PBOT given $20 million to make safety improvements on 122nd Avenue

Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 5:28 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - One of Portland’s deadliest roads is getting a major investment from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help make the road safer for everyone.

In a typical week, the Portland Bureau of Transportation says there are five crashes along 122nd Avenue, which is one of the city’s high crash corridors.

“We almost saw a car accident just moments ago. Frankly, we rarely get through a year without seeing a death at this intersection. It’s very scary, it’s very uninviting,” Commissioner Mingus Mapps said.

The last deadly crash FOX 12 reported on along 122nd Avenue was in Sept. 2022. PBOT says between 2016 and 2020, nine people have died along the road.

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But a new, $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, and an additional $5 million from PBOT, will try to prevent any more of these deaths by slowing traffic along a 5.5-mile stretch of 122nd Avenue, between Southeast Foster Road and Northeast Sandy Boulevard.

“One of the biggest issues we see along these high crash corridors is that there are large stretches where people don’t have to stop driving, they can pick up speed, it can feel like you’re on a highway to some degree,” Hannah Schafer, a spokesperson for PBOT, said.

Eventually, 122nd Avenue will look like Southeast Division Street near 148th Avenue, complete with protected bike lanes, raised medians and enhanced crosswalks. PBOT said they came up with these solutions after looking at traffic crash data and having conversations with the community since 2017.

“This street, once upon a time, was a rural county road and it really hasn’t been addressed as a city street in the time the city has literally grown around it,” Schafer said.

PBOT said they still have engineering work and public outreach to do, so, for now, they plan to break ground in 2026.