On April 19th, the three public agencies planning improvements to 82nd Avenue published an online open house presenting current roadwork plans and concepts for future projects. The resource site provides high-level information with links to more detailed resources. Construction begins this year and will run through 2030, shifting to different sections of the former state highway as work progresses.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), TriMet, and Oregon Metro collaborated on this new site, blending their community education initiatives. The information focuses on the physical road infrastructure and potential implementation of TriMet’s new FX express bus service, replacing the 72 line on 82nd Avenue. A group of site-wide survey questions allows open house participants to share their priorities for where some projects should focus the limited funds. Money for the road work stems from a 2022 agreement to transfer ownership of Portland’s section of 82nd Avenue from the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) stewardship to PBOT. A key requirement of that exchange was the $150 million commitment from the State of Oregon and a $35 million commitment from the City of Portland.
Although the committed funds seem significant, the allocated money is far less than needed to rebuild all the old and failing infrastructure that does not meet City standards. Federal funding provided $80 million of the State’s contribution, and the City must spend that money by 2026 or risk losing it. Consequentially, PBOT is already deploying those funds to address critical safety and maintenance projects that are shovel-ready. They include improved street lighting to fill in gaps where there is insufficient nighttime visibility. Repaving and reconstructing curb ramps to modern standards will occur throughout the corridor, along with new and upgraded crossings for pedestrians or bicycle riders. PBOT will construct median islands and traffic separators at select locations, and some intersections will gain new or enhanced traffic signals.
The remaining $105 million will go to projects still under consideration. PBOT will need to strategically deploy those funds to achieve the most effective safety and operational improvements on 82nd Avenue. Not all projects are made from cement, asphalt, and wires. Throughout the construction, project planners are looking for ways to incorporate trees and other landscaping to improve the environment and make it safer for people walking during high-temperature weather events. People interested in commenting on those projects should visit 82ndave.info and complete the more detailed survey released last month.
Outside of the 82nd Avenue jurisdictional transfer funding, TriMet wants to create FX express bus service to replace the 72 bus line. Similar to the Division FX transformation completed in 2022, the proposed rapid bus service will reduce stops to speed up travel times and have enhanced stations with near-boarding-height platforms to accommodate the longer articulated buses. This bus line adjustment would also change the northern terminus. Four different paths are under consideration, some as far north as the Portland International Airport. Designers are also considering dedicated lanes and signal priority changes to 82nd Avenue to get buses around car traffic.
Planning for these projects is happening now, even though residents and business owners may not see the changes for years. Planners invite all Portlanders to participate in the online Open House and sign up for project updates so they can provide further guidance as officials firm up the transformative changes. Participation in the planning process is the public’s best opportunity to shape the future of 82nd Avenue as it sheds its history as a former State Highway and becomes a city main street.
Illustrations provided by PBOT
Disclosure: The author of this article serves on the 82nd Avenue Business Association Board and the Building a Better 82nd Community Advisory Group
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.