ODOT examines how to make 82nd Avenue safer

Saturday traffic moved along one of Portland's most dangerous roads as state transportation officials walked with people to hear how to make 82nd Avenue safer.

"We're really approaching this from a public health angle," said Duncan Hwang, the Associate Director of APANO. "Holistically we're suffering a public health crisis from traffic violence and air pollution."

The Oregon Department of Transportation-led walking tour and listening session began at the JADE district community center. From there people walked down eight blocks to point out needed improvements for pedestrian infrastructure.

One man, Ben, was pushed in a wheelchair. The inconsistencies in the gravel-filled sidewalks, along with the narrow curb cuts, have made moving around 82nd Avenue difficult for him.

"Accessibility is a huge issue for people with disability especially since there isn't a lot of visibility," said Grace Le Chevallier, who works with L'Arche Portland, a non-profit focused on helping out the disabled.

82nd Avenue is a state-operated road running north-south along Portland's east side. Safe street advocates say its heavy car traffic creates divided neighborhoods. Statistics from the Portland Bureau of Transportation show pedestrians are 2.5 times more likely to die in a crash east of 82nd compared to west of it.

"People are pushed to the outer edges of our city and for those people there isn't the transportation options like in inner Portland," Le Chevallier said.

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