As a neighborhood whose boundary is set by two freeways and is crisscrossed by major streets, Montavilla is defined by roads. 82nd Avenue has acted as an important bisecting line of the neighborhood for over 100 years. In 2019, 82nd Ave was the focus for both the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). The city sees it as an emerging Civic Corridor, and has adopted two plans to address deficiencies in the roadway.
Unlike all our other streets in Montavilla, 82nd Avenue is not currently maintained by the City of Portland. The heavily used roadway is instead an Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) highway and is under that department’s ownership. Many of the changes we will be seeing on 82nd Ave will be in support of an effort underway to transfer ownership of 82nd Ave (OR 213) from ODOT to the City of Portland.
Passed in May 2019, the 82nd Avenue Plan has enhanced pedestrian and bicycle crossings, increased lighting, and traffic signal changes. In addition, enhanced transit priority and bus stop improvements are recommended along 82nd Ave. These changes have the goal to improve the reliability, speed, and capacity of TriMet bus line 72.
In the 82nd Avenue Study, completed last year, the BPS identified infrastructure barriers to development. In addition to some zoning and social barriers, the lack of safe crossing and walkable sidewalks is a major issue along 82nd Avenue. The 82nd Avenue Plan seeks to address this by increasing the public right-of-way from each side of the center line of NE and SE 82nd Ave. New construction would need to provide a setback of 45 feet from the center of 82nd Avenue, or a minimum of 12 feet behind the existing curb line, whichever is greater. This would create 12 foot sidewalk corridors with a 6 feet maintained clear for pedestrians.
Beyond the new increased right-of-way along 82nd Avenue, special Pedestrian Districts will be created to support greater walkability in certain areas. The Montavilla Pedestrian District is centered around Stark street.
Pedestrian District minimums are increased to provide 15 foot wide sidewalk, with 8 feet reserved for pedestrian access. The Remming 7 feet are used for tree buffer and utility equipment along the street edge and a shop frontage buffer.
This interactive map shows where sidewalks will be widened and the property setback required now. Marty Stockton, with the Transportation Planning Coordination / Comprehensive and Strategic Planning for BPS, outlined the two scenarios that will trigger building of these new sidewalks. Speaking via email, Stockton said capital improvements projects by either the City or ODOT would rebuild sidwalkes to these news standards. Secondly, redevelopment that is significant enough to trigger dedication and improvements would also require rebuilding sidewalks to these new standards. Stockton clarified, “it’s highly possible that a property could build an addition or tenant improvement permit that wouldn’t trigger the right-of-way dedication and related improvements.”
In most instances, residents or Montavilla will not see our sidwals transform overnight. These changes will be seen block by block and sporadically over many years. The work is dependent on roadwork projects and private investment in our neighborhood. However, it is through these changes that Portland can incentivise pedestrian friendly development in our area. It demonstrates a collective faith that 82nd Avenue will grow into a Civic Corridor, warranting investment and development.