Action Item: Let's make SW Barbur safer. We need your help.
Oregon Walks has been closely following the recent work by many of our partner organizations to ask the City of Portland to study improvements that would make Portland's Southwest Barbur Boulevard safer for people to walk and cross. Our organization has been involved in a litany of initiatives dating back to the 1999 Barbur Streetscape Plan, in which we, time and time again, have lamented the lack of sidewalks, the high speeds of automobiles, and the poor condition of transit stops along the corridor. The recent spate of automobile collisons that have left people hospitalized for attempting to cross the dangerously designed boulevard only remind us of the heartbreak of previous tragedies, including the preventable and heartbreaking death of Angela Berke in 2010, and our resolute commitment to demanding the city prioritize preventing another unnecessary fatality.
In a city that prides itself on livable, walkable communities and is governed by multiple local agencies who have all promised to work to eliminate unsafe road conditions and traffic fatalities, it is unacceptable that SW Barbur, the definitive main street that connects many of Portland's oldest businesses and neighborhoods to the city center, remains tretcherously unsafe for people to walk and cross the street. Action is clearly necessarily now to prevent further injuries and fatalities.
Therefore, Oregon Walks has joined local institutions including Lewis and Clark College, Portland City Club, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Friends of Barbur and the Portland Pedestrian Advisory Committee in penning a letter demanding that the city take action to study opportunities to reconfigure Barbur. Our letter, sent to Portland's five commissioners this past Monday, highlights Oregon Walks' long history of activism on Barbur that has not yet yielded enough discernable safety improvements to bring the street to a minimum standard of safety for pedestrians. We join our partners in pointedly demanding that the Portland City Council include and approve an amendment to an upcoming resolution which would direct Portland staff to work with Metro and the Oregon Department of Transportation to understake a collaborative, transparent process to study options for improved safety. Failure to do so may lead to another otherwise avoidable traffic fatality, and it is up to our elected officials to reject the status quo and demand safer streets.
Please read the Oregon Walks letter here, and then please send a letter to the Portland City Council asking them to prioritize safety on one of Portland's most dangerous thoroughfares. Your voice is needed to make sure Portland's elected officials hear from us that fixing SW Barbur is an urgent priority.