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HomeCyclingCommissioner Hardesty asks ODOT to create 'college velocity zone' exterior Cleveland Excessive

Commissioner Hardesty asks ODOT to create ‘college velocity zone’ exterior Cleveland Excessive


College students cross SE twenty sixth Ave exterior Cleveland Excessive Faculty on October fifth. (Picture: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Following the loss of life of Sarah Pliner in a site visitors collision at SE twenty sixth Avenue and Powell Blvd on October 4th, two of the numerous feelings our neighborhood felt have been shock and shock.

How on earth may now we have a faculty the place a whole bunch of scholars cross a state freeway every single day, situated adjoining to a lethal multi-lane state freeway and it not be designated a faculty zone? When I talked to the Area 1 Oregon Division of Transportation spokesperson two days after Pliner died, one of many first issues he requested me was, “Is it a faculty zone?” The truth that they didn’t know was not a superb signal.

Seems it’s not. Meaning there aren’t any indicators telling drivers they’re about to cross an space teeming with teenagers whose brains are usually not but absolutely in a position to calculate threat. It additionally means the authorized velocity restrict is 30 mph on Powell (a state freeway) and 25 mph on twenty sixth.

On Wednesday, on the eve of SE Powell Blvd Neighborhood Security Discussion board that will likely be held at Cleveland Excessive Faculty, PBOT Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty proposed a Metropolis Council decision that will change that. Right here’s what the decision will do (taken from Hardesty assertion this morning):

  • Directs PBOT to put in a faculty zone on SE twenty sixth Avenue and requests ODOT create a faculty zone on SE Powell Blvd in each areas adjoining to Cleveland Excessive Faculty.
  • Asks ODOT to put in college zones in any respect faculties on state-owned highways in Portland.
  • Directs PBOT to pursue college zone set up at any road adjoining to a highschool the place the velocity restrict is larger than 20 mph, whether or not it’s a metropolis road or state-owned freeway.
  • Directs PBOT to suggest further security enhancements on different elements of SE twenty sixth Avenue, Interior Powell and different busy state-owned streets. The bureau would use security enhancements known as for in ODOT’s Blueprint for City Design, which the state company doesn’t apply persistently within the Portland space.
  • Directs PBOT to check the town’s freight routes and road classifications that could be main giant vehicles to make use of SE twenty sixth Avenue as an alternative of streets which might be wider and extra acceptable.
  • Directs PBOT to work with ODOT to develop a radical price estimate for the enhancements wanted to deliver Powell as much as metropolis requirements for security and upkeep, from SE ninth Avenue to I-205. With out an understanding of the true price of switch and a dedication to fund the total price, a switch is not going to make the highway safer.
  • With a practical price estimate and sufficient funding, these enhancements may result in a switch of Powell to metropolis management, utilizing the latest switch of 82nd Avenue as a mannequin.
Supply: ODOT

If a “college velocity zone” is designated, the speeds would drop to twenty mph on each streets and associated indicators could be put in. PBOT says they’d get their indicators up as rapidly as tomorrow. It’s unclear how lengthy it might take ODOT to observe swimsuit — or in the event that they’d do all of it. Notice that Hardesty is requesting that every one faculties on ODOT-owned arterials — not simply Cleveland Excessive — be designated as college zones.

In Oregon, state legislation requires that individuals obey that velocity restrict when particular college zone signal lights are flashing or on college days between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm.

That is essentially the most consequential request Hardesty is making of ODOT (however observe that that is only a “decision” which isn’t legally binding and carries a lot much less weight than an ordinance). The opposite ones on the checklist are probably issues ODOT will gladly do and/or is already engaged on. ODOT Director Kris Strickler stated final week he needs to “rapidly rework” Powell Blvd and that “no change is off the desk.”

In an announcement concerning the decision launched earlier than right this moment’s council assembly, Hardesty stated, “I wish to maintain ODOT to their phrase and am optimistic we are able to work collectively as companions to make the streets round all Portland faculties safer and begin remodeling Southeast Powell Boulevard.”

Underscoring the urgency for adjustments at SE twenty sixth and Powell, a Cleveland Excessive scholar was injured by a automobile driver on Wednesday. Based on an e mail by college principal Jo Ann Wadkins, the coed was hit whereas crossing the road on the way in which to catch a bus.

There will likely be a dialogue about Hardesty’s decision at right this moment’s council assembly. I’m listening to it now and can replace this story with new data because it comes out. I additionally anticipate to share a response from ODOT shortly. Keep tuned and refresh this web page. All updates needs to be achieved by 12:00 pm right this moment.


UPDATE, 11:20 am: The decision has handed unanimously. Be taught what occurred on the council assembly beneath…

“It’s about time that we put security of our youngsters in entrance of ODOT’s issues.”

– Dan Ryan, metropolis commissioner

Commissioner Hardesty kicked off dialogue of the decision by holding a second of silence for Sarah Pliner and “different who’ve misplaced their lives to site visitors violence.”

After Hardesty laid out the proposal, Commissioner Mingus Mapps requested just a few questions. A type of introduced up PBOT Metropolis Visitors Engineer Wendy Cawley who clarified that if the decision passes, the town plans to re-install the inexperienced bike lanes and bike packing containers on twenty sixth. This is able to be an interesting transfer since PBOT agreed to a compromise with ODOT in 2016 that led to ODOT eradicating those self same inexperienced lanes and packing containers. Cawley stated these may come within the “subsequent few months.”

Along with placing these bike services again in place, now that the decision has handed, Cawley says PBOT will transfer ahead with a brand new mid-block crossing with a concrete median on SE twenty sixth north of Powell on the fundamental entrance to Cleveland Excessive Faculty. That is probably a transfer to discourage college students from utilizing the harmful crosswalk on Powell.

In feedback earlier than the vote was taken, Mayor Ted Wheeler stated, “I used to be very shocked that we don’t have decreased speeds round all of our faculties.” “That’s in all probability going to return as a shock to loads of our state leaders as nicely,” he continued. “We must always repair that. That needs to be a part of our legislative dialogue.”

Earlier than he voted sure, Commissioner Dan Ryan stated “It’s about time that we put security of our youngsters in entrance of ODOT’s issues.” And Mingus Mapps, who has a 12-year-old son, stated making the adjustments outlined within the decision “can’t come quickly sufficient.”

Now that PBOT has marching orders from council, they nonetheless should work with ODOT for the Powell Blvd parts of the requests. It stays to be seen how versatile ODOT will likely be and whether or not or not they’ll undertake this new college zone coverage. All eyes (and ears) will likely be on ODOT Director Kris Strickler at Thursday’s neighborhood discussion board occasion.

Sensing the neighborhood’s ire towards ODOT and eagerness for adjustments, Hardesty urged of us to provide ODOT Director Kris Strickler house for a partnership to develop. “This decision will not be about throwing [ODOT Director] Kris Strickler below the bus,” Hardesty stated. “It’s about drawing a line within the sand about how we shield weak individuals within the metropolis of Portland.”



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