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Simple, effective hardened center lines coming to Rainier Ave S

Update – September 13, 2021: We updated the map graphic and list of intersections along Rainier Ave S where hardened center lines will be installed, to fix several cross-street names that had been mislabeled.

A hardened centerline shown in the lower right corner of this photo of an intersection in Portland.Photo Credit: City of Portland

As part of our Vision Zero goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030, we will install new “hardened centerlines” at several intersections along Rainier Ave S.

Hardened centerlines are small rubber barriers next to crosswalks that require people driving to make slower left-hand turns that are less diagonal and more “square.” In other cities, this small change has significantly slowed down vehicle speeds at crosswalks and improved safety for people in the crosswalk. (Read more on our website).

. A before and after drawing representing a typical four-way intersection with a pedestrian crossing the crosswalk and a car turning left. The before image shows a driver making an angled turn through the middle of the intersection without the hardened centerline intervention. The after image shows the driver making a right angle turn to avoid the hardened centerline intervention.

Where will these be?

Below are some things we took considered when determining locations for hardened centerlines.

  • History of pedestrian injuries and fatalities

  • Intersections with traffic signals that do not have dedicated left turn phases (i.e. drivers have a green light at the same time pedestrian have the crossing signal)

  • Intersections within ¼ mile of a school or transit hub

  • Areas where residents have lower incomes and rely heavily on transit

We will address four intersections along Rainier Ave S for phase 1, with construction in 2021 and eight more during phase 2, in 2022. The following map shows locations for Phase 1 in blue and Phase 2 in orange along Rainier Ave S.

Map of intersections along Rainier Ave S where we are installing hardened center lines to improve pedestrian safety.

We plan to install hardened center lines at the following intersections:

Phase I

  • Rainier Ave S & S Massachusetts St

  • Rainier Ave S & S Charlestown St

  • Rainier Ave S & S Edmunds St

  • Rainier Ave S & S Graham St

Phase II

  • Rainier Ave S & S Bayview St

  • Rainier Ave S & S Walden St

  • Rainier Ave S & S Andover St

  • Rainier Ave S & S Genesee St

  • Rainier Ave S & S Alaska St

  • Rainier Ave S & S Ferdinand St

  • Rainier Ave S & S Hudson St

  • Rainier Ave S & S Orcas St

  • Rainier Ave S & S Holly St

  • Rainier Ave S & S Othello St

This is one of many projects we have undertaken along Rainier Ave S in recent years. We have completed a variety of safety improvements as part of our Vision Zero program to make people walking, rolling, biking, driving, and taking transit safer along this busy corridor.

In 2015, we redesigned one mile of Rainier between S Alaska St and S Kenny St from 4 to 3 lanes. This project successfully improved safety along Rainier Ave S in Columbia City and Hillman City. Building on that success, we began the second phase of the project between Hillman City and Rainier Beach in 2017. In 2019, we made intersection improvements and added bus lanes in specific locations in the area. Last year, we made improvements at several more intersections, including a community crosswalk, and completed a new street layout from S Kenny St to S Henderson St.

What’s next? We will install hardened centerlines over the next several months. Our goal is to complete installation at all locations along Rainier Ave S as early as spring 2022. Whether you are walking, rolling, biking, or driving, be on the lookout for our new hardened centerlines along Rainier Ave S!


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