PBOT reduces speed limit, makes other safety improvements on Southeast Hawthorne
The Portland Bureau of Transportation has reduced the speed limit on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard between 30th to 50th avenues from 25 to 20 miles per hour. It has also added a new crosswalk at 43rd Avenue as part of a series of safety improvements in response to a fatal crash that killed 15-year old Fallon Smart, who was legally crossing the street there in August 2016.
In addition to the speed change and new crosswalk, PBOT crews have constructed new federal Americans with Disabilities Act compliant curb ramps and a median refuge island at 43rd. They have also moved parking away from corners at key intersections along Hawthorne to increase visibility and provide bike access to pedestrian signal buttons. And striping crews restriped street markings throughout the corridor early Friday morning.
"This is another important step towards making Portland safe for all," said Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees PBOT. "I appreciate the Hawthorne business community's support for this project and look forward to working with other business districts to create safer conditions for people walking, biking, rolling and driving."
According to PBOT Director Leah Treat, "Hawthorne is one of the more deadly streets in the City. This was underscored by the tragic loss of a young and shining star in our community last year."
The improvements are consistent with the Vision Zero Action Plan adopted by the City Council last year. It is intended to eliminate all fatal and serious injury crashes on Portland streets by 2025.
"PBOT is committed to Vision Zero and continues to deploy known methods to create safer streets across the city. This includes lowering speeds, building pedestrian refuge islands, and partnering with the police for enforcement of the most dangerous driving behaviors," says Treat.
PBOT reports that more than half of deadly crashes occur on just 8 percent of Portland's streets. The Vision Zero Action Plan identifies 30 streets and 30 intersections across the city that make up the High Crash Network. Southeast Hawthorne is one of those streets. From 2005 to 2014, one person died and nine people were seriously injured while traveling on the one-mile stretch of Hawthorne between 30th and 50th avenues. Altogether, there were 420 crashes involving 881 people on that one-mile segment.
Although speed limits are set by the state, Oregon law gives PBOT has the authority to request limits of 20 mph in business districts and 25 mph in residential areas. PBOT's request to reduce the limit on Hawthorne was granted by the Oregon Department of Transportation in mid-March.