Can Portland Make Roads Safer For Walkers, Bikers During Pandemic?

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on May 01, 2020 in Auto Accident

walking while social distancingPortland is considering ways to make bike paths and sidewalks safer for cyclists and pedestrians during the pandemic and going forward. Concerns include maintaining social distancing while providing more protection from vehicles still on the road. Rizk Law explains some of the provisions under consideration and when you might begin to see these changes.

If you suffered an injury while walking or riding your bike in Portland because of another’s negligence, we invite you to call our firm for legal help. We are available to take your call 24/7, and there are no financial or health risks to you. Our consultations are completely free, and we have multiple, convenient ways to fully handle claims without the need for you to visit our office in person.

What Prompted Discussions for The Proposed Changes?

Portland continues to be plagued by speeding, even while the city’s volume of traffic has decreased by approximately 50 percent since the initiation of the city’s mandatory stay-at-home order. Although there were no traffic-related deaths between March 17 and April 14 this year, city officials are concerned that this could quickly change in the coming months.

As more people are taking advantage of the nicer weather and utilizing bike paths and sidewalks, it is getting harder to maintain the recommended social distance without moving into the streets. Portland’s concern also stems from 2019 being the deadliest year for traffic fatalities since 1997.

Safety Upgrades Being Considered

The city wants to find ways to give pedestrians and cyclists increased space to allow for greater safety while also making it possible to maintain healthy distancing. Plans will initially focus on the 100 miles of neighborhood greenways as they have become much busier during the shutdown restrictions. Initial developments could include:

  • Installation of temporary barriers along some of the roads to slow traffic
  • Restricting motor vehicle access to designated neighborhood greenways
  • Implementing bicycle and pedestrian “pop-up” areas in various parts of town

Other, more heavily populated cities, including Denver, Seattle and New York City have already begun to roll out similar plans to keep their pedestrians and cyclists safer during the COVID-19 health crisis and beyond.

When Will These Modifications Be Implemented?

While some of the changes may start to be implemented as early as next week, others will take longer. Following Portland’s usual process, the city plans to hold multiple virtual meetings first to discuss plans with neighborhood, business and other community committee groups. In a statement, the city said these meetings are to, “…collect input on how our streets can best serve all Portlanders both during and after this public health crisis.”

Transportation spokesman, John Brady states, “Certainly, there are people who wish we had gone much faster, but we wanted to do it right and with some intention.”

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, who provides oversight for the transportation bureau, said the bureau is considering, “…how transportation behavior has changed and how it needs to change, not just as we recover from this crisis, but to support a sustainable future.”

Contact Our Firm For Legal Help Today

At Rizk Law, we are dedicated to protecting the health of those in our community, both now and going forward. We are also committed to making sure injured victims have convenient access to legal help.

Our trusted Portland car accident lawyers have multiple ways to provide legal assistance without a face-to-face meeting. Your initial consultation is free, and if we represent you, there is nothing at all to pay unless we first get compensation for you. We are available to take your call 24/7 at: 503-388-5154