St. Johns residents call road safety a top priority

Community says problem isn't just the bridge, but the road leading up to it

St. Johns residents met with local leaders to discuss improving roads for pedestrians and cyclists, November 14, 2016. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The St. Johns community board met with local leaders Monday night to discuss ways to improve roads for pedestrians and cyclists, weeks after a man was killed on the St. Johns Bridge.

But neighbors at the meeting said the problem isn’t just the bridge, it’s also the road leading up to it.

The area is commercially-driven with freight trucks driving through roads lined with residences and schools. St. Johns community members hope to balance the needs of the region’s industry with the safety of those who live there.

At the end of the day, road safety what locals consider their top priority.

Traffic on the St. Johns Bridge in Portland, October 31, 2016 (KOIN)
Traffic on the St. Johns Bridge in Portland, October 31, 2016 (KOIN)

“We have a high crash network all over Portland,” Margie Bradway with the Portland Bureau of Transportation said. “There is a concentration of high crash corridors as they’re connected to each other, and frankly where they meet at the St. Johns Bridge.”

Community members feel that St. Johns, specifically, is vulnerable to more traffic fatalities because of a shifting dynamic. What was once a heavy industrial area has now become more family-oriented, and balancing the 2 is a challenge.

“There are a lot of safety issues and traffic issues in St. Johns and as [it] grows and as we continue to have more employers moving more by truck, we have to work harder to make people safer,” House Speaker Tina Kotek said at the meeting.

The neighborhood has made strides in making its streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, but there is still work to be done to ensure more people aren’t killed.