City takes first step in improving safety at SW 3rd & Madison

Today the City of Portland announced its improvements to reduce the danger of conflicts at the intersection of SW 3rd and Madison. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is pleased to see the City’s focus on safety and their effort in reminding people to be alert and aware of the potential danger of collisions at intersections.

New lane markings in and near the intersection do not yet reach the standard of safety we recommended after Kathryn Rickson tragically lost her life on May 16th. However, they do improve the existing conditions and we are glad the City is continuing to evaluate other treatments that might be applied at SW 3rd and Madison.

The City makes clear in their cover letter to the BTA that we need to continue to develop longer-term improvements at this, and other key intersections.

As we continue to have this dialogue about safety improvements, it is important we have a clear understanding of when bicycle traffic will be given priority at intersections where there is the potential for conflicts between vehicles.

How many people need to ride their bikes through a given intersection each day before we say, as a matter of public policy, “This is a place where everyone will be safe all the time; this is a place where we will provide safe separation, in both space and time, for different types of traffic”?

We can get closer to achieving our vision of zero crashes, injuries, and fatalities when we have safe, physically separated facilities and exclusive red, yellow, and green signal phases for people on bikes.

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance stands by the list of remaining changes necessary to improve the conditions at SW 3rd and Madison:

  • Bike activated sign indicating the legal right of way for people who ride bikes, similar to the treatment at NE Couch and Grand.
  • Ensure the roadway is properly lit and street lights are free of obstruction.
  • Give exclusive signal control to people who ride bikes, similar to NE Broadway.
  • Assemble a short-term working group to analyze citywide safety concerns at similar intersections and propose proactive solutions.
  • Revisit commercial driver safety education in the context of vulnerable road users. Are current eduction standards sufficient? What improvements are warranted?
  • Repeal Oregon’s mandatory side path law.
  • Require all commercial trucks operating in Oregon to install mandatory side guards.

We look forward to a future where everyone can travel safely to work, school, and elsewhere and we are excited about the conversations that will get us there.

In the meantime, we are proud to live in a city so dedicated to safety.

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