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.
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.
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.
Friday morning TriMet announced the opening of their new platform serving the Division Transit Project. This event celebrated the fifty-percent completion point for the Rapid Bus initiative. When finished, it promises to deliver fast transportation from Gresham to Downtown Portland along 15 miles of the number 2 bus line.
TriMet’s Interim General Manager, Sam Desue Jr., emphasized the project’s economic and equitable merits. “This project here is going to spur economic recovery from the Pandemic. It created over 1,400 jobs and added more than $138,000,000 in economic value in this corridor.” Desue continued to explain that seventy percent of the companies involved in construction were majority staffed by people of color and women.
Raimore Construction serves as the lead contractor on the Division Transit Project. Rainmore President Jeff Moreland Sr. spoke about the challenges of keeping the project moving during the Pandemic. He stressed the value of his company’s 20 year-long relationships with TriMet and the transportation agency’s support for disadvantaged businesses.
The Division Transit Project is on budget and achieving timely milestones on its way to the completion date in the Fall of 2022. Starting this Sunday, line 2 buses will begin using two of the completed stations for regular service. Both stations work differently than most in the transit system. They implement a shared bicycle and pedestrian design, diverting bike lanes over the raised platform.
Much of the Southern edge of Montavilla is actively under construction in support of this project. Beyond better service to TriMet riders, it has reconstructed large portions of the sidewalk and upgraded many adjacent street corners. The community will not feel the full benefit from TriMet’s investment for another year. However, the improvements on this often neglected road are already becoming noticeable.
Concrete work is complete on the new bus platform along SE Division Street, east of 85th Ave. It is one of several enhanced bus stations designed for faster public transportation between the outer Southeast and Downtown. TriMet’s Division Transit Project is underway at many points along the busy street, creating new infrastructure improvements.
Over the next year, upgrades to bus stops along this route will facilitate faster passenger loading and reduced bus merging times. This station’s platform design features a raised curb for better floor alignment with new longer buses. The platform’s curb extends out from the sidewalk through the bike lane to meet the travel lane. This design allows the bus to stop in traffic, eliminating the need to merge when the vehicle begins moving again. Integrated ramps on both edges of the platform allow bikes to pass through the bus stop. Bicyclists will briefly ride at sidewalk level to pass over the platform. However, to avoid collisions with TriMet riders, bikes will yield to pedestrians while buses load passengers.
Some property owners at this location had expressed concern over the new platform design. Construction at this location removed a driveway that once provided off-street parking from the property at 8525 SE Division Street. Despite the removal of the curb-cut, the property still maintains two access points on SE Division Street. TriMet representative Roberta Altstadt explained that this “project will not completely eliminate any property’s access to a public right of way.” General community benefits brought by this work outweigh sidewalk reconfiguration concerns. This project not only improves transit but also rebuilds large sections of sidewalk and street corners.
The Division Transit Project will complete in 2022. Although a year away from full use, SE Division Street improvements are already apparent, providing this worn roadway a needed refresh. Transit projects at this scale can attract further development to the area and draw in more commerce. Look for continued construction along SE Division Street over the next eighteen months.
Last week, planners submitted Design Review request 21-022957 for upgrades at Gateway Transit Center. TriMet will construct a new station platform for the Max Red Line as part of the A Better Red project. The new platform will serve trains traveling from the Portland International Airport towards Portland’s City Center.
Aside from faster travel times for Red Line passengers, this project will bring improvements to the area. The new Max track over the Freeway will include a pedestrian and bicycle bridge to the Gateway Green park. The new platform will be two blocks away from the other stops at the station, requiring a connecting sidewalk along the back edge to the Park and Ride property. With improved lighting, increased activity, and fencing, the security at that parking lot could improve.
Construction will begin this year and run through 2023. This transit project should be an exciting upgrade to local infrastructure with improved access to an isolated bike park. A more detailed timeline will take shape later this year as construction permits are submitted.
Over the weekend, TriMet crews replaced a broken glass panel at the NE 82nd Ave and E Burnside bus stop shelter. The central panel was damaged, causing the bus shelter to closed temporarily. The replacement glass came from a surplus supply and was not cleaned before installation, making the replacement almost undetectable.
Located near the Walgreens store, this bus shelter recently received a digital sign upgrade. Fortunately, the new sign was not damaged by this recent incident, despite being near the broken panel. TriMet’s quick work completed in enough time that Monday morning commuters were unaware of the weekend’s damage.
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.
This week, construction crews are working on a portion of SE Division Street as part of the Division Transit Project. Currently, reconstruction of the northwest corner of SE Divisions Street and 85th Ave is underway. The work will remove a none compliment driveway curb cut and create new ADA curb ramps.
For a year, construction on the Division Transit Project has progressed towards an expected fall 2022 completion date. Work on this project will provide fast travel time to the city center and create safer conditions for none motorists using these streets. It is a massive project that will transform a critical transportation artery in the city.
In rebuilding the sidewalk near SE 85th Ave, crews temporarily deconstructed a section of Master Kong‘s parking lot. The portion of the restaurant’s driveway that leads onto SE Division Street is now permanently removed and replaced with a level sidewalk. TriMet representative Roberta Altstadt explained that the removed curb cut was mostly unused. “There was a curb cutout to Division just a few feet from this corner, but it appears to be too small for a car or a legal driveway.”
Across SE 85th Ave on the north side of SE Division, another driveway’s removal will accommodate a new bus platform. “A bus station platform will go in at the site of the current Line 2 bus stop. The bus station platform is roughly 70 feet. The project will rebuild the sidewalk at that location. It will mean closing one driveway and improving another that is approximately 40-50 feet away.” said Altstadt.
Some local business people are concerned about the changes. Losing access to SE Division could impact the traditional flow of customer access. Altstadt expressed that this “project will not completely eliminate any property’s access to a public right of way.” Additionally, “TriMet has already been in contact with the property owner there, and are working through negations with them.”
Improvements to NE Glisan Street are needed, as many pedestrian spaces are in poor condition. Better transit through this part of Montavilla will only improve conditions for the people who work and live near this roadway. Many density housing projects proposed near this busy street have limited parking, requiring public transportation improvements. Unrequested changes to existing properties can be disconcerting for the owners of those locations. However, the roadway enhancements will likely increase property value and bring more people to SE Division Street businesses.
With this project just 40% completed, many more changes are in process for SE Division Street. The adjustment period will not be without conflict. However, changes have a high likelihood of creating a safer and more functional area for everyone traveling to and through this section of Portland.
TriMet recently installed a tablet-sized electronic screen into the bus shelter at NE 82nd Ave and E Burnside Street. Displaying regularly updated bus departure times, the solar-powered device is an upgrade to the older infrastructure at this stop. TriMet installed this 13-inch ePaper display as part of their digital information display project.
This bus shelter is one of forty-five locations currently deemed to have enough sunlight and ridership to be a successful launch location. Eighty-five TriMet stops will receive the digital displays this year. The transit focused Keep Oregon Moving Act provided funding for the project. TriMet prioritized heavily used bus stops in low-income communities for the initial distribution of these displays.
Solar-power allows for truly wireless displays that can attach to any bus shelter with enough sunlight. Internal batteries keep the screens updated and operational overnight. TriMet’s existing digital display technology required an electrical connection to the bus shelter. This new option will allow an even distribution of devices to areas that could not support it previously.
Most of the information presented on the digital information displays will mirror the data available on TriMet’s website. However, these always-on screens make the data available to all riders, regardless of their access to a smartphone. It also will present rider-alert information to people who might otherwise be unaware of disruptions to the schedule. The success of these displays will take time to determine. However, they represent a significant jump in bus shelter technology.
TriMet installed a new bus shelter on E Burnside Street near 82nd Ave. It replaces one destroyed by a car crash in late June of this year. The new structure is no longer on the corner, moving a few feet away from 82nd Ave and closer to the bus stop.
Vehicle collisions with these shelters along 82nd Ave are becoming common. The relocation of the bus shelter could prevent similar accidents from causing injury to waiting riders. This bus stop serves the westbound 20 bus line at a heavily use connection point in TriMet’s network. Users of this stop will appreciate the restoration of weather protection after many months without it.
This week, TriMet tested a prototype bus shelter for the Division Transit Project. This installation validated the real-world functionality ahead of construction. Permanent deployments along the 15-mile project route will begin in 2021. Engineered for space-constrained stops along SE Division Street, the new shelter’s versatile design can expand into larger spaces while maintaining a constant appearance.
The shelters, built by Landscape Forms, needed to adapt to the project’s unique requirements. “Early studies determined that TriMet’s current bus shelters would not work within the extremely constrained and diverse Division Street corridor,” explained Tia York, Public Information Officer at TriMet. “The project’s modular shelter design provides a more cost-efficient option for the diverse conditions of Division Street, and the functional demands and safety considerations corridor-wide.”
Located at NW Division and Eastman Parkway in Gresham, the prototype only stood a few days before crews dismantled it. The TriMet Facebook post announcing the prototype contained several reader comments with design change requests. However, the planning phase for bus stop design has concluded. “The shelter design was heavily vetted and guided by input received [from] the project’s Community Advisory Committee during a two-plus year period from 2017 to 2019”, York commented. Additional input by the Committee on Accessible Transportation, The Oregon Commission for the Blind, and other stakeholders shaped the chosen design.
These bus stops offer more than a new look. Future riders will appreciate modern integrated lighting, digital TransitTracker, and hardened glass panels providing weather protection around seating areas. New sheltered stops include waste receptacles, dramatically increasing trash can availability on SE Glisan Street.
This prototype shelter demonstrates the general appearance and function of what TriMet riders can expect from the Division Transit Project. Construction will start next year and run through Fall 2022. The completed transit project will create a faster and more enjoyable commute to the city center for Southeast Portland residents.
Article image courtesy of TriMet
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