East Portland segment of Glisan Street loses two car lanes

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Portland Bureau of Transportation touts project as making street safer for road users, decreasing chance of crashes.

A computerized rendering shows the new vision for Northeast Glisan Street, shown here looking west at Northeast 125th Avenue. (PBOT)

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — The loss of travel lanes on Glisan Street may have roiled some residents in East Portland.

But the Portland Bureau of Transportation says motorists have just as much to gain — in terms of improved safety and more dependable travel times.

Construction impacts are expected to prevail until this fall as workers remake the streetscape for the $400,000 project, which is dropping Northeast Glisan from five to three travel lanes except near major intersections. It also adds a westbound bike lane shielded by on-street parking.

PBOT says the shrinkage will occur from Northeast 106th Avenue to 119th, from 125th to 145th and from 150th to 160th. The street will remain at its current size for a three-block radius surrounding the major cross streets: 102nd, 122nd and 148th.

“We recognize that some people in East Portland and elsewhere find changes to our streets to be jarring when first implemented,” PBOT spokeswoman Hannah Schafer wrote to the Tribune. “Traffic patterns take several weeks or months to adjust after the project is finished. If we continue to see problems, there are opportunities to take corrective actions.”

Glisan is the fourth-most dangerous roadway in Portland for motorists, and in the top 10 for pedestrians, according to the bureau. Two pedestrians and three people in cars have died on Glisan between Interstate 205 and the city limits at 162nd Avenue in the past decade. Between 2006 and 2015, another 46 people suffered serious injuries, including 41 people in cars.

Officials think part of the problem is the uninterrupted stretches of canyon-wide roadway on Glisan encourage lead-foot drivers.

“If we create a sense of it being narrow, it encourages people to drive more safely, just out of caution for themselves,” Schafer said. “This isn’t a congestion reduction project. This is really about keeping people safe and continuing to keep people moving through the city, but beyond just driving.”

A new signalized crossing is planned as well at 128th Avenue as part of the north-south 130s neighborhood greenway. A third of the project, from 103rd to 122nd, will be completed next year.

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