Friday, April 3, 2009

Portland Traffic Fatalities Drop to Lowest Level Since 1925

A very interesting discussion of the factors that might be behind the city's record-low injury rate. Is the national decline in vehicular traffic - even in New Haven - the real cause? 15 fatalities and 5 pedestrian deaths were recorded in Portland in 2008.

How much credit does mayor deserve for 2008's historic drop in Portland road deaths?, The Oregonian Blog, 4/2/09

Savvy politics. But one has to wonder if his staff bothered briefing him on this simple fact about modern commuting: People are driving less -- and, thus, dying less -- almost everywhere in the U.S.

Adams' statement on Portland's fatality numbers didn't mention any of those things. It didn't mention that TriMet ridership was up 2.3 percent. Last year's hand-count of bicycle commuters by PBOT found a 15 percent increase on city bridges and 32 percent at 60 intersections in 2008. Again, not mentioned.

The mayor reminded residents that he promised saving lives and reducing injuries would be his first priority when he took over as the Bureau of Transportation commissioner in 2005. For example, he said, after several "right hook" bicycle fatalities in 2007, where vehicles turned right and collided with bicycles, Adams said his office spearheaded the installation of green "bike boxes" at 14 dangerous intersections.

"Even one death or injury is too much," Adams said, "but our increased safety means
that fewer families had to cope with the terrible tragedy that traffic fatalities bring, and that our neighborhoods are becoming more livable."

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