Victory for Safe Streets: Portland’s New Work Zones Manual

Good news for Portland’s pedestrians and bicyclists: The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has released its first-ever manual on protecting the safety of people walking, biking, or using mobility devices through and around construction work zones. This is a critical step towards reaching our Vision Zero goals and the results of years of hard work by advocates with The Street Trust and Oregon Walks.

PBOT’s new manual will help make Portland’s streets, sidewalks, and crosswalks safer and more accessible during construction projects. Where construction work zones can often disrupt otherwise safe routes to walk or roll on, this manual will encourage designers, engineers, and construction workers to reroute traffic in ways which are safe and convenient for those getting around on foot, bike, or mobility device.

This is a critical step towards reaching our Vision Zero goals to completely eliminate serious injuries and fatalities on our roads. By making routes in and near construction sites safe and more consistent, this manual helps prevent crashes and gives bicyclists and pedestrians visibility and space to navigate the city safely. In other words, this new manual will reduce preventable crashes and help save lives for years to come.

This is welcome news for active transportation advocates leading our transition away from motor vehicles and towards walking, bicycling, and public transit. According to recent studies, most Portlanders indicate they would like to bike more often, but are held back by concerns over road safety. More so than cost, safety is the most frequently cited barrier to bicycling, and PBOT’s new work zones manual will make it easier for more people to get out of their cars and onto their bikes.

For years, we at The Street Trust have called for transportation agencies to implement sensible policies regarding construction work zones. Since 2014, we’ve partnered with Oregon Walks to lead a campaign for a comprehensive policy to address how street closures affect bicyclists and pedestrians, including people with disabilities and accessibility challenges. As a part of our campaign, supporters used the hashtag #workzoneWTF to tweet hundreds of photos of sidewalks and bike paths disrupted by construction work zones.

You can view PBOT’s official construction work zone manual on their website by clicking here.

(Photo credit: City of Portland)

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Comments (1)

  1. rick Permalink  | Jan 03, 2018 09:15am

    If only Beaverton did this for deadly SW Canyon Road and SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway.