Category: Infrastructure

New Corners on NE 74th and Glisan

Update: Crews working with the City of Portland reconstructed a corner at NE 74th Avenue and NE Glisan Street this week. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) plans to improve sidewalk curb ramps on two other corners at this intersection later this month. Developers of new affordable housing in the area will reconstruct the southeast corner of this intersection as part of the redevelopment of that site.

Construction barricades temporarily blocked the main entryway for the Hour Glass Pub at 7401 NE Glisan Street during concrete work on the northeast corner. Electricians installed conduit and mounting posts for new pedestrian crossing signal poles to replace the units currently mounted on a wood utility pole. Crews also installed updated storm drains near the curb ramps on each street’s edge. These wastewater inlets will handle extreme rain events better, keeping the corners clear of standing water.

This work will bring the intersection into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and better manage stormwater that sometimes floods this area of NE Glisan Street. Expect work to continue on the two westward sidewalk corners over the next month.

Article originally published September 25th, 2022

City engineers plan to improve three sidewalk corners at NE 74th Avenue and NE Glisan Street. Construction at the adjacent affordable housing project will reconstruct the fourth corner of this intersection sometime next year. Although curb ramps already exist at this intersection, they no longer conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards and need updating.

The NE Glisan Street crossing at 74th Avenue serves a crucial role in pedestrian and bicycle transit. The next closest controlled intersection is nearly 2,000 feet away in either direction. Only a Rapid Flash Beacon (RFB) at NE 78th Avenue provides any other protected crossing in the immediate area, and vehicles often fail to yield to people using those signals. The recorded audio at that RFB acknowledges this fact in its message. “Please use caution. Vehicles may not stop.” Consequentially, many non-automotive travelers use the 74th Avenue crossing.

Northwest corner of NE 74th Avenue and NE Glisan Street

The curb reconstruction work will relocate some stormwater drains and expand the sidewalk by extending the corner further into the street. However, this will not incorporate the curb extensions that reduce pedestrian crossing distances and place the sidewalk zone at the outer edge of the parking lane, similar to what crews constructed at NE 79th Avenue. Although those infrastructure features would likely make the intersection even safer, extended sidewalks would interfere with a nearby TriMet stop by blocking the bus as it pulls away from the curb.

The sidewalk updates to NE Glisan Street at NE 74th Avenue will increase the utility of this crossing for pedestrians by providing flush curb ramps and reducing the flooding seen at these corners during heavy rain. Look for work to begin in the next few months and anticipate minor detours while crews are on site.

Northeast corner of NE 74th Avenue and NE Glisan Street

Promotion: Montavilla News has a Patreon account. We invite those who can contribute to this local news source to please consider becoming a paid subscriber or sponsor. We will always remain free to read regardless of subscription.

Signaling Updates Begin on 82nd Ave

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) recently installed new speed reader signs on 82nd Avenue near McDaniel High School. These displays provide real-time feedback on how fast motorists travel and alert drivers to “Slow Down” when exceeding the speed limit. In addition to these visible updates, traffic engineers will soon upgrade signal control units at 18 intersections, allowing staff to dynamically adjust red light timing and reduce opportunities for drivers to speed through multiple crossings without stopping.

Most traffic signal equipment on 82nd Avenue is 20 years old and requires manual adjustments to change signal light timing. New traffic signal controllers utilize modern means for managing intersections by interconnecting the equipment with high-speed fiber optic communications. This technology permits PBOT systems to monitor performance remotely in real time and shorten the overall wait time for all people traveling through a crossing. Although vehicles may encounter more stops along 82nd Avenue after these adjustments, it should reduce wait times for pedestrians and cross traffic. Safety enhancements will come from PBOT’s implementation of pedestrian head-start signals at several locations throughout the corridor. That signal timing strategy improves the safety and visibility of pedestrians by giving people a walk signal several seconds before vehicle operators see a green light.

PBOT electrician installing a new traffic signal controller, NE 82nd Avenue. Image courtesy PBOT

These updates are just the beginning of a three-year critical update of 82nd Avenue’s infrastructure. They are part of an agreement reached by State and City officials while coordinating the former State highway’s transfer of ownership from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to PBOT. In Spring, PBOT will continue corridor-wide signal technology upgrades, with pedestrian and bicycle improvements. Plans include improvements to road signage and striping along the corridor. In the Summer, crews will begin construction on six new signalized pedestrian crossings and street lighting improvements along the seven-mile-long road. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) will start an 82nd Avenue paving project in the Fall south of the city limits that partially extends into the City of Portland up to SE Faster Road.

PBOT’s Critical Fixes project will continue through 2026 and is the first stage of extensive investments in 82nd Avenue. These upgrades will deliver basic safety and maintenance repairs to the corridor. PBOT, Oregon Metro, and TriMet are developing plans for substantial changes to 82nd Avenue after 2026. Those projects are in the early planning phase but will continue the momentum of safety and shared priority for all modes of transportation along one of Portland’s busiest roadways.

Disclosure: The author of this article serves on the Building a Better 82nd Community Advisory Board and the 82nd Avenue Business Association Board.

Promotion: Montavilla News has a Patreon account. We invite those who can contribute to this local news source to please consider becoming a paid subscriber or sponsor. We will always remain free to read regardless of subscription.

Gas Line Work Restricts SE Stark

Today, Monday the 9th, one lane of SE Stark Street is closed to traffic west of SE 80th Avenue as crews working with NW Natural service a buried natural gas line. Excavation equipment and crew vehicles are currently blocking the north travel lane of the street. The planned maintenance required an open trench in the parking lane in front of 7821 SE Stark Street. When work completes for the day, the roadway can fully reopen. However, the parking space over the worksite will require payment repairs.

Expect traffic pattern disruptions throughout the day and future road repairs in this area.

Promotion: Montavilla News has a Patreon account. We invite those who can contribute to this local news source to please consider becoming a paid subscriber or sponsor. We will always remain free to read regardless of subscription.

Jan 6th I-84 Closure at I-205

This weekend, Interstate 84 will close in both directions near the Interstate 205 interchange. Crews working on TriMet’s Better Red project will pour concrete for a new rail bridge that spans all lanes of I-84. Drivers will need to use detours around construction work from 10 p.m. Friday, January 6th, until 4 a.m. the following Sunday, January 8th. This project is weather dependent and subject to last-minute schedule changes.

The 30-hour freeway closure is necessary as cement masons work overhead on the new MAX light rail bridge. Crews will work all hours, creating the concrete surface for a single rail line and multi-use path. TriMet originally constructed this section of the MAX Red Line with a single track requiring the segment to clear before trains could travel in opposite directions. This upgrade will allow bi-directional transit to and from the Portland International Airport. Additionally, visitors to the Gateway Green bike park will have a new entrance closer to parking and transit.

Travelers intending to use I-84 should plan an alternate route and expect delays. The I-84 ramps to I-205 will remain open, and people driving west on I-84 are advised to take southbound I-205 as an alternate route. Drivers can merge back onto I-84 past the Gateway area. However, detours are likely to cause congestion. Motorists should plan for additional travel time. For more information, visit the project website or call 503-238-7433.

Yellow line indicating Jan 6th-8th closure of I-84. Image courtesy of TriMet

Promotion: Montavilla News has a Patreon account. We invite those who can contribute to this local news source to please consider becoming a paid subscriber or sponsor. We will always remain free to read regardless of subscription.

Sidewalk and Crossing Improvements Around Bridger School

Crews with Oregon Concrete Solutions are midway through a crosswalk improvement project on SE Market Street and 80th Avenue. These pedestrian improvements will add new Americans Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant curb ramps, slightly expanded corners, and better stormwater handling. Last week, workers reconstructed the northeast corner near Bridger School and will begin work on the northwest corner soon.

This work is part of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) maintenance program and completes improvements to this intersection made two years ago. Road Crews rebuilt the southern two corners of this intersection during the SE 80th Ave and Mill Street Local Improvement District (LID) project. That work was completed summer of 2020 and created modern sidewalk infrastructure from this intersection to Portland Community College’s Southeast campus. Adding compliant sidewalk corners on the north side of SE Market Street at 80th Avenue will extend accessible pathways to both schools and increase multimodal movement within the neighborhood.

PBOT recently completed two similar crossing reconstruction projects on the other side of Bridger School at SE 76th Avenue. That includes the SE Mill Street reconstruction at 76th and SE Market Street at SE 76th Avenue. New pre-construction road markings at SE Harrison Street and 76th Avenue indicate that City engineers are planning crossing improvements at that intersection. Crews will expand the northwest corner, reconstructing an ADA curb ramp further into the street. Across SE 76th Avenue, they will build a new mid-block curb ramp. This work will ensure that students and people of all mobility have a safe path to a frequented community destination.

Corner reconstruction markings at SE 76th and Harrison Street
Mid-block curb ramp markings on the east side of SE 76th at Harrison Street

Promotion: Montavilla News has a Patreon account. We invite those who can contribute to this local news source to please consider becoming a paid subscriber or sponsor. We will always remain free to read regardless of subscription.

Storm Darin Replacement on NE Glisan

This weekend workers with the City of Portland replaced an underperforming storm drain at NE Glisan Street and 69th Avenue. Construction vehicles blocked the westbound lane on NE Glisan, forcing motorists to use the center turn lane to navigate around the worksite. The increased water inlet grate of the new stormwater collector will help keep this intersection clear during heavy rain.

Image from Google Maps showing drain before upgrades

SE 92nd and Lincoln Crossing with Protected Lanes

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) recently reconfigured a section of SE 92nd Avenue at SE Lincoln Street during phase one of a Safe Routes to School project. Workers updated the parking configuration and restricted travel lanes to create a safer bike path and improve pedestrian visibility while crossing the busy street. Traffic engineers placed round concrete diverters, narrowing the roadway and providing protection for cyclists. However, those imposing yellow barriers already show signs of shifting from their prescribed place.

The oneway turnout from the southbound lane on SE 92nd Avenue

In 2017, during the Safe Routes to School outreach process, school community members identified this crossing as an essential connection for students and families accessing Harrison Park School. SE 92nd Avenue widens considerably at Lincoln Street, making it challenging for pedestrians to cross. People often use the shortest crossing point on the street to minimize their exposure to vehicles. However, a slight curve in the road obscures crossing pedestrians from view at several natural crossing points along this intersection. Additionally, the ample lane width and wide shoulder at this intersection allowed vehicles to travel at high speeds. Traffic studies note that wider roadways without physical obstructions at the shoulder facilitate faster driving.

Concrete filled diverter shifted off its mark and partially blocking the bike lane

During the first phase of work, PBOT crews placed 11 round traffic diverters created from concrete-pipe segments. Workers positioned three yellow-painted barriers on the east side of SE 92nd Avenue and four on the west side near where PBOT plans to install a marked crosswalk protected by a raised crossing island. Four other traffic diverters are now on the west side of SE 92nd Avenue, defining the separation between the main roadway and a oneway turnout. Although the concrete barriers possess a significant weight, the furthest southeast concrete-filled diverter was shifted off its painted assigned space and now partially blocks the bike lane. It is unknown if a collision or intentional displacement caused this movement or if it is only awaiting final repositioning by PBOT.

Crews will return in Spring 2023 to install new curb ramps, sidewalks, raised pedestrian island, and two crosswalks. Until road crews complete those safety improvements, users of this intersection should remain cautious while crossing SE 92nd Avenue near Lincoln Street.

Illustrated satellite view courtesy PBOT
  1. Build a segment of sidewalk and three new curb ramps on the NW and SW corners of the intersection 
  2. Mark crosswalks across SE Lincoln and SE 92nd Ave
  3. Build a concrete island in the SE 92nd Ave crosswalk to provide a waiting space for people walking
  4. Tighten turning radius to slow southbound vehicles turning right from SE 92nd onto SE Lincoln
  5. Separate automobile and bicycle travel lanes with concrete barriers
  6. Extend the east side bike lane through the intersection
  7. Adjust parking spaces by: removing six (6) legal parking spaces, but adding four (4) new legal parking spaces. This will be a total change of removing two (2).

Promotion: Montavilla News has a Patreon account. We invite those who can contribute to this local news source to please consider becoming a paid subscriber or sponsor. We will always remain free to read regardless of subscription.

Public Trash Cans Coming to NE Portland

The next wave of public trash cans will hit Portland’s streets early in 2023 as new receptacles arrive from the manufacturer. A year ago, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) installed trash cans throughout SE Portland, including parts of Montavilla. Now city staff are preparing for the NE expansion and need the public’s help in determining the placement of those rubbish containers. People can take the online survey now but must submit their entries by Monday, December 19th.

In 2016, the Portland City Council authorized an expansion of the public trash program through a tax on the solid waste commercial tonnage fee. By June 2017, Portland’s Jade District received new waste receptacles as part of a pilot program. In 2020, East Portland neighborhoods began receiving new trash cans. By 2023, the BPS will have added 150 new City-provided and serviced trash cans to NE Portland, bringing the total available receptacles in the quadrant to 215.

Trash can delivery, image courtesy BPS

Each 65-gallon trash can stands 4.5 feet tall and has a three-by-three-foot footprint. On narrow sidewalks, BPS will deploy a smaller 35-gallon can. Many units have a side attachment for beverage bottles, making them accessible to community members looking to collect the deposit. The City intends to contract with a woman or minority-owned trash hauler to empty the containers twice a week.

When suggesting locations for the new cans, BPS staff remind participants that trash cans must reside on public sidewalks and cannot be placed in parking lots or other private property. They also want to prioritize natural gathering spaces near businesses, schools, and intersections.

BPS map showing potential trash can placement

Promotion: Montavilla News has a Patreon account. We invite those who can contribute to this local news source to please consider becoming a paid subscriber or sponsor. We will always remain free to read regardless of subscription.

E Burnside Sewer Repair at 75th Ave

Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) crews are currently digging a trench down the center of E Burnside Street between 75th and 76th Avenues. This work will address an urgent sewer maintenance situation. Traffic cones and signs are diverting drivers and bicyclists into the parking lane to get around the heavy equipment in the center of the roadway. Drivers should use caution over the next week as work progresses.

This unplanned utility work came about due to a reported issue at a residence. “Our crews were responding to a sewer malfunction in the 7500 block of East Burnside when they decided to proactively check other lines in the area,” explained Dylan Rivera, a Public Information Officer with PBOT. Initially, responding PBOT staff determined the sewer lines needed routine repairs. However, “upon further inspection, we found that repairs need to be done right away to prevent the potential for sewer backups or other disruptions.”

PBOT staff quickly planned the repair, placing No Parking signs along both sides of E Burnside street between 75th and 78th Avenues late last week. These temporary notices prohibited curbside parking during the weekday, allowing road crews the added space to redirect vehicles around the worksite. Rivera noted that, as with any road work, drivers need to adjust their speed and pay attention while driving near the worksite. “For the safety of our crews and other travelers in the area, we ask the public to slow down and use caution when they are passing near the work zone.”

Road work in this area will continue through the week with continued closures of parking lanes and bike lanes on E Burnside street. However, PBOT expects both travel lanes to remain open during the project. After crews complete the sewer repairs, PBOT will patch the road’s concrete base. Drivers should expect to see sections of the road covered by steel plates as the concrete is curing. It is recommended that all vehicles slow down and use caution when driving over plates.

PBOT will need to return to this area to repave the street and restore the road surface. Planners will schedule crews for that phase of the project at a later date.

Smaller LID Maintains Sidewalk Gaps

Yesterday, the Portland City Council amended the SE 89th Ave and Taylor St Local Improvement District (LID) proposal, removing all but one private residence and significantly reducing the scope of infrastructure upgrades. The original LID included the construction of new curbs and sidewalks on both sides of SE 89th Avenue adjacent to Berrydale Park. The LID would have also added sidewalks on the south side of SE Taylor Street from 92nd Avenue to 98th Avenue. The amendments refocussed the LID on pedestrian improvements around the Park’s boundary, including just one home that sits between Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) owned lots.

Portland’s Local Improvement District Administrator, Andrew Aebi, recommended this change based on feedback from the homeowners initially included in the LID. Aebi explained that most potential LID members he communicated with opposed the $24,000 LID contribution. Local Improvement Districts form when a majority of property owners in an area elect to pool private funds with the City of Portland, sharing the new infrastructure expense. In early versions of the SE 89th Ave and Taylor St LID, several City bureaus covered an outsized portion of construction cost compared to private property owners. However, even the subsidized infrastructure investment exceeded what some affected homeowners felt they could afford.

Amended SE 89th & Taylor LID area

When the project first appeared at Portland City Council on October 12th, neighbors had already mobilized a combined opposition to the LID. Those efforts continued over the next month, with residents contacting Aebi and media outlets. The ordinance returned to the Mayor and City Commissioners on December 7th with proposed amendments that all but unraveled the LID but gained the support of the original LID participants. City Council approved the amendments and will hold the final vote on December 14th after a second reading.

The original scope of the proposal will remain with the ordinance. The now-approved amendments remove participant obligations and reduce planned work. Aebi recommended this approach to save time and retain a record of the process. Scrapping the LID would force PP&R back to the public works permitting process, delaying Berrydale Park’s renovation planned for Spring 2024. City staff also felt it important that future home buyers know an attempt to provide sidewalk infrastructure occurred. The houses that would have participated in the LID will have a $0 obligation recorded against the property referencing this LID, but they will not receive any upgrades. The lone participating private residence at 9020 SE Taylor Street will gain a sidewalk, and the owners are obligated to contribute $23,959.55 to the project’s cost.

Original SE 89th & Taylor LID

As amended, the SE 89th Ave and Taylor St LID will repave a portion of SE 89th Avenue and provide a disconnected sidewalk along the Park’s edge. However, it fails to create any measurable improvement to this area’s poor pedestrian infrastructure. Residents using SE 89th Avenue in anything other than a car face significant challenges. Pedestrians using SE Taylor Street will continue crossing over to the north side of the street for sidewalk access. Without the improvements to the northwest corner of the Park’s block, people requiring a walkway will need to travel through Berrydale Park on the new paths created during the Park’s renovations.

Image courtesy Portland Parks & Recreation

According to Andrew Aebi, opposition to the LID was based on costs alone. In his presentation to City Council, he explained that most remonstrances mentioned support for curbs and sidewalks, but not at the proposed price. That observation highlights the problem with infrastructure improvement models that require private funding. Lower-priced houses without sidewalks or paved streets sometimes attract buyers without extra income for upgrades. That creates streets of people who opt out of LIDs due to budgetary constraints. The City Council members and Aebi understood the financial burden this LID placed on these homeowners. The introduction and adoption of the amendments reflect that understanding. However, for non-participate supporters of the LID, this change denies them access to sidewalks, and they are left wondering how improvements will ever occur on their street.

There is no current solution to Portland’s sidewalk funding shortfall. New home builders must construct sidewalks with their projects or pay a Local Transportation Infrastructure Charge (LTIC). Property owners must pay to keep their sidewalks in good repair and accessible for people of all mobility needs. Eventually, homeowners on unimproved streets or places that lack sidewalks will have to pay for the creation of those street amenities. The timing of that is uncertain as City officials and citizens struggle with when to demand property owners pay for that infrastructure. For now, City leaders have passed that decision on to the next generation of homeowners.

Promotion: Montavilla News has a Patreon account. We invite those who can contribute to this local news source to please consider becoming a paid subscriber or sponsor. We will always remain free to read regardless of subscription.