PORTLAND NEEDS WILLAMETTE WEEK.
NOW WILLAMETTE WEEK NEEDS YOU.

The need for strong, independent local journalism
is more urgent than ever. Please support the city we
love by joining Friends of Willamette Week.

PBOT Will Make Some of Its COVID-Era “Slow Streets” Permanent

Eighty blocks across the city will have their plastic orange barrels replaced with concrete planters and 15 mph speed limit signs.

The plastic barrels that slowed Portland traffic during the pandemic shutdown are about to get more concrete, as several streets receive some upgraded bike- and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation announced Thursday that some of the city’s “Slow Streets” put in place during the pandemic are here to stay.

Last spring, when the demand for outdoor spaces was high and parks were overflowing, PBOT installed 100 miles of temporary greenways around the city, using orange barrels and green signs to discourage cut-through traffic.

Now, some of those streets are getting permanent infrastructure. Eighty blocks across the city will have their plastic orange barrels replaced with concrete planters and 15 mph speed-limit signs.

According to PBOT, the decision is due to “overwhelmingly positive public response to the program.”

“Slow Streets have been a cornerstone of PBOT’s COVID-19 response since the beginning of the pandemic,” Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said in a statement. “I am pleased that we are continuing to invest in the programs that have been proven effective over the last year and a half.”

Already, PBOT has outfitted nine intersections in Southeast with concrete markers. The rest will be installed throughout the summer and into the fall.

A full map of the current and planned locations for the concrete planters can be found here.