Tag: PBOT

Pedestrian Improvements on SE 88th

After six months, crews have returned to SE 88th Ave to complete the curb-ramp installation work. Like a project one block away at Morrison Street, this will construct four new corners on 88th Ave at Alder Street. Workers installed wood forms on the two northern corners and will soon pour new concrete. When completed, crews will next focus on the southern corners at this intersection.

Looking north on SE Alder Street at SE 88th Ave

Original article from April 26th, 2021

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

The Barrier to Green Medians

SE Division Street is undergoing significant updates from 80th Ave towards 174th Ave. In addition to numerous safety enhancements, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) will replace a continuous painted center turn-lane with a raised center median. Adding these dividers to busy streets provides substantial public benefit. They restrict left turn traffic to predictable places, protect crossing pedestrians, and provide space for added street trees. Perhaps more than the other benefits, community members enthusiastically awaited the expanded green spaces proposed for the center of this project. Unfortunately, PBOT is unable to provide most of the trees intended for SE Division Street.

Adding trees between multiple lanes of opposing traffic has several advantages. Visually it reduces the width of a road and can help reduce speeds by changing the character of a street. Additionally, generations of road designers have valued the sunshade and wind-breaking benefits that median trees provide. Consequential, PBOT staff intended to incorporate large numbers of trees into the Division Street redesign. However, decades of city infrastructure buried underground derailed plans to add them to the center of the road. “We originally planned on adding trees in all of the center medians coming to SE Division. However, during the design phase, we learned that the majority of proposed tree locations would be in conflict with an underground major water transmission line and also sewer infrastructure in certain areas.” Explained John Brady, Communications Director with PBOT.

Image courtesy of PBOT

PBOT will not forgo all center medians trees on SE Division. In total, crews will plant twenty new trees in the middle of the road at locations that do not conflict with underground utility lines. Montavilla will have a small cluster of trees between SE 84th and 85th Avenues. Crews will start construction on that segment of median in the coming weeks.

SE Division looking west towards 82nd Ave

Because PBOT cannot provide the expected number of trees in this project, Brady said they are shifting that portion of the work out to neighboring streets. “Since we are not able to plant as many trees as originally planned on SE Division, we will be working with the City’s Urban Forestry division to fund a planting project on adjacent side streets north and south of SE Division.” That project will add over 200 street trees within the public right-of-way. Tree planting work will occur in 2022 and 2023. Brady concedes that this is a compromise to PBOT’s original vision. “We recognize this won’t have the same effect as adding trees directly on SE Division Street, but it will help with overall air quality, stormwater management, and combating the heat sink in this part of East Portland.”

The twenty new street trees on SE Division will not be alone forever. As properties redevelop along the roadway, the City will require the construction of wider sidewalks with street trees. This approach will take decades to achieve the same green-scape initially imagined for the busy street’s renovation. However, it is the best option available at the moment. Perhaps as City engineers plan new utility line projects, they will consider shifting infrastructure away from the center, allowing for future planting of greenery between the vast expanses of pavement.

Expect Traffic Congestion this Weekend

Starting this Friday at 10 PM, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) will close most of I84 between I5 and I205. This closure will extend throughout the weekend, potentially diverting increased traffic through Montavilla as motorists find alternative routes. Residents should plan ahead and allow for extra travel time over the next three days. Additionally, use caution on neighborhood roads as overflow traffic could travel via uncommon routes.

The rare I84 closure is necessary to allow construction cranes to lift the long span of a new bridge into place. After more than a year of construction, the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) Congressman Earl Blumenauer Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge is ready for the next phase of installation. Heavy-lift specialists will slowly maneuver the approximately 450,000 lb. and 400-foot-long bridge over Sullivan’s Gulch. Progress of the big lift project will be viewable online via a live web camera.

The closure begins tonight, Friday, October 8th, and continues until 5 AM Monday morning. Road crews will block all westbound I84 traffic starting at I205. In the other direction, crews will barricade I84 eastbound ramps from I5. The eastbound on-ramp from Northeast Grand Avenue is also closed. The on-ramp from Northeast 16th Avenue will periodically reopen to eastbound traffic during the weekend. However, drivers shouldn’t depend on its availability. On-ramps east of, and including Cesar Chavez Boulevard, will remain open.

Despite many public notices regarding the closure, some drivers are likely to be confused, creating traffic congestion around I84. If traveling this weekend, check TripCheck.com or mobile map apps for the latest conditions. Otherwise, this may be an excellent weekend to remain close to home or head out of town early.


I-84 eastbound

All I-84 eastbound lanes will close from I-5 to Cesar Chavez Boulevard, including:

  • The ramps to I-84 from northbound and southbound I-5.
  • The eastbound on-ramp from Northeast Grand Avenue, closing at 5 a.m. Friday.
  • The eastbound on-ramp from Northeast 16th Avenue, will periodically open.

The eastbound on-ramp from Cesar Chavez Boulevard will remain open. On-ramps east of Cesar Chavez Boulevard will also remain open.

I-84 westbound

All I-84 westbound lanes will close at Interstate 205 including:

  • The ramps from northbound and southbound I-205.
  • The on-ramp from Northeast Halsey Street, near 82nd Avenue.
  • The on-ramp from Northeast Glisan Street, near 58th Avenue
  • The on-ramp from Northeast Sandy Boulevard.
  • The on-ramp from Northeast 33rd Avenue.
  • The ramps to northbound and southbound I-5.

Road Safety Enhanced on 82nd and Beyond

Earlier this year, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) approved $3.35 million worth of safety projects along 82nd Ave. While ODOT crews worked on some of those improvements near SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland’s Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) staff were busy installing new stop signs six blocks away. Both projects are a response to years of automobile collisions and unsafe pedestrian crossings in the area.

Work is complete at the pedestrian island on SE 82nd Ave at SE Hawthorne Blvd. Previously, the half-island created a raised curb in the center lane blocking southbound traffic from colliding with a crossing person paused in the middle lane. ODOT crews have now added a similarly raised concrete pad to protect the pedestrian from northbound vehicles. The expanded center island also blocks left turns by drivers traveling east on SE Hawthorne Blvd. Before traffic engineers updated this intersection, a left-turning car could strike someone on the center island or crossing the northbound lanes of 82nd Ave. A new Right Turn Only sign is posted on the intersection’s southwest corner, alerting drivers to the recently installed obstruction.

New “Right Turn Only” sign at SE Hawthorne Blvd heading east

ODOT crews closed several nearby crosswalks to divert pedestrians crossing 82nd Ave towards the new safer crossing point. A few feet away from the enhanced crosswalk, staff installed an electronic speed sign. ODOT is installing these yellow “your Speed” displays at several spots along 82nd Ave. They are SpeedCheck® brand signs made by Carmanah Technologies. Using radar, they indicate the current speed of the closest vehicle and present a “Slow Down” message for people traveling over the posted speed limit.

SpeedCheck® sign showing true speed to southbound drivers on SE 82nd Ave

Nearby ODOT’s project, PBOT addressed two neighborhood streets that have needed updates for years. Crews installed four new stop signs at the intersections of SE Salmon and SE Taylor Streets along 78th Ave. Previously both intersections were uncontrolled and had no stop signs in any direction. Now divers must stop when heading north-south on SE 78th Ave at SE Salmon Street. Additionally, cars driving east-west on SE Taylor Street will now need to stop at SE 78th Ave.

New eastbound stop sign at SE 78th Ave and SE Taylor Street

One resident explained that they have tried for over 20 years to have these stops signs installed by PBOT. During just the last twelve months, he counted seven accidents occurring in front of his home. One incident destroyed his 100-year-old Walnut Tree. He and his neighbors continuously pushed the issue with Portland City officials. For three months, the group called the City to report their concern. They had almost lost hope. However, their persistence paid off, and they now have the stop signs they have wanted for years.

New northbound stop sign at SE Salmon Street and SE 78th Ave

Collisions and traffic fatalities have significantly increased over the last two years, but Portland has many areas that have seen decades of hazardous conditions. Although slower than many residents would like, transportation officials are now working to address those high-risk areas and make a safer neighborhood for everyone.

New southbound stop sign at SE Salmon Street and SE 78th Ave

SE Division Turn-Lane Reconfigured

This month, construction crews began lane reconfiguration work on SE Division Street near SE 92nd Ave. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) will replace a continuous painted center turn-lane with physical separation and left turn controls. Portions of the center divider will transform into a raised median with street trees and pedestrian islands. This work is part of the Outer Division Safety Project and the Division Transit Project.

Out past 82nd Ave, SE Division Street features five lanes dedicated to automobiles traffic. Two lanes accommodate vehicles traveling westbound, and two are for eastbound traffic. The fifth lane is a multi-directional turn-lane used for short distances while executing a turn. PBOT determined that a significant number of crashes occurred to vehicles using the turn-lane. By adding a raised center median to SE Division, PBOT expects to reduce collisions between cars and produce safer pedestrian crosswalks.

Example of marked left turn space. Image courtesy of PBOT

Creating a raised median will change how drivers access businesses and side streets. The continuous divider will restrict left turns along the road except for designated areas. Drivers needing to access a location on the left side of the road may need to drive past their destination and execute a U-Turn at a marked left turn space. This configuration confines cross-traffic to specific locations and eliminates head-on collisions by cars using the turn-lane simultaneously.

Image courtesy of TriMet

Non-motorists will also benefit from the raised median. A lane-width divider will provide a mid-crossing island for pedestrians to safely wait for cars to stop. This protective space allows two shorter crossings and reduces the length of time both directions of traffic need to stop when yielding to foot traffic. Additionally, bicycle commuters will be less vulnerable to unexpected cross-traffic with the new configuration. The raised median does not resolve all bicycle collision issues. However, it will reduce those interactions to marked intersections where there should be better visibility.

Work on SE Division will continue until the Summer of 2022. Look for disruptions to normal traffic flow over the coming months as crews install the permeant median. Drivers and pedestrians should use extra caution in this area as people adjust to the new configuration.

Five Minute Fast Stop on Stark

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) posted a new sign on SE Stark Street near 81st Ave this week. The purple and white parking indicator is part of a new pilot project by the city to offer permanent five-minute free parking zones for quick drop-offs and pickups. Similar to the new Slow Streets planters, this is a pandemic-inspired program adopted into continual use.

These short-term parking spaces began as part of PBOT’s successful Healthy Businesses program to support businesses amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Starting this month, PBOT is piloting these five-minute zones in five locations throughout the city with the intention to deploy them citywide. A motorist can park in these spaces to accomplish any task that takes five minutes or less. City staff envisions these spaces supporting local businesses by allowing customers to pick up take-out food or provide delivery drivers a reliable place to park during their rounds. Taxi, Uber, or Lyft vehicles could also use these spaces to cut down on double parking and pickup confusion.

Image courtesy of PBOT

The four other 5 Minute Fast Stop pilot locations are on Mississippi Street, NW 23rd Avenue, SE Division Street, and SW Harvey Milk Street. PBOT offers a map featuring the five locations on the program’s website. That page will update if the program expands to more places. With the new signs now posted, PBOT intends to study the performance of these pilot locations to make sure they are working as intended. As part of the evaluation process, PBOT will survey community members, businesses, private for-hire drivers, and other gig economy workers about their experience with these short-term parking spaces.

Montavilla is part of a small group of locations in this pilot project. Residents now have a unique opportunity to participate in a test that could reshape parking throughout Portland. On your next visit to Montavilla Town for a short visit, consider parking in the new space and then provide feedback to PBOT about your experience when the survey becomes available.

 

Permanent Slow Streets

Over the coming months, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) will install permanent traffic calming measures at select intersections. These concrete planters will replace some temporary road construction barrels installed throughout Portland as part of the Slow Streets Program back in May of 2020. The program converted low-traffic streets and neighborhood greenways into “local access only” Slow Streets during the pandemic. Since that time, PBOT received over 2,000 public comments, with a large majority supporting the impacts on affected streets.

Seven intersections within Montavilla will have their temporary Slow Streets installations made permanent. On SE Stephens Street, crews will place cement planters at the east entry of 76th Ave. Two more near Harrison Park will sit on the north and south side of Stephens Street at SE 87th Ave. Two on SE Mill street at 92nd Ave and 82nd Ave will mark the entrance to that Slow Street. Permeant planters will also mark the north entrance to NE 71st Ave off E Burnside and the south entrance of NE 87th Ave from NE Glisan. PBOT made a complete map of current and future Slow Streets available to the public online.

The installation of concrete planters is not meant to stop automotive access to streets but instead transform traffic on those roads. Slow Streets limit access to people with an intended destination in the area, cutting down on pass-through vehicle traffic. Additionally, signs placed in the planters will display a new lower speed for the road. PBOT believes reducing the number of cars on these streets, and the rate at which they travel will make the street safer for bicyclists, pedestrians, and other recreational activities.

PBOT crews have already installed some of these permanent concrete planters. Over the following months, expect to see more temporary Slow Streets transform into their final configuration and plan for some brief traffic disruptions as crews work on the project. Depending on the further success of this program, BPOT will consider expanding to other similar streets in the neighborhood.

New Fire Hydrants on SE 82nd Ave

Beginning last week, crews with the Portland Water Bureau (PWB) opened up portions of 82nd Ave to repair damage to the water main and install two new fire hydrants. Over the weekend, open trench construction diverted all traffic onto the southbound lanes, reducing five lanes down to two. Work focused on a short section of SE 82nd Ave from E Burnside Street to SE Pine Street.

Installation of the fire hydrants is part of the PWB Hydrant Asset Management Plan. However, the project’s timeline moved up to coincide with unplanned maintenance to damaged pipes. “This was an emergency repair to a leaking two-inch galvanized water main,” explained Jaymee Cuti, Public Information Officer with the Portland Water Bureau. With the street opened for leak repair, crews could accomplish both projects simultaneously.

New fire hydrant east side of SE 82nd Ave at 110 SE 82nd Ave.

One new hydrant is on the southeast corner of SE 82nd Ave and SE Ash Street. The second unit is positioned mid-block in front of 110 SE 82nd Ave. The added fire hydrants shorten the distance between fire-engine connection points on 82nd Ave, safeguarding the growing number of businesses in the area by providing continuous water to firefighters.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) assisted the PWB in restoring the roadway to a drivable condition. Construction has disrupted traffic in the area, but the confined work site prevented wide-reaching congestion. All traffic disruptions should clear by Tuesday.

New hydrants shown as red dots, existing hydrants are blue dots
New fire hydrant east side of SE 82nd Ave on the southeast corner of Ash Street
PBOT owned LeeBoy Asphalt Paver
Crews repairing roadway

Montavilla’s New Public Plaza

Starting today, a small portion of SE 79th Ave north of SE Stark Street is transforming into a Public Plaza. Montavilla East Tabor Business Association (METBA) will create the car-free gathering space as part of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) Safe Streets Initiative. The program designates safe outdoor areas in neighborhoods across Portland, connecting communities and supporting economic recovery.

The Plaza will open to the public starting this weekend and remain accessible through Labor Day, September 6th. METBA plans to host several entertainment events in the space over the next few months. When not used for events, outdoor furniture in the Plaza will be available for spontaneous community use. The permit for the Plaza lasts through October, allowing a potential expanded season for events if residents express interest.

Unlike the Parking Plazas used by businesses along local streets, this temporary installation will block traffic flow through SE 79th Ave. METBA coordinated this project with local businesses and homeowners ahead of the closure. Although adjacent establishments support this new Public Plaza, patrons of those nearby businesses are not the only ones able to use this space. Similar to a public park, it is a family-friendly location for everyone to eat and gather. However, the PBOT permit prohibits the consumption of alcohol within this Plaza. Drinking outdoors will remain limited to licensed Parking Plazas.

Funds for live entertainment in the Plaza come from Travel Oregon. Earlier this year, they distributed grant money towards activities in Oregon that would increase tourism. METBA is currently developing an entertainment schedule consisting of daytime entertainment that won’t disrupt nearby business activities. Live music performances will play a significant role in programming for this Plaza, creating paying work for musicians.

Today volunteers are painting the road mural ahead of the outdoor furniture delivery tomorrow. An assortment of picnic tables, bistro tables, and Adirondack chairs will fill the street. By Saturday, crews will have completed the setup and have the space ready for public use. Keep an eye on METBA‘s website and social media accounts for information about Plaza events. Send questions or comments to Montavilla.Biz@gmail.com.

Officials Tour 82nd Ave Ahead of Improvements

Today, three elected officials toured SE 82nd Ave to highlight proposed safety investments coming to the roadway. Thanks to United States Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the recently passed US House infrastructure package contains $5 million for 82nd Ave safety improvements. These federal dollars will join $185 million in State and City funds previously committed to 82nd Ave improvements as part of the jurisdictional transfer of the State-owned highway to the City of Portland.

State Representative Khanh Pham and Portland City Commissioner JoAnn Hardesty joined Rep. Blumenauer on the July 9th walk from SE Hawthorne Blvd to the APANO offices on SE Division Street. Positioned on the sidewalks of 82nd Ave, members of the procession observed the failing infrastructure and talked about future repairs.

Along the journey, Comm. Hardesty and others address the concern that gentrification often follows transit improvement projects. The group agreed that 82nd Ave projects need to consider their impact on existing residents and businesses to minimize displacement. Preventing community upheaval was a concern echoed later by Rep. Blumenauer at the press conference that followed today’s tour. “There is a significant amount of wealth to be generated by doing it right, but we have to do it… so it doesn’t displace and drive people away.” He called for projects to “reinforce the elements of community” and kickstart developments that serve all income levels.

At the press conference, the speakers celebrated the infrastructure improvements coming to the roadway. Better lighting and enhanced crosswalks will provide residents near this street the same safety other Portlanders have within their neighborhoods. These upgrades join public transportation developments designed to make living along 82nd Ave feasible.

These infrastructure improvements make the area suitable for more density housing projects that use the untaped real estate above commercial spaces. Rep. Pham expressed dismay at the number of “Mega Storage Units” being created along the roadway. Rep. Blumenauer agreed that those facilities negatively affect community-building efforts. He explained that Self Storage businesses allow companies to hold onto land and generate some profit while they wait for the value of the property to rise, creating “black holes in the community.”

Rep. Blumenauer is a longtime believer in East Portland’s potential. Years ago, he aggressively pressed for PCC’s to expand into the Southeast, with the desire to create social destinations. Much of 82nd Ave’s transportation move people through the area instead of bringing people in. “82nd Ave is the highest volume of transit in the city [and] it has been a lost opportunity for as long as I remember,” Rep. Blumenauer recalled. Fortunately, investments coming to the highway will create the safe spaces people need to live, walk, and build their community. 

Early next year, 82nd Ave will become part of Portland’s network of roads and begin receiving upgrades to make the street safe and modern. Last month, the Oregon legislature approved $80 million in funds that will partially pay for 82nd Ave’s transfer to the Portland Bureau of Transportation. It was one of the last obstacles to overcome ahead of next year’s jurisdictional transfer.

Rep. Blumenauer praised the work of Rep. Pham and Comm. Hardesty on their efforts to move the decades-long transfer process near completion. It required countless hours of negotiations before State and City staff agreed to the terms of transfer. However, the agreement would have stalled if not for an influx of federal recovery funding. Years of work needed to coincide with the right timing for infrastructure investments. Today’s events represented an acknowledgment that supporters won the fight for change on 82nd Ave. Now, efforts will shift to enacting projects that build up the community without pushing people out.