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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

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Road Reconfigurations Achieve Significant Reduction of Crashes

PBOT's transportation safety goal, which is also a regional goal, is to reduce crashes citywide by 50% by 2035 (from a 2005 baseline). In order to achieve that goal, the High Crash Corridor program is identifying improvements with high crash-reduction factors - improvements that are proven to significantly reduce the number of vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle crashes.

Nationally and locally, we have been learning about how major roadway reconfigurations can contribute to significant crash reduction.

SE Tacoma Street, PORTLAND – In 2002, the Tacoma Main Street Plan was implemented on SE Tacoma from SE 23rd to the Sellwood Bridge. 

The improvements in the plan included:

  • Roadway configuration changes from four lanes, two travel lanes in each direction, to one travel lane in each direction, plus a combination of bike lanes, parking and a center turn lane.
  • Roadway reconstruction & paving
  • New pedestrian ramps
  • Pedestrian islands
  • Curb extensions
  • Marked crosswalks

This roadway reconfiguration has resulted in 26% fewer crashes, comparing eight years of pre-data and eight years of post-data.


Crosswalk and Pedestrian Island on Sandy Blvd.NE Sandy Blvd, PORTLAND – In 2007, the Sandy Streetscape Plan was implemented on NE Sandy Blvd from NE 14th Ave to NE 47th Ave. 

The improvements in the plan included:

  • Roadway reconstruction & paving
  • New pedestrian ramps
  • New & wider pedestrian islands
  • Curb extensions & extended curb lines
  • Marked crosswalks
  • Traffic signal upgrades
  • Street lighting
  • Street trees
  • Bike access & parking
  • Transit shelter upgrades

Preliminary data from this project shows 40% reduction in crashes and no fatalities in the project area, and 40% reduction in crashes corridor wide.


KING COUNTY (Seattle area) – King County and the City ofSeattle have implemented over 30 road reorganizations (or road diets), with an average of 29% crash reduction.

NATIONALLY road reorganizations (or road diets) are touted as one of the Federal Highway Administration’s Nine Proven Safety Counter Measures and are achieving 19%-47% crash reduction.

Crash reduction data from Portland and national studies confirms that a road reorganization can be an effective safety counter-measure with a high benefit-cost ratio.  It is one of the safety tools that PBOT will continue to consider when addressing safety improvements on City roadways.