A Victory for Safety on SW Barbur

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is committed to making SW Barbur a safe place to travel. In pursuit of that goal we have been campaigning for a study of the impact of safety improvements over Barbur’s Newbury and Vermont bridges.

Yesterday, Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick announced his intent to conduct a study and ensure that the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has the time and resources it needs to find the right solution.

“Ultimately, at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, we will continue to work on safety on SW Barbur until it is a safe place to travel for everyone, regardless of their age, their ability, or their vehicle of choice.”

That is fantastic news!

We are thrilled to see the Commissioner in charge of PBOT step up in response to the requests from a coalition of community members including Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc., SW Trails, Friends of Barbur, Oregon Walks, Lewis and Clark College, City Club of Portland, the Portland Pedestrian Advisory Committee, the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee, and hundreds of BTA Members and other community leaders.

Southwest Barbur is a dangerous stretch of road and it’s going to take time and energy for all parties to come to the table, agree on a solution, and move forward. This commitment from PBOT is an important first step.

This quick response deserves praise, especially in advance of the upcoming vote on SW Corridor Plan. As such, we are asking BTA members and supporters who intend to testify at tomorrow’s hearing to thank Commissioner Novick for prioritizing safety as well as ask all Portland City Commissioners to be diligent and ensure that the city follows through on their new policy direction regarding the study of safety improvements on SW Barbur.

With a new study underway, we hope it won’t be long until ODOT constructs new, safe space for everyone traveling along Barbur, safe space that continues the length of Barbur, including over the Newbury and Vermont bridges.

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As Commissioner Novick’s announcement mentions, studies during the future construction over the Newbury and Vermont Bridges will provide some interesting data points. During construction, however, detours will be in place to temporarily redirect traffic onto local neighborhood streets.

When analyzing the impact of safety improvements on SW Barbur, we must study data such as travel time delay and traffic overflow to nearby streets. We must know how the changes will impact everyone who wants to travel safely on SW Barbur as part of their day-to-day routine. It’s clear that a construction zone full of heavy equipment, orange cones, temporary signs, flags, detours, and reduced speed limits can’t stand as a proxy for a transparent and collaborative study of “real world conditions.”

We support Commissioner Novick’s commitment to studying safety on SW Barbur. We expect nothing less than a transparent, data-driven review of safety improvements on SW Barbur. Ultimately, at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, we will continue to work on safety on SW Barbur until it is a safe place to travel for everyone, regardless of their age, their ability, or their vehicle of choice.

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  1. Henry’s Back in the Band! : One Percent for the Planet - January 31, 2014

    […] Now Henry is helping push for safer conditions on SW Barbur. […]


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