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PBOT implements first phase of Slow Streets/Safe Streets initiative

The city will restrict most vehicular traffic on 100 miles of neighborhood greenways.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Bureau of Transportation installed temporary signs and barriers along select locations along neighborhood greenways throughout Portland Thursday. 

By Friday, the bureau says 100 miles of greenways will have similar signs in place. It's part of an increased effort to support physical distancing as more people get outside. This new initiative will help support the city of Portland before it begins to reopen.

The new Slow Streets/Safe Streets initiative was announced in late April by Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. 

“Right now, the best thing Portlanders can do for the health of our community is to continue to stay home to save lives. PBOT is carefully 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. Our Slow Streets|Safe Streets Initiative will provide the space Portlanders need to move around our city safely, and improve how we share our right of way," Eudaly said last month.

Credit: Portland Bureau of Transportation

The temporary street closures restrict some access to vehicular traffic, but keep them open for local access only.

"These are areas of the greenway where there's higher traffic or where it's multi-family housing where people need more space. We've also chosen areas where it's a further distance between parks for example," PBOT spokesman John Brady said.

RELATED: Portland plans to close 100 miles of streets to through traffic to encourage safe distancing

Phase 2 will look at busier streets and the business districts.

"When we move to that reopening phase, people are going to need more space so we're looking at things like creating zones where people can line up for takeout, things like that. We're looking at popup sidewalks, we're looking at bicycle lanes to give people more space," Brady said.

Credit: Portland Bureau of Transportation
Credit: Portland Bureau of Transportation

The bureau says the temporary signs and restrictions will be in place for the foreseeable future.

"When you use these spaces, use them responsibly. Make sure you maintain that 6 feet of distance," said Brady.

RELATED: Child care, some summer camps may reopen May 15 under Gov. Brown's new plan

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