Tag: PBOT

Crossing Beacon Destroyed (Again)

For the second time this year, an automobile collision has destroyed the center pedestrian crossing beacon on NE Glisan Street at NE 78th Ave. The curbside flashing indicators continue to function at the crosswalk, alerting motorists of the need to stop. The number of crashes involving this highly visible sign indicates the necessity for pedestrian protections on Glisan.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) plans to repair the broken beacon soon. However, city engineers have no design changes pending for this intersection. Hannah Schafer, a Communications Coordinator with PBOT, explained, “there are no substantive changes planned to the existing rapid flashing beacon equipment. This type of damage is unfortunate but not uncommon.”

PBOT changed the design for newer beacons in certain conditions similar to this intersection. Up the street from this crossing, at NE 87th Ave, crews installed overhead beacons that extend out above the traffic lanes. This design avoids installing an electrified center column in the median, reducing the repair costs for damages but does not prevent vehicles from colliding with the standard sign poles used instead.

Crossing at NE 87th Ave with overhead beacons that extend out above the traffic lanes

Despite continued damage at this intersection, the effect of visible crossings is still positive. Designers of crossing infrastructure seek to protect people, not PBOT property. The attention pedestrians receive from flashing lights likely saves lives. Unquestionably more work is needed to reduce the impact of distracted and impaired drivers. However, these repeated crashes are not proof of design failure. They instead indicate that PBOT has more work to do in keeping Portlanders safe on the streets.

NE Glisan and 78th Ave before collision
NE Glisan and 78th Ave after collision

Pedestrian Improvements on SE 88th

A cluster of curb-ramp installations is underway on SE 88th Ave. Crews are reconstructing eight corners along the roadway at the intersections of SE Morrison Street and SE Alder Street. The rebuilt corners feature expanded paved pedestrian waiting areas. Engineers are selectively replacing portions of the connecting sidewalks for better surface alignment. This project is part of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) efforts to increase the network of accessible pedestrian infrastructure.

Two of the four completed corners at SE Morrison Street and SE 88th Ave

SE 88th Ave is one of the many paths to the Creative Science School and the Harrison Park School. Routs to public parks and schools top PBOT’s priority list when identifying infrastructure in need of an upgrade. As children return to in-person learning, these improvements will aid in a safe and comfortable commute.

Curb reconstruction markings on SE Alder Street at SE 88th Ave
Curb reconstruction markings on SE Alder Street at SE 88th Ave

Legislative Focus on 82nd Ave

This week, news crews were in Montavilla recording a KGW report. That news segment examined a renewed interest in transferring responsibility for 82nd Ave to the City of Portland. 82nd Ave is also State Highway OR-213 and maintained by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). Maintenance of that roadway is suffering from neglect under ODOT’s management, and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is willing to assume responsibility for the street’s maintenance. However, before that happens, ODOT must repair and update the highway to modern standards. Otherwise, the deferred maintenance costs would overwhelm PBOT’s budget.

In 2018, ODOT entered into a memorandum of understanding with PBOT that identified nearly $200 million in repairs and safety upgrades required before PBOT could take ownership of 82nd Ave. Until recently, the memorandum is the farthest the transfer process has progressed.

KGW’s report focused on House Bill 2744, which is working its way through the Oregon legislature. The bill instructs the Director of Transportation to require each region specified in the Act to conduct jurisdictional transfer evaluations and then present their findings to the Joint Committee on Transportation. It also would establish an Oregon Highway Jurisdictional Transfer Fund to pay repair and upgrade costs needed to enact the transfers. If approved, this could mean a transfer of 82nd Ave would commence in just a few years.

House Bill 2744 is not the only piece of legislation that could affect 82nd Ave. An amendment to HB 3065 would transfer 82nd Ave to PBOT with a twenty-five percent reimbursement for the repairs and upgrades needed. PBOT’s Director Chris Warner drafted a letter to Oregon State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation regarding that amendment. Warner makes clear that a quarter of the required funding would not be acceptable to PBOT. He suggested that it would be an appropriate downpayment on repairs and upgrades but not sufficient for PBOT to accept the transfer.

The increased attention from Salem legislators towards 82nd Ave could indicate changes will come to the roadway relatively soon. As businesses invest in properties along the busy street, people will use the sidewalks and crosswalks with increasing numbers. Portland has worked to enhance the edges of the highway through the 82nd Avenue Plan. However, that requires substantial construction before triggering sidewalk expansion and reconstruction. A jurisdictional transfer is accepted as the best method to improve conditions on 82nd Ave. The cost has always been the barrier. It seems Oregon’s lawmakers could finally move past that obstacle with funding from House Bill 2744. Meaning that positive change on 82nd Ave could be just a few years away.


Cover Photo by Weston Ruter

New Corner on 92nd and Market

Reconstruction of the first of four street corners at SE Market Street and 92nd Ave completed construction last week. The work is part of the East Portland Access to Employment and Education project that starts at this intersection and extends east to 130th Ave. Crews recently completed a nearby sidewalk infill as part of this project.

Portland Bureau of Transportation project plans shows alterations to all four corners at this intersection. However, this recently completed southwest street corner and ramps differ from the design documents. The southern ramp is located further down the street in alignment with the corner across SE 92nd Ave in those plans. The completed corner replicates the existing crosswalk access that is not aligned perpendicular to the curb. Crossings at 90-degree angles to the curb are important to sight-impaired pedestrians.

Image from EPAEE Detailed Plans. Courtesy PBOT

Any upgrade to this intersection is a vast improvement to existing conditions. However, the proposed street corners would create safer and more accessible crossings. Plans feature extended curbs to shorten crossing distance and increase pedestrian visibility, in addition to optimum crosswalk alignment. Ideally, the completed intersection will better match the proposed design.

Awkward Sidewalk Infill on SE Market

Crews recently installed new sidewalks on SE Market Street, creating a connected path for pedestrians. The project linked a patchwork of disconnected walkways from SE 92nd Ave to the I205 overpass. Many properties never had sidewalks, being constructed before that was required. Consequentially, the infill work often had to cut around fixed obstacles that were previously only in a yard.

On the south side of Market Street, a fire hydrant protrudes from the new sidewalk, creating an awkward path. A distracted pedestrian could easily collide with this cast iron pillar centered on the narrow walkway. A slight bulge in the pavement allows strollers and wheelchairs enough width to navigate around the hydrant. It is functional but not an ideal solution for the safe navigation of the street.

All other infill sidewalk sections carefully expanded the road’s edge, with modest intrusions onto residential poverties. Removal of a tree and shrubs occurred on a handful of properties to make room for the pavement. For the yards with a grade above the sidewalk level, crews created short retaining walls. 

Most pedestrians will appreciate these new sidewalks and the other improvements coming to Market Street. The slightly awkward path is better for pedestrians than being forced to walk on the street’s edge. Walking SE Market Street is significantly safer and accessible thanks to this work.

Curb Ramps on SE Morrison

New curb ramps are coming to the intersection of SE Morrison Street and SE 88th Ave. Sections of the sidewalk leading up to the corners will receive some repairs. Due to the larger furnishing zone on these streets, each corner will have two long ramps with a gradual slope.

This project is part of The Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) continuing efforts to improve access to sidewalks for all people, regardless of their mobility needs. The white-painted markings are not indicative of imminent work. They can often proceed a project by several months. However, PBOT applied these street markings many weeks ago. Hopefully, crews will begin work here soon, making a more functional intersection.

Intersection looking north

Intersection looking west

Clearing Frozen Roads

Freezing rain, snow, and ice have shut down most of Portland this holiday weekend. Saturday saw near-empty streets and completely halted TriMet routes. However, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) crew are out today clearing roads, and TriMet is back to limited service.

To inform travelers about street clearing and de-icing efforts, PBOT created a live map of their activities. It displays the location of plows, salt trucks, and deicer vehicles on a map of Portland. The map also indicates what roads are a priority to treat or clear. This information will help drivers plan a trip that uses those priority roads. Knowing the last time a plow truck came through will help people select the safest travel window to venture out. Regardless of PBOT efforts, only drive if you have to, as the treated roads are not entirely safe.

Trimet Buses are moving along their snow routes, although a bit slower than usual. The winter weather enabled TriMet to use one of its newest addition to some Montavilla bus stops. The 13-inch ePaper display installed at select bus shelters informed riders of Saturday’s suspension of service. Now they are displaying updated schedules. If you plan to use TriMet to get where you are going, it is best to visit their website for the most accurate information about schedules and routes. Not too many bus shelters have ePaper digital displays yet.

The weather will warm by mid-week, melting the snow before too long. Many residents ventured out and enjoyed the winter weather, but not everyone appreciated the disruption. If possible, show some extra support to local businesses that had to close for the storm. They will need to make up for lost days of revenue during an already lean time.

Presentations at Next MNA Meeting

Next Monday, three groups will present information on projects that are shaping Montavilla’s future. Representatives from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT)African Youth & Community Organization (AYCO), and Metro will discuss their plans at the February 8th Montavilla Neighborhood Associations (MNA) meeting. Attendees will learn how they can participate in the process and hear details regarding the neighborhood improvements.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 PM via Zoom. Event registration is found at the MNA website or directly through this link

The first presenters are sharing plans for an improved NE Halsey street, from 68th to 92nd Ave. Nicole Peirce, Capital Project Manager for PBOT, will present information regarding safer intersections and better access for non-motorists. Joining Peirce is the project manager for the 70s Bikeway project. Both projects cross through Montavilla and will vastly improve universal mobility in the area.

Jamal Dar, Executive Director for AYCO, will share information about his group’s mission to offer support services and youth mentoring for the African immigrant and refugee community. This organization serves a growing population of people with East Africa origins in their recently opened center on NE 74th Ave.

Metro representatives Choya Renata and Patrick McLaughlin will present information regarding proposed low-income housing at the former TBN Site. Two years from now, Montavilla will gain 120 to 150 new households on NE Glisan Street. In a partnership between Metro and the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB), the former Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) site will transform into affordable housing. Metro will present their community outreach process at the meeting and further outline the project’s scope.


Disclosure: The author of this article serves on the NMA Board

Glisan Crossing Light Repaired at 78th

This week, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) crews replaced the pedestrian crossing signal on NE Glisan Street at 78th Ave. The light sustained damage the previous week due to a vehicle collision at the intersection. No serious injuries were reported.

The incident occurred at 11:43 pm on January 22nd, 2021. Based on skid marks and the direction of bent mounting bolts, the vehicle was traveling east. Tire marks on top of the pedestrian safety island indicate the automobile drove in the center lane before colliding with the signal pole. An oil spill located in the intersection shows where the damaged vehicle came to a stop after the accident.

A traffic cone protects wiring exposed by the removed single pole

This intersection is dangerous for pedestrians trying to cross NE Glisan. Both PBPOT and the Portland Police Bureau have coordinated on crosswalk enforcement actions at this intersection before. However, collisions continue to be an issue on this section of NE Glisan Street. Fortunately, the signal is replaced and functional again. Although not perfect, the flashing lights give pedestrians crossing Glisan some added protection.

Oil absorbent power coating site of vehicle collision

New Sidewalks and Bike Lanes on Market Street

UPDATE – Crews are beginning work on SE Market Street’s sidewalks and corners. Expect some disruption to normal traffic patterns during the next few weeks.


Original story from December 17th, 2020.

Continuous sidewalks and bike lanes are coming to SE Market street as part of a Greenway expansion program. Starting at SE 92nd Ave, improvements on Market street will extend east to 130th Ave. This work includes Curb Extensions and new Curb Ramps along the project’s path.

The East Portland Access to Employment and Education project is principally focused east of Montavilla. Market Street is one of a handful of East Portland streets that cross over Interstate 205 (I205). Consequently, it’s heavily used by cars, bikes, and pedestrians trying to cross the freeway. Although there are some sidewalk segments between 92nd Ave and the overpass, they are not continuous. East of I205, sidewalks become less consistent on Market Street.

SE Market street will gain bike lanes starting just before the freeway overpass heading east. The new safe bike route will connect with the future 4M Neighborhood Greenway in the outer Southeast. Sidewalk infill on SE Market Street will branch out north on SE Cherry Blossom Drive towards SE Washington Street. At completion, these projects will add approximately 75 new ADA ramps.

The intersection of 92nd Ave and Market Street is the only Montavilla location receiving new ramps as part of this construction. Reconstruction of the northwest and southeast corners will add Curb Extensions to the sidewalk. Curb Extensions extend the sidewalk area into the parking lane, making pedestrians increasingly visible to cars before they cross. Additionally, they shorten the distance of a crosswalk for the pedestrian.

These improvements will make another safe crossing point over I205 and help residents connect with neighborhoods and services to the east. This section of Montavilla is quickly becoming a dense traffic area during peak travel times. Hopefully, this project will improve conditions and give people alternatives to driving when navigating these streets.

Curb Extensions and new ramps at intersection

Detailed construction prints are available here.