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Portland Traffic Deaths Rise
“Vision Zero” plan may not be working

In 2016 the City of Portland created the Zero Vision Traffic Plan to reduce traffic fatalities. At the time, Commissioner Steven Novick said “Other cities across the nation have implemented their own Vision Zero Act Plans and have seen a reduction in traffic deaths.” New York was the earliest adoption and experienced a 22% reduction in three years. Portland’s goal was to eliminate deaths and serious injuries for all who share Portland streets by 2025.

The project started with a survey asking 895 people their top three road safety tips. Eighty-five percent supported using automated cameras to ticket people who run red lights, and 71 percent supported automated cameras to ticket people who speed.

For a few years it improved hitting a low of 34 in 2018. Then it creeped up to 50, then 59 setting a new record in 2020. Now, five years into the project, they are on the verge of setting a record for the most traffic deaths ever. On Thanksgiving eve, deaths reach 61 passing the record of 2020.

Portland has spent more than $120 million on the Zero Vision Traffic Plan that hasn’t changed even the most dangerous streets identified in the Plan. Six speed safety cameras were installed on the most dangerous streets and added street lighting at high crash crossings.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

They installed city trucks with side guards that are risks to pedestrians. Speed limits were reduced citywide and enforced with speed cameras. With the lowering of speed limits, in July they added how to resolve a citation in five languages on the Vision Zero website.

An education campaign called ‘Struck’ launched a Vision Zero dashboard with an interactive map and videos. To ensure safe driving is on the mind of Portlanders, free Vision Zero pins, stickers, brochures and fliers are available.

The Vision Zero Task Force was dissolved on January 25, 2021, that oversaw the implementation. Does that mean the project is on auto-pilot? In June, Portland Bureau of Transportation announced $80 million towards a $185 million plan to transform 82nd Avenue, one of many high-risk areas. What of the other high-risk areas?

According to the Portland Traffic Fatality Tracker, only two of the 61 accidents this year took place on 82nd Avenue compared to six on Marine Drive or four on Powell.

It’s clear that five years has not produced any progress to eliminate fatalities. Another challenge lurks when ODOT implements tolling moving more traffic onto now busy streets where pedestrians and bikers travel.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-11-29 15:27:16Last Update: 2021-11-29 16:00:29



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