ODOT ‘saddened’ by Martin Greenough’s death, considering road diet

ODOT ‘saddened’ by Martin Greenough’s death, considering road diet


We’ve just received a response from the Oregon Department of Transportation in response to the crash Saturday night that killed Martin Greenough.

Here’s their full statement:

We are saddened by the tragic loss of a bicyclist on North Lombard Street Saturday night. Every driver has the responsibility to protect other road users by not getting behind the wheel impaired or distracted. We look forward to reviewing the findings from the crash investigation to better understand the causes of this tragic event.

ODOT makes safety improvements based on what will have the biggest and best impact on public safety. Recently, we have been at work on developing a long range plan to improve safety on Lombard and have, in fact, identified potential funding for implementing a road diet on a portion of Lombard in the current STIP update.

In addition, ODOT is currently working with our Area Commission on Transportation to allocate an additional $11 million in funding for bike, pedestrian and transit projects during the 2019-2021 STIP update. Now is the time to let ODOT know what projects are most important to implement with this limited and important funding source. People can comment at http://www.odotr1stip.org/explore-by-program/enhance/

It’s unclear why ODOT mentions a project on Lombard that isn’t near the crash location.

In a phone conversation today, ODOT spokesman Don Hamilton said the agency is currently crunching the traffic numbers on Lombard to analyze possible solutions.

Speaking about the history of the 42nd Avenue overpass and construction of Lombard/Highway 30, Hamilton said a lot has changed since then. “We have much greater needs than we did when the infrastructure was designed.”

The key debate about how to fix Lombard at 42nd will center around two things: Whether to reallocate the existing roadway in order to fit a bike lane on it (the “road diet” option), or to create a bike path around the bridge supports on each side of the existing roadway. The former would be potentially much cheaper and quicker, while the latter would likely take longer to become a reality. (Also consider that the road diet option would have to come with other ways of calming traffic/reducing speeds in the corridor.)

It’s still early in these conversations (“This is under study now, we don’t have the answers yet,” Hamilton told me today), but given the tragedy of Martin Greenough’s death and the context of how and when it occurred, ODOT is under a lot of public pressure to do something, anything, to show that they are serious about safety when doing so isn’t easy.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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