Portland restricts vehicles on neighborhood streets to fight COVID-19
The Portland Bureau of Transportation is scheduled to restrict motor vehicle traffic on 100 miles of residential streets by the end of Friday, May 8.
The first barrels and signs were installed at the intersection of Northwest 22nd Avenue and Flanders Street on Thursday morning. Restricting vehicle traffic to local access only is intended to create more space for pedestrians and bicyclists on the streets for social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis.
PBOT spokesman John Brady said the first phase of the Slow Streets/Safe Streets program would cost $100,000 in existing bureau funds and last "for the foreseeable future." Future phases will create new sidewalks and loading zones in business districts," Brady said.
The project was first announced by Transportation Commissioner Chloe Eudaly in late April.
Eudaly's office announced the program last week.
"Commissioner Eudaly and PBOT have been discussing the issue of safe social distancing on streets for over a month at this point — this particular effort has been in the works for the last several weeks," said Eudaly aide Margaux Weeke.
The 100 miles are part of a network of neighborhood greenway streets with lower motor vehicle traffic that previously had been identified by the Portland Bureau of Transportation. The designation is intended to encourage bicyclists to use them instead of busier streets. The barrels and signs are scheduled to be installed where greenways intersect with busier streets.
The bureau also has released an interactive map of the locations in various parts of town.
"The first step of this initiative focuses on neighborhood greenways — PBOT is installing temporary barricades to either close certain streets to all but local traffic or to slow traffic where a full closure is not feasible. The bureau will also install signage to alert drivers to the presence and priority of people walking and biking on the greenways," the bureau said in an online announcement Friday, May 1.
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