Are We the Safest Traffic (major) City in U.S.?

At least one source quoted by the Mercury says so.

8 responses to “Are We the Safest Traffic (major) City in U.S.?”

  1. Absolutely not! I have never felt more unsafe driving than I do in Portland. I’ve lived in a handful of major cities, including Los Angeles, and Portland drivers are, without a doubt, the worst. I love this city, and I’m not one to say bad things about it, but I think everyone needs to pay a LOT more attention when they drive here.

  2. Ashley:

    “Feeling” unsafe does not make you so.

    In fact – studies have shown the opposite. When drivers perceive risk, they tend to drive safer. When drivers get too comfortable, they tend to be less safe.

    One of the best ways to increase safety and calm traffic is to have narrow streets which share right of way with many modes (busses, bicycles, pedestrians, streetcars). That mix forces people to pay more attention and take things a little slower.

    I have a friend who visited Portland and she felt the streets were crazy and it scared the bejeezus out of her. But Portland has significantly fewer accidents and fatalities than her home city which has lots of large wide high speed streets everywhere, and no bicycles or pedestrians and very little transit…

  3. Having driven and been a passenger around most areas of the US (other than the Northern Midwest), Portland is by far the safest and most courteous city I’ve driven or walked in. People will actually stop in a crosswalk, and while we have some psychos on our roads it’s a lot better than anywhere else on the west coast that I’ve been to. (And that would include I-5 from the Canadian to the Mexican border.)

  4. …I walked right into that one.

    Anyway, it’s mostly my neighborhood that has traffic issues. Lents, right by the freeway, is one of those neighborhoods where you seem to hear a crash at least once a day from your living room.

  5. There’s a difference between narrowing streets to absolute minimums and having overly-wide streets. My stance is somewhere in the middle. Same with super-wide bulb-outs. Bulb-outs are good for some streets, but many are just too far out into the street that it hurts turning radius’ of even small cars — which is actually a hazard to pedestrians rather a safety design measure imo.

    Additionally, the world won’t come to an end if a major arterial has 13 foot wide lanes compared to 10 or 11 feet wide lanes. That extra foot makes it just a bit easier on larger trucks, which I think is more than okay. You don’t know how difficult it is until you actually have to drive a big truck and the shortcomings of some architect/planner/progressive engineer’s vision of what a street should look like rather than what is practical.

    The best way to make sure vehicles are going a road’s given speed imo is enclsoure through street trees and building frontages, not so much hair-raising skinny lanes for car drivers. Obsessing over staying in your “skinny” lane takes away from actually checking vital mirrors for people getting out of their cars, bikes, pedestrians, etc., etc.

    Unfortunately, in the US it seems, we expect our roads be designed for our vehicles versus the more logical solution of having our vehicles designed for our roads. That’s probably the most salient point of all.

    I also find the one-lane streets in Portland’s older neighborhoods to be taking the “skinny streets” approach to an extreme. I wouldn’t advocate building those unless absolutely necessary.

    John Reinhold:

    I don’t think there’s anything proven that more modes/things on streets equates to safer driving habits. If so, I’d like to see the data. I would doubt that light rail mixed with auto traffic on Portland’s local streets has done very little to reduce accidents.

    I would argue it has only increased accidents to a reasonable degree.

  6. Additionally, the world won’t come to an end if a major arterial has 13 foot wide lanes compared to 10 or 11 feet wide lanes.

    Well, I might debate that, but here in Portland since we’re not really building new arterial streets, wider lanes mean taking away from something else: sidewalks, bike lanes or travel lanes.

    I might trade you one less travel lane for widening the remaining ones and adding a bike lane :-)

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