#WorkZoneWTF: Advocates want city ordinance to ensure safe passage through work zones

#WorkZoneWTF: Advocates want city ordinance to ensure safe passage through work zones


This work zone on North Williams Avenue forced bicycle traffic into the adjacent lane.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon Walks and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance have had enough. The two Portland-based nonprofits are calling on the City of Portland to pass a new ordinance that would require all city bureaus, contractors and private parties to maintain work zones that do not interrupt cycling and walking routes. And if they do, an adequate detour must be created.

The two groups have launched a new website, a list of 13 recommended policy guidelines, and a social media campaigned centered around the #WorkZoneWTF hashtag encouraging Portlanders to share photos of unsafe work zones. To give the campaign extra urgency, they’ve tied it directly to the bureau of transportation’s committment to Vision Zero. In fact, the campaign is officially called Vision Zero Work Zones.

Here’s one of the Twitter posts…

“Vision Zero… must guide the design of our work zones,” an Oregon Walk statement reads. “When people are forced into fast moving traffic and our safe networks are disjointed, we are putting people in danger and increasing the barriers to walking and biking.”

The recommended policy guidelines include: a clearly-marked detour route “immediately adjacent” to and “no higher stress” than the original path; “modally-specific” detour signage placed far enough in advance of the work zone, “for users to be able to choose an alternate route without backtracking”; detours must not direct auto users onto neighborhood greenways and must be ADA compliant; a “strict enforcement protocol” for work zone policy violations, and so on.

This Sunday (3/20) Oregon Walks is leading a walk to view several current street closures in downtown Portland. If you’d like to join, meet at the Sentinel Hotel lobby at 614 SW 11th at 3:00 pm.

For more coverage of the impact of work zones on cycling routes in Portland, browse our archives.

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

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