Progress from Tragedy?

Almost a year ago I had the sad occassion to write about a pedestrian fatality just around the corner from my home.

It’s possible that some good may come out of this. The neighborhood association has been aggressively working with PDOT to improve safety on NW 21st and 23rd. PDOT has already re-signed the streets for 20 mph, and the neighborhood newspaper, the Examiner, is reporting on a (PDF, 353K) series of safety improvements that will be tried in NW as a pilot for possible use throughout the City.

Tools include:

  • Curb Extensions
  • Ladder-style Crosswalks
  • Selected parking space removal to improve visibility
  • Speed Reader Boards
  • Centerline Caution Signs

8 responses to “Progress from Tragedy?”

  1. btw, when are those curb extensions on 21st EVER going to be done? …or started on for that matter? I see the markings on the road on my Coffee Time walks but I see nothing getting done.

  2. Has there ever been serious talk of making these streets pedestrian only? Might that be possible when the proposed parking garages exist? The ambiance of the outdoor restaurant seating there tends to be disturbed a bit when some jerk revs his motorcycle on the street in front of you. Plus, there’s the obvious danger in crossing the streets. Wouldn’t making these streets ped only essentially create the old-world city center feeling that bridgeport village is striving for in the ‘burbs? Wouldn’t that do wonders for the businesses there? And I would think 18th and 19th have the capacity to handle the necessary through traffic.

  3. Curb extensions are not a safety solution. They are an unnecessary expense looking for a problem, add to traffic congestion and when coupled with a bus stop create negative consequences for the environment, place people dangerously closer to moving traffic, have been known to be a partial cause for and bring about crashes, and often cause trucks to drive on the sidewalks.

  4. Curb extensions are not a safety solution.

    Yes they are. They make a shorter trip across the street for people. They allow pedestrians to see traffic and get pedestrians out where they can be seen. They prevent people from cutting the corner where pedestrians are standing.

    I don’t know how anyone who is actually a pedestrian would find an extension made it less safe for them. There is nothing that requires anyone to stand closer to moving traffic much less “dangerously closer”.

  5. Curb extensions are very popular among my neighbors in NW, including those of us who have to drive past them occasionally.

    Using them in conjunction with a bus stop ADDS BACK SOME OF THE PARKING the bus stop was using. Popular with the merchants!

  6. Here is a link to a study done on curb extensions in downtown Albany, OR. The study found that curb extensions significantly reduce the number of cars that pass before pedestrians are able to cross.

    Note that the crossings occurred at the same intersection, only one side of which had a curb extension. Consequently, both the curb extension crossing and non-curb extension crossing was striped with the same high-visibility crosswalk.

  7. Curb extensions expand sidewalk space, shorten crossing distances, preserve parking, slow traffic and when combined with transit stops, give transit riders priority over drivers…as it should be on transit streets. What’s not to like about them?
    The only folks who have a beef with this latter setup are bicyclists, where curb extensions cause buses to stop in the bikelane to load/unload. Then its hit the brakes or swing out into the partially blocked lane and pass the bus. NE Broadway is good example.

  8. I am uneasy about the plan that stakeholds and PDOT have come up with for Williams/Vancouver in the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area.
    The ICURA Transportation Committee authorized money for a pedestrian safety project, and this is what is being proposed at tonight’s CAC meeting:

    No reduction in speeds…posted 30 MPH, measured at 35
    Two striped (latter) crosswalks without curb extensions…taking out some parking.
    Widening the crossing distance at Williams and Fremont by addding a full bike lane to the existing right turn lane…peds will have to cross 3.5 lanes and 7 parking spaces will be removed…right next to the first development project in the corridor in generations.
    It looks to me that this has evolved into a “keep traffic moving” project rather than a pedestrian safety project.

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