Dear Editor:

Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) wants to ignore basic traffic engineering principles and install traffic diverters on SE Woodward St.., just west of SE 62nd Ave., which would disrupt traffic throughout South Tabor because there are no viable alternative routes.

Every reason that PBOT has given the South Tabor Neighborhood Association (STNA) to justify the use of diverters to reduce traffic counts has either been misleading or false.

SE Woodward St. is a Neighborhood Greenway, and PBOT’s safety guidelines require greenways to have an average daily traffic (ADT) count of less than 2,000 motorized vehicles (SE Woodward’s ADT is 1,572), with 85 percent of all motorized vehicles traveling at or below the posted speed limit of 20 mph (SE Woodward’s average is 92.5 percent).

So, diverters clearly aren’t required, but despite the fact that SE Woodward meets PBOT’s safety guidelines, [they] want to arbitrarily impose its “Alternate Guideline,” which states that traffic counts in any one direction during any AM or PM peak hour should not exceed 100 motorized vehicles (SE Woodward’s average is 102).

However, the Alternate Guideline is completely subjective, and not based on any engineering principles related to traffic safety. 

Its stated purpose is to address the “comfort level” of inexperienced cyclists whom PBOT assumes aren’t currently using SE Woodward because 100 vehicles per hour (one vehicle every 36 seconds, averaging 1,080 feet apart at 20 MPH) during just a couple of peak hours each day supposedly makes it a “high-stress environment.”

There would be no way for PBOT to determine how many inexperienced cyclists, if any, subsequently decide to use SE Woodward no matter how much traffic counts are reduced.

There’s no way PBOT can justify disrupting the lives of thousands of people for 24 hours each day, 365 days each year.

Even though the STNA board of directors has no official authority to veto PBOT’s plans, it still has a duty to exercise due diligence and provide South Tabor homeowners and residents with accurate information.

Peter Apanel