Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, with its plethora of artsy thrift outlets, cafes and bars, could also be one of many first streets to come back to thoughts whenever you consider quintessential Portland. Hawthorne is all the time buzzing with exercise and other people strolling up and down the road, maybe having fun with a cup of espresso from Grand Central Bakery, lugging baggage of books to promote on the Hawthorne Powell’s outpost or just grabbing groceries at Safeway, Fred Meyer or New Seasons.
However for the quantity of foot visitors Hawthorne will get, navigating it whereas strolling, biking or rolling isn’t all the time a breeze, and its security issues have had lethal penalties. In 2016, 15-year-old Fallon Good was killed by a reckless driver whereas crossing Hawthorne at forty third ave. On the time, there was no devoted crossing at that intersection or wherever close by. After Good was killed, the Portland Bureau of Transportation put in a crossing at that intersection – however advocates mentioned extra was wanted to keep away from one other tragedy.
PBOT’s massive response got here within the type of the ‘Pave and Paint’ mission they debuted final fall on Hawthorne from twenty third to fiftieth avenues. Along with a full repaving, the mission introduced new crossing remedies with elevated signage and visibility measures to the road, in addition to a discount within the variety of lanes and diminished pace restrict (to twenty miles per hour).
Whereas important, the mission was a letdown for a lot of who needed PBOT to go even additional and add devoted bike lanes.
However how profitable are the remedies PBOT did make? I went over to Hawthorne yesterday to ask folks what they consider the brand new streetscape virtually a yr after it was accomplished.
Although opinions differed, the overall consensus was that the brand new Hawthorne is best than the outdated one – however it may very well be rather a lot higher. The primary particular person I talked to, Emily (and her canine Owen), was heading into Safeway at Hawthorne and twenty eighth. Emily has lived within the space for a number of years, and he or she mentioned she avoids strolling on Hawthorne besides when she has to.
“Vehicles don’t cease,” Emily instructed me. “Folks will see me standing [at a crosswalk], however like three vehicles will go by earlier than anybody stops for me.”
Sarah, who was strolling whereas pushing her younger youngster in a stroller additional east on Hawthorne close to thirty sixth, instructed me she likes the median remedies on the crosswalks, which give folks crossing an opportunity to soundly relaxation and look each methods earlier than crossing the road. However that’s provided that folks driving really cease for her – and that’s not a given.
“Most individuals simply don’t need to cease,” Sarah mentioned. “I don’t need to push [my son] out in entrance of me. It doesn’t actually really feel tremendous protected. Nevertheless it’s an enchancment.”
Although I watched and waited for some time, I didn’t see very many individuals biking on Hawthorne. This isn’t uncommon – it’s typically a really disagreeable expertise to even cross the road by bike, not to mention try to experience any substantial distance on it. I did spot one particular person biking on the sidewalk: Zach, who works close by and bikes this avenue typically. He spoke extremely of the Hawthorne bike lane idea, and mentioned he’d not too long ago been hit by somebody driving a automotive on the easternmost a part of the road, injuring his leg.
“Bike lanes would’ve helped, 100%,” Zach instructed me.
Lastly, I chatted with Sierra, who works as a nanny within the neighborhood and was crossing Hawthorne with two infants in a stroller. Sierra mentioned she walks across the neighborhood with the youngsters every single day, and he or she want to see extra designated crossings on the road.
“As a driver, It’s annoying [to have all these crosswalks],” Sierra mentioned. “However as a walker, I would like it.”
Up till a couple of weeks in the past, I lived one block south of Hawthorne on Cesar Chavez Blvd, and I echo the ideas of individuals I talked to at present. Over time, I grew extra assured when coping with the folks driving who didn’t need to cease for me – however probably the most I needed to shield (aside from myself) whereas crossing Hawthorne is ice cream from Fred Meyer, not youngsters in a stroller.
You shouldn’t need to be a seasoned traveler to really feel empowered sufficient to make use of your right-of-way at a crossing on a avenue like Hawthorne. It needs to be a no brainer that folks driving will cease. Sadly, that’s not the case – even at intersections with medians and really seen indicators. And particularly after PBOT redesigned the road with a selected give attention to pedestrian security.
Simply ask 38-year outdated Portlander Nicole Funke. Simply two weeks in the past, she was strolling throughout Hawthorne at thirty eighth and was hit by a driver. “The driving force took PBOT’s fancy new zebra crossing as a suggestion, I assume,” she posted to Twitter from the hospital whereas forcing a smile behind a masks and neck brace.
Hawthorne is a avenue for strolling. Somebody residing close by can get nearly all of their wants met in lower than a ten minute stroll, and but folks driving vehicles nonetheless really feel entitled to dominate the street. And if this avenue, positioned in a walkable (and rich) a part of Portland, nonetheless has these sorts of issues, the place’s the hope for bettering massive arterials in east Portland like 82nd or 122nd Ave?
That’s the query I requested myself as I watched folks navigate Hawthorne.
What do you consider the modifications on Hawthorne? How do you suppose we will additional enhance this avenue for folks strolling and biking?