A new report prepared by the City of Portland and the city’s Bureau of Transportation shows fatal traffic crashes in 2018 reached the lowest number in the past four years. But, the city is still working on getting that number to zero.  

The report reviews the Vision Zero Action Plan, which aims to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries. The report affirmed the city’s need to work on improving east Portland streets. 

In 2018, 34 people died in Portland traffic crashes. Almost 70% of those fatal crashes occurred east of 82nd Avenue.  

That area includes 28 of the top 30 high crash intersections in the city.

A map of Portland traffic fatalities in 2017 and 2018.

A map of Portland traffic fatalities in 2017 and 2018.

City of Portland/Portland Bureau of Transportation

The city has objectives to specifically improve pedestrian safety, as an average of 39% of crashes during the last five years involved pedestrians.

The city will be using tactics like increasing the number of leading pedestrian intervals (LPIs) at traffic signals. LPIs give pedestrians the “walk” signal before cars get a green light in order to give people walking a head start improve visibility when cars are making a left turn. 

The city also plans to remove parking and vegetation near “at least three high crash network streets each year” to improve pedestrian visibility. 

Adding street lighting where “the High Crash Network, pedestrian districts, low-income populations and communities of color overlap” is also a focus.  

Streets wider than 48 feet should have lighting on both sides, the report states. 

Currently, only 22% of historically dangerous, wide streets in east Portland have two-sided lighting.  

The city also plans to reduce speed limits where possible. The Oregon Department of Transportation holds the authority to adjust speed limits throughout the state, meaning Portland has to submit requests for speed limit reductions.  

According to the report the city will “continue to pursue authority to set speed limits locally.” 

From 2017 to 2018, it reduced speed limits on 76 miles of non-residential streets.

Along with tangible projects, the city is attempting to “create a culture of shared responsibility” through education and outreach, the report states.