Congested construction causes concerns over pedestrian safety


Daniel Lewinsohn

Construction is currently taking place along 16th and Taylor, by Lincoln, changing crosswalk and road availability.

A car accident just five blocks from Lincoln killed a 78-year-old pedestrian on Jan. 4 in the vicinity of four major construction projects, raising concerns over the potentially unsafe environment created by increased congestion and local construction.

The past five years has brought a wave of construction across Oregon. 18 construction projects in Lincoln’s neighborhood alone are in the works for 2019, with an additional 94 scattered throughout downtown. Yet even as newer Portland residents have more places to stay, older Portland residents are feeling the crunch.

“It feels a lot like Seattle,” says junior Jacob Dirkx. “There’s just been so many cranes and so much development that it’s hard to recognize sometimes. And it makes getting around a lot more challenging.”

Meanwhile, urban traffic fatalities in Oregon have spiked by 30 percent since the boom began and 13 percent in 2018 alone according to the Oregon Department of Transportation, even as US fatalities have decreased by 6 percent.

These potentially unsafe construction projects, like the Providence Park site, extend to Lincoln especially, PPS’ most urban school. And even amidst all this there are new projects like the ART Building in development, the recently-approved 21-story residential building centered in Goose Hollow. And this year’s freshmen and sophomores will soon have to reckon with construction on Lincoln’s new facility, just hundreds of feet away.