they are typically narrow and have few extra protections for people walking, biking, and rolling, e.g., marked crosswalks and bike lanes.

The majority of Portland streets have a 20-mph speed limit

In 2018, Portland Bureau of Transportation reduced speed limits on most residential streets to 20 mph as part of our Vision Zero goal to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on our streets. Today, the majority (76%) of Portland's approximately 2,1000 miles of streets have a 20-mph speed limit.

We're reducing speed limits to save lives

Why are we so concerned about reducing speed limits? Simply put, it saves lives.

As people travel faster, the risk of death or serious injury rises dramatically. Speed was reported to play a role in at least 42% of deadly crashes between 2017 and 2021, including either driving over the speed limit or driving too fast for road conditions. 

Read more about speed limits in Portland

Deadly crash data is updated monthly on the Vision Zero Dashboard

A map of safety improvements on Portland's High Crash Network. Blue indicates complete, orange indicates started.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation's Vision Zero Dashboard provides an overview of traffic safety improvements from the past five to 10 years—as well as data relating to our performance measures.

The Vision Zero team updates the Vision Zero Dashboard regularly:

  • Deadly crash data is updated monthly
  • Other data is updated quarterly or annually based on availability from our Vision Zero program partners, including the Portland Police Bureau

Learn more about how to use the dashboard before exploring the data.

Learn more about the Vision Zero Dashboard

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."

Learn more about why we say "crash" not "accident"

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

A pile of white and orange Vision Zero reflective pins and stickers, fliers, and brochures.

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

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

Learn more about how to get free Vision Zero materials

Personal safety resources

A student is smiling mid-jump while playing double-dutch jump rope as seven of their peers watch with their backpacks on.

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. 

Learn more about personal safety resources

What we're reading

  • A brief history of traffic deaths in the U.S. (Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health Magazine)
  • Here is what Vision Zero should really look like (Strong Towns)
  • A traffic engineer hits back at his profession (Bloomberg CityLab)
  • Making our roads safer together: a heartfelt call to action (Cities Today)
  • Never wait in the school car line again. Here’s how. (Washington Post)
  • The other kind of bike infrastructure cities need (Bloomberg CityLab)
  • The biggest urban cycling trends in 2024: federal programs, local advocacy, and kids! (Momentum Mag)
  • Op-Ed: this ‘Bike to Work’ day, let’s pass bold policies to support cyclists (Streetsblog)
  • REI study shows majority would opt for active transportation with dedicated bike lanes (Momentum Magazine)
  • Can vehicle speed and student safety ever be compatible? (American City & County)
  • Study: When speed limits rise on interstates, so do crash hot spots on nearby roads (Streetsblog)
  • One city's quest to rein in reckless driving (Governing)
  • The reckless policies that helped fill our streets with ridiculously large cars (Vox)
  • Meet the Montreal mayor who declared war on SUVs (Bloomberg CityLab)
  • U.S. to require automatic emergency braking on new vehicles in 5 years (NPR)
  • Biden just quietly took a key step to ‘decriminalize’ traffic safety policy (The Hill)