Portland to shut down street near dangerous intersection - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland to shut down street near dangerous intersection

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

For Portland bicyclists, it's one of the most dangerous intersections in Portland.

There were 20 major crashes - 17 of them where cyclists were side-swiped - on Northeast Broadway between Flint Street and Wheeler from 2000 to 2010, according to Dan Anderson of the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

On Monday, the city decided to do something about it.

The problem occurs during morning and evening rush hours when Broadway is flooded with cars exiting Interstate 5 and heading to the Broadway Bridge. Perpendicular is Flint, a popular street for commuters on bikes heading the same way. There is a stop sign on Flint meant to slow cyclists, but many breeze through it. When cars take a right onto Wheeler just a few feet down, collisions often occur.

Anderson said it's a deadly accident waiting to happen. That's why PBOT is shutting down Wheeler to traffic coming off Broadway - a move that has incensed local business owners like Ron Huckaby.

"It's a temporary Band-Aid," Huckaby said. "They're going to close this street and push the problem one block down."

"The problem is not the street. It's the bicycle riders that are the problem."

Huckaby said shutting down Wheeler Street effectively punishes the businesses along the road.

But Jonathan Maus, a local bicycle advocate and the editor of BikePortland.org, said it's about time the city put safety first.

"I've been reporting on people getting injured at that intersection - sometimes badly - for a number of years, so it's a pretty urgent problem in my opinion," Maus said.

The traffic change will go into effect Wednesday.

City officials held a meeting with business owners Tuesday to discuss the change, and the city plans to meet with businesses to discuss alternatives for trucks that need to reach businesses along this stretch of road.

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