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Portland Bureau of Transportation begins safety project on 102nd Avenue between Sandy and Weidler.

COURTESY PBOT - The expected cost of the Northeast 102nd Avenue Safety Project is $697,000. The city's transportation bureau will shrink the number of vehicle lanes on an East Portland high-crash corridor in order to make the road safer for cyclists and walkers.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation's new vision for a 1.5-mile stretch of Northeast 102nd Avenue includes one traffic lane in each direction, plus a center turn lane, a bike lane in each direction and painted on-street parking.

The street currently has two vehicle lanes in each direction.

"One of the biggest challenges on high-crash streets is having so many lanes for people to cross, and also for drivers to turn across," said Hannah Schafer, a bureau spokeswoman. "The likelihood of having something happen is higher than if you're going to cross one lane of traffic."

Construction for the Northeast 102nd Avenue Safety Project began Monday, July 15, between Northeast Weidler Street and Sandy Boulevard. The total cost of the project is budgeted at $697,000, including $331,000 from the city's gas-and-truck tax, known as the Fixing Our Streets fund.

System development charges — which are stapled onto new construction projects — and the city's cannabis sales tax also are contributing dollars.

After collecting data on the initial changes, the city may add permanent concrete pedestrian refuge islands in four to six locations, and build sidewalks and curb ramps.

Northeast 102nd has been hazardous for years, with 258 crashes on the thoroughfare between 2012 and 2016, including nine involving pedestrians and six involving bicyclists. Three people have died on the road in the last five years.

"I have been honked at, yelled at, had fists (shaken at me) while jogging and biking, all while observing crosswalk signals," one resident said during an open house for the project. "Cars drive too fast, don't wait for pedestrians to cross and regularly run red lights."

Another local commented: "I'd like to see more police officers on motorcycles more often than I do now, which is zero."

After work wraps, transportation officials will apply for permission from the Oregon Department of Transportation to lower the speed limit on 102nd to 30 mph.

COURTESY PBOT - A computer rendering shows the looming layout for Northeast 102nd Avenue, which runs just east of Interstate 205 in Portland.

20 is plenty

Portland's power to reduce residential speed limits is going statewide.

On June 27, Gov. Kate Brown signed into law Senate Bill 558, which allows any town in Oregon to reduce posted speed limits by 5 mph strictly in residential areas, starting in 2020.

Portland was exclusively allowed to experiment with lower street speeds during the 20 is Plenty campaign, which now covers 70% of city roadways. The Portland Bureau of Transportation wants to control speed limits in the other 30%, too, but it hasn't happened yet.

Rep. Rob Nosse, D-Portland, introduced legislation this session that would grant PBOT's wish, but it died in committee.

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