Portland City Council voted Wednesday to accept approximately $17 million in federal grants distributed by Metro through the Regional Flexible Funding Allocation program. One of the four new capital projects funded will impact Montavilla on the SE Stark Washington couplet. Portland will spend $11.4 million on the project, improving road conditions for all modes of travel between SE 92nd and 109th avenues.
The road work spans a busy section of the paired streets that crossover I205 and connects Montavilla to the Gateway Regional Center. Some of the planned improvements include new transit islands and bus lanes, protected bike lanes, improved pedestrian crossings at existing signals, a new pedestrian crossing at SE 105th Avenue, new ADA curb ramps, and street lighting. Work will also resurface or repair pavement. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) believes this work will counter the historic auto-oriented street design at this location and reduce crashes in the area. Montavilla will receive only a tiny portion of the total improvements planned. However, the project will improve conditions for pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transportation users traveling the neighborhood.
PBOT has not yet created the final plans for this project. However, the proposal contains several illustrations demonstrating a rough outline of possible changes. During the project’s design phase, City engineers will likely need to adjust the placement and scale of these improvements. However, staff based the budget on including these features in the approximate locations indicated in the documents submitted to City Council.
When completed, residents will see SE Stark street gaining protected bike lanes continuing west across the I205 overpass and ending at SE 92nd Avenue. Bike lane crossings and crosswalks will receive fresh high-visibility paint. Curbside parking will move further out into the street, allowing bikes to travel against the road’s edge behind a wide buffer of parked cars. Consequentially, the number 15 TriMet bus stop in front of Motel 6 will move onto a new transit island in line with the parked cars. This stop currently has a temporary bus platform that PBOT installed during the pandemic. Unlike the current design, the new island will allow bicycles to pass behind the bus stop and away from traffic.
On Montavilla’s section of SE Washington Street, most work will focus on pavement repairs and some lane reconfiguration. PBOT intends to add a dedicated right turn lane for people merging onto I205 south. Crews will reconstruct and enlarge the corner adjacent to the turn lane to support pedestrians and bicycles. The new bike lane on SE Washington Street will place riders onto the sidewalk to cross at a more visible location.
Workers will install new bike signals with dedicated signage and upgrade the existing pedestrian signals. Drivers turning onto I205’s south on-ramp will have a new turn-only light with a “NO TURN ON RED” sign. Signalized intersections will receive new Advanced Transportation Controller (ATC) equipment to manage traffic flow intelligently throughout the day.
Road improvements like this can take years to materialize after funding. Portland prioritized this project in the Growing Transit Communities Plan, adopted in 2017. Design work and property owner engagements will come in the next year. However, securing $5,332,000 in grant money for this work should move this project forward at an increased pace. Look for updates on the project in the coming year.