George Middle School Pedestrian Crossing Update

House Speaker Tina Kotek

Columbia Boulevard Safety Update

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Thank you for attending the Open House at Roosevelt High School to learn more about the Columbia Blvd. Pedestrian Crossing near George Middle School! We appreciated hearing your suggestions for making this area safer and we want to keep you updated on the project.

How you can help!

The City of Portland will receive the state funding in 2019. To get the process started sooner, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has requested that City Council approve the allocation of $650,000 in City General Funds during the upcoming city budget decisions. If approved, PBOT will be able to begin project development this summer and complete more robust safety improvements.  

Please email the City Council to let them know that you support the $650,000 funding request for this project:

Mayor Wheeler: 

Commissioner Saltzman:

What will be done on Columbia Blvd. by George Middle School?

The Oregon Legislature dedicated $1.5 million to provide a safer way for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross N. Columbia Blvd. near George Middle School in the St. Johns neighborhood. During the first stage of the project, a project development phase, the City of Portland will evaluate potential improvements, which could include:

• A traffic signal at the intersection of N. Columbia Blvd. and N. Midway Ave. 

• A pedestrian hybrid signal at the same location. This type of signal is activated when a pedestrian pushes a button.

• Modification of the existing pedestrian bridge to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and to facilitate the movement of extra wide or high loads.

• Removal of the pedestrian bridge.

• Access management at local streets, potentially including closing of access to local streets or restriction of certain turning movements, subject to further study.

• Sidewalk and curb ramp improvements.

What is the timeline for this project?

If the additional $650,000 is allocated, PBOT will be able to begin project development this summer.  The project manager will evaluate alternatives and continue to engage with the public for 4-6 months, after which time the project moves into the design and engineering phase and then the City will go through the bidding process to find a contractor.  These phases take an additional nine to 12 months, after which time construction would begin.

What did we hear from you at the Roosevelt Open House?

Approximately 40 people attended the open house on November 27, 2017. Of the 19 people who told us about their experiences walking across Columbia, only two said they used the existing pedestrian bridge. Participants shared the following concerns:

• The intersection needs a traffic light, four-way stop, roundabout, or rapid flashing beacon.  

• There is a need for better visibility, pedestrian infrastructure, and ADA access.
• Requests to lower speeds and see more speed enforcement in the neighborhood.

• Other concerns included: the use of Columbia Blvd as a truck route, drag racing, the need for traffic calming infrastructure, and the unwelcoming nature of the current pedestrian bridge.

What other Safety Improvements are coming to Columbia Blvd?

Additional Speed Reader Boards coming in March

Safety improvements along Columbia Blvd include additional solar powered speed reader boards (SRBs) near George Middle School and the Native American Youth and Family Center (in the Cully neighborhood). The SRBs will be attached to existing poles, one in each direction of travel. The changeable signs provide speed feedback to drivers in order to encourage them to slow down.  The City anticipates installing the new devices in mid-March.

North Columbia Blvd Safety Project

Vision Zero is the City's strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. With that focus, the PBOT safety team is scoping the N. Columbia Blvd Safety Project. Based on ten years of crash data, Columbia Blvd. had one of the highest number of deadly crashes of any street in Portland. Kicking off in summer 2018, the project will analyze existing safety and traffic data to develop recommended 2-year and 5-year projects that will reduce deadly and serious injury crashes for people traveling by all modes. The project scope includes the western portion of N. Columbia Blvd. from N. Burgard Rd. to N. Denver Ave. 

Speed Reduction Request

Nearly half of all fatal and serious injury crashes in Portland involve driving over the speed limit or driving too fast for conditions. The posted speeds on Columbia are 40 and 45 MPH, and people travel even faster.  The City is requesting posted speed reductions from the Oregon Department of Transportation this spring and will change out signs as soon as possible if the requests are approved.  This process can take 3-12 months. 

Moving Forward

My office will continue to track this project and keep you updated as the process moves forward. Please contact AmyBeth Stevens at 503-986-1200 if you have any follow up comments, questions, or concerns. Thank you! 



Tina Kotek

State Representative
House District 44
Speaker of the House

email: I phone: 503-986-1200
address: 900 Court St NE, H-269, Salem, OR 97301