Pot taxes help fix SW Portland’s ‘most dangerous street’

Civic Affairs

SW Capitol Highway project will take about 2 weeks

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A project on Southwest Capitol Highway will impact traffic between Huber and Kerr Parkway but will make it easier for pedestrians and bicyclists — and is paid for largely through pot revenue.

There currently isn’t any room for bikes and pedestrians on the very busy street, but the Portland Bureau of Transportation said this will make it easer and safer for people to cross the street and get to bus stops.

It will also improve bike lanes along with reducing the speed cars travel in the area.

A center median, turn lane and left-turn pockets will be installed, PBOT said. There’s also a request in to reduce the speed limit from 35 to 30 mph when it’s completed in about 2 weeks.

PBOT said SW Capitol Highway is identified as a high-crash street. From 2012 through 2016, there were 55 crashes along that corridor, including 2 serious injuries of a bicyclist and pedestrians.

“We are narrowing the roadway to make it safer for people to travel along the street,” said PBOT’s Hannah Schafer. “Capitol Highway is one of the most dangerous streets in Southwest Portland, in particular for people biking. It’s our Number 1 most dangerous street.”

Nearby resident Cari Carr supports these changes.

“I’ve seen cars blow by really near children,” Carr told KOIN 6 News. “We have an elementary school, a private school and Markum Elementary and we have a lot of kids coming through here up from Jackson and over from Wilson.”

She also thinks with so many kids on the move, making room for bikers and walkers is a step in the right direction.

“It’s dangerous. We needed this.”

“We have a ton of families and kids who try to use the street everyday to get to school to cross the street to the park, the library and we want to make it safer for everyone to be able to do that,” Schafer said.

Wilson 9th-grader Aishah Mokrani said she’s also excited about the changes. She’s seen other kids almost get hit.

“I walk down from the school, then I get dropped off right down here and I have to walk from there to get back to my house,” she said.

If PBOT’s projections are accurate, there will be an 11% to 46% reduction in pedestrian and bike accidents.

The total cost is $275,000, with $150,000 of that coming from Oregon’s cannabis tax.

Southwest Capitol Highway at Dickinson, as seen on PBOT website, September 7, 2019

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