Update: Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) removed the No Parking zone on SE Stark Street across from SE 79th Ave. READ MORE
Sunday morning, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) staff converted several one-hour and two-hour street parking spaces into No Parking zones. Crews installed new signs on poles along the south side of Stark Street in two sections. The new car-free curb areas align with 78th Ave and 79th Ave. These changes are part of the City’s effort to improve visibility at intersections.
SE 78th and 79th Avenues do not continue straight across Stark Street. Southbound 79th ends at this intersection and does not return to the city street grid until after SE Division Street. SE 78th Ave continues south beyond Stark Street but shifts 70 feet east. Both T-intersections had previously allowed parking across from the ending street, creating a problematic crossing point for pedestrians. With the south side of the road full of parked vehicles, people crossing southbound at those intersections would have difficulty finding a path to the sidewalk between parked cars. A greater danger occurred when northbound pedestrians would enter traffic lanes from behind parked vehicles a the intersection, surprising motorists driving on Stark.
The expanded curbside visibility will make 78th and 79th more appealing for pedestrians to cross. However, the City does not intend to increase crossing infrastructure at these locations. “There are no plans to install marked crosswalks at this time, but Oregon law states that every intersection is a crosswalk,” said Hannah Schafer, a Communications Coordinator with PBOT.
Although these changes are positive safety improvements, several businesses now have reduced access to curbside parking near their business. Parking along SE Stark Street can become limited at times, particularly with many spaces used for outdoor dining. Some business owners and customers are likely to be disappointed with these changes. However, according to Schafer, removing parking to improve visibility is a national best practice and needed on a busy commercial street like Stark. “Neighborhood business districts are some of the busiest places for pedestrian activity. People love to walk from shop to shop… We want them to feel safe as they walk or use a mobility device.”
The No Parking zones are already in effect. Expect to see more people crossing Stark at 78th and 79th Avenues as they discover the safety created by removing parked cars from the intersection’s edges.