Agressive drivers now have one less Brooklyn neighborhood street to use as a traffic signal bypass. A long-term closure of SE Long Street went into effect on Thursday, June 5th. This change was proposed by area residents, championed by Commissioner Sam Adams, approved by 100% of abutting property owners, and accepted by the City of Portland, Ofice of Transportation.
Neighbors will now get a much quieter street to live on and commuters on Milwaukie Avenue will have to wait their time turn to make a left turn at SE Holgate Street instead. This should be an easy transition for drivers to make since the left-turn signal at Holgate is already designed to handle the increased amount of traffic.
Concrete “Jersey style” barriers have been placed at the west end of Long Street where it meets McLoughlin Boulevard. Temporary signs and barriers have also been added to alert drivers that this street is now a dead-end.
The Brooklyn Action Corps has been supportive of this closure for a number of different reasons. Firstly, the amount of cut-through traffic in this area had grown to the point that it was extremly difficult and dangerous for residents on this street to back out of their driveways. During peak morning and evening commute times, traffic often backs up on Milwaukie all the way to Schiller Street.
Problems on Long Street have only grown worse in recent months. Despite signage showing that this street is for local truck access only, full length semi-trucks from Swift Trucking had been using this street in increasing numbers as an illegal accessway out of the Brooklyn Rail Yards. There have also been reports of drive-by drug dealing taking place on this street. With the easy get away access on McLoughlin now closed, this behavior is likely to disappear.
Fewer left turning cars onto Long Street will also make for safer pedestrian and bicycle access from the Brooklyn to the Oaks Bottom Trail head and park. Attention will now be focused on making the Milwaukie Avenue bridge over McLoughlin safer.