Last week, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) removed the No Parking zone on SE Stark Street across from SE 79th Ave. Crews installed the new signs several days before as part of the City’s effort to improve visibility at intersections. The decision to revert to one-hour parking in this area came about due to staff reevaluating the City’s criteria for visibility at “T” intersections.
Last week’s parking changes were unexpected for several business owners in the area, and the reversal seemed just as sudden. Jacob Wollner of Flipside Hats owns the building directly behind the now removed No Parking zone. He was excited to see pedestrian safety improvements on SE Stark Street but was not convinced that it was effective as implemented. “The signage placement [was] a little strange, centered not directly across on the 79th street right of way but to the west several feet.” Wollner went on to explain that visibility is not the only issue to solve on Stark “I’d say the bigger issue is the speed at which people are driving. So let’s focus on slowing down.”
Wollner and other people concerned with the No Parking zone’s placement did not have long to wait. PBOT staff quickly reconsidered this and other similar updates, adjusting their guidelines to provide a balanced approach to pedestrian safety. “As we implement our new vision clearance guidance, we have had to make a determination regarding how to treat T intersections. SE 79th/Stark is one such T intersection. While we initially started our effort by clearing the ‘back side’ of all T intersections, we have since fine-tuned our approach, and we now only clear the backsides of T intersections when there are curb ramps serving the crossing at the T intersection,” explained PBOT Communications Coordinator, Hannah Schafer.
For now, the one-hour parking will remain on the south side of Stark Street at 79th. However, Schafer said that that could change when PBOT reworks the Stark Street Crossing in this area.” Currently, there are no curb ramps serving the crossing across Stark at 79th, so per our revised approach, we are no longer clearing parking at the backside of that T until such time as curb ramps are provided in the future.” PBOT has not revealed any plans to install curb ramps here, and any updates are likely years away. For most drivers, this quick change went unnoticed, but it does indicate PBOT’s commitment to pedestrian safety while adapting to community feedback.