PBOT using marijuana tax money for Vision Zero project
A slice of the proceeds for Portland's pot tax are popping up as Vision Zero traffic safety improvements.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation will install hardened centerlines at 29 intersections during the new pilot program, which has been budgeted at $100,000 from the city's 3% cannabis sales tax fund.
PBOT says the rows of flexible posts fencing in left turn lanes will prevent rushed motorists from "cutting" the corner — ensuring slower speeds and more time to see pedestrians in crosswalks.
"It's one of the trickiest driving maneuvers out there," said Hannah Schafer, a bureau spokeswoman. "These small infrastructure improvements make it harder for someone to make a lackadaisical left turn."
So far, the bureau has installed six of the left-turn calming devices, with construction work expected to continue through the summer. Costs range from about $2,000 to $3,000 per intersection, so labor and materials will total about $63,000. The spare money will be used to add the controls at another 11 intersections in the future.
Schafer says PBOT was inspired to begin the project after taking advice from other communities that joined the network of Vision Zero cities, such as New York, that are working to eliminate all traffic and pedestrian deaths.
"We're able to learn things from other cities that are innovating and trying to make things safer in the right of way," Schafer said.
The roadways targeted for improvements include East and West Burnside Street, Southeast Stark, Southeast Foster, Southeast Division, Southeast 122nd Avenue, Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Southwest Capitol Highway.
Some intersections will add rubber speed bumps with wedges rather than posts. PBOT will determine whether the pilot succeeded in 2020.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation is seeking input from East Portlanders regarding their "transportation experiences and investment preferences" along major streets in that oft-neglected portion of the city.
The East Portland Arterial Streets Strategy involves eleven roadways — nine of which are considered high-crash corridors — with four or more traffic lanes that are located east of 82nd Avenue. The goal of the EPASS plan is to reduce risk for all road users.
"In addition to changes to driving, the team will also look at how changes to the street could make walking, using transit, or riding a bicycle safer and more convenient for those traveling in East Portland," the bureau reports.
The survey, which is available online here, closes to respondents on July 15.
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