Earlier this year, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) approved $3.35 million worth of safety projects along 82nd Ave. While ODOT crews worked on some of those improvements near SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland’s Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) staff were busy installing new stop signs six blocks away. Both projects are a response to years of automobile collisions and unsafe pedestrian crossings in the area.
Work is complete at the pedestrian island on SE 82nd Ave at SE Hawthorne Blvd. Previously, the half-island created a raised curb in the center lane blocking southbound traffic from colliding with a crossing person paused in the middle lane. ODOT crews have now added a similarly raised concrete pad to protect the pedestrian from northbound vehicles. The expanded center island also blocks left turns by drivers traveling east on SE Hawthorne Blvd. Before traffic engineers updated this intersection, a left-turning car could strike someone on the center island or crossing the northbound lanes of 82nd Ave. A new Right Turn Only sign is posted on the intersection’s southwest corner, alerting drivers to the recently installed obstruction.
ODOT crews closed several nearby crosswalks to divert pedestrians crossing 82nd Ave towards the new safer crossing point. A few feet away from the enhanced crosswalk, staff installed an electronic speed sign. ODOT is installing these yellow “your Speed” displays at several spots along 82nd Ave. They are SpeedCheck® brand signs made by Carmanah Technologies. Using radar, they indicate the current speed of the closest vehicle and present a “Slow Down” message for people traveling over the posted speed limit.
Nearby ODOT’s project, PBOT addressed two neighborhood streets that have needed updates for years. Crews installed four new stop signs at the intersections of SE Salmon and SE Taylor Streets along 78th Ave. Previously both intersections were uncontrolled and had no stop signs in any direction. Now divers must stop when heading north-south on SE 78th Ave at SE Salmon Street. Additionally, cars driving east-west on SE Taylor Street will now need to stop at SE 78th Ave.
One resident explained that they have tried for over 20 years to have these stops signs installed by PBOT. During just the last twelve months, he counted seven accidents occurring in front of his home. One incident destroyed his 100-year-old Walnut Tree. He and his neighbors continuously pushed the issue with Portland City officials. For three months, the group called the City to report their concern. They had almost lost hope. However, their persistence paid off, and they now have the stop signs they have wanted for years.
Collisions and traffic fatalities have significantly increased over the last two years, but Portland has many areas that have seen decades of hazardous conditions. Although slower than many residents would like, transportation officials are now working to address those high-risk areas and make a safer neighborhood for everyone.