ODOT to seek $10 million investment in new pedestrian safety initiatives

May 10, 2021
These safety funds will allow ODOT to move promptly on improvements at several priority locations around the state where additional investments will make the most difference.

On May 13, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) will request a one-time $10-million investment be authorized by the Oregon Transportation Commission for pedestrian safety improvements around the state.

If the funds are approved, more than $3 million will go towards improvements on 82nd Avenue, along with other initiatives to improve pedestrian safety. The projects are anticipated to be completed by the fall of 2021.

ODOT invests tens of millions of dollars annually in safety improvements around the state, but it can take years for some of these projects to be completed.

These safety funds will allow ODOT to move promptly on improvements at several priority locations around the state where additional investments will make the most difference.

“The need for these additional pedestrian improvements is clear,” said Rian Windsheimer, Portland area regional manager for ODOT. “This immediate infusion of funds allows us to move quickly to make important pedestrian safety fixes quickly in areas that need the greatest attention.”

Of this $10 million, ODOT plans to set aside $3.35 million to address immediate needs on 82nd Avenue in Portland and dedicate the remainder to improve pedestrian safety along state highways in other areas. The statewide locations will be announced later.

The money set aside for 82nd Avenue will pay for the following improvements:

Reducing the speed limit permanently from 35 to 30 mph through the corridor, between Northeast Killingsworth and Southeast Clatsop streets. Portland Police will enforce the new speed limit as soon as the signs are fabricated and installed.

Installation of new rectangular rapid flashing beacons – pedestrian activated signals – at Northeast Pacific Street and Southeast Mitchell Street this summer. These beacons have increased safety for people walking and riding bicycles.

Adding digital speed feedback signs that increase driver awareness at 10 strategic locations through the corridor.

Improving three pedestrian crossings without signals by adding enhanced lighting, new signs and additional striping. These are planned for Northeast Wygant Street and Southeast Cooper and Hawthorne streets.

Installing new enhanced pedestrian crossings at Northeast Webster and Alberta Streets and Southeast Mitchell Street. These new crossings will include new lighting, signs and striping.

With the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), ODOT has invested more than $27 million to improve 82nd Ave. in the last decade and have had already committed another $26 million in improvements in the next five years. The additional $3 million will bring the total to more than $59 million.

ODOT says it is working with its partners at TriMet to improve access to transit stops throughout the corridor. TriMet has agreed to work with ODOT on adjustments to bus stop locations to better align stops with new and enhanced pedestrian crossings.

ODOT is also discussing with Portland the jurisdictional transfer of 82nd Avenue from ODOT to the city. No schedule has been set for determining the steps needed for the transfer or a timeline for completing the discussions.

ODOT says it will also work with PBOT to identify additional safety improvements and opportunities to speed project delivery, including potentially assisting with construction and making city right of way available for ODOT’s use to install features more quickly than tis standard procedures allow.

Looking beyond this initiative, ODOT says it will hire an independent reviewer to assess all ODOT pedestrian safety investment programs with an eye toward delivering improvements more quickly on those roads with safety issue trends.