ODOT to drop speed, fund $3M for 82nd Avenue improvements

Crashes

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Sharon Cummins lives near the corner of NE Alberta and 82nd. She said there is always “some kind of chaos” happening.

“Cars slamming on their brakes, near misses and, unfortunately, accidents,” she said.

Her fence is the site of a growing memorial for Anthony Tolliver, a 30-year-old pedestrian killed by a hit-and-run driver outside her house about 2 weeks ago.

“We saw lights and heard sirens and came out and there was police tape all over,” Cummins said.

Another man was also killed on the same stretch within 2 weeks of Tolliver’s death.

Cummins said there are a lot of speed-based accidents but there’s also a lot of people not paying attention with crossing the street.

“I think we need some pedestrian-safety measures as well as the speed limit,” she said.

Scott Kocher, a board member for Oregon Walks, said 82nd Avenue is one of Oregon’s most dangerous streets.

Scott Kocher, a board member for Oregon Walks, said 82nd Avenue is one of Oregon’s most dangerous streets, May 7, 2021 (KOIN)

“This is an area where two people have been killed in two separate crashes trying to cross 82nd Avenue,” Kocher said. “Fifteen people have been killed on 82nd Avenue since 2009. Safety advocates for years have been trying to get improvements to this high crash corridor.”

That’s why he helped coordinate a safety rally with members of the community to call for more safety measures on the road.

“Dozens of people every day crossing between the hotel and the convenience store with no cross walk,” he said. “At night that dangerous kind of interaction, those close calls turn deadly.”

The Oregon Department of Transportation committed this week to reduce the speed limit by 5 mph and to commit to more than $3 million in funding for safety improvements.

Traffic along NE 82nd near Alberta in Portland, May 7, 2021 (KOIN)

“We’re including new lighting in some areas, we are including new rapid flash beacons, those pedestrian activated amber lights,” said ODOT’s Don Hamilton. “We are including new safety islands, we are including new crosswalks in some areas, too.”

Hamilton added ODOT has put about $27 million in projects onto 82nd Avenue over the past decade. “In the coming 5 years we expect to spend about $29 million in projects out there.”

Kocher feels that’s a drop in the bucket. He said the city estimated $185 million would be needed to overhaul 82nd Avenue. He’d like to see control of the road turned over to the city of Portland which he believes can make change faster.

“We’ve been neglecting this corridor for decades and the people who live here are entitled to more than that,” Kocher said.

Scott Kocher, a board member for Oregon Walks, said 82nd Avenue is one of Oregon’s most dangerous streets.

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