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ODOT set to build undercrossing for I-205 path at Division

Posted by on October 1st, 2012 at 10:43 am

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is set to unveil their plans to build a new undercrossing on the I-205 path at SE Division Street. An open house for the project will be held on October 9th.

According to ODOT, the new portion of the path will provide an alternative route under SE Division, in addition to the existing crossing. ODOT has also partnered with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and they plan to install a new, rapid-flash beacon at the existing street-grade crossing.

The new undercrossing will split from the existing path about 360 feet north of Division Street, cross under Division next to the MAX Green Line, and reconnect with the path at the north end of the Division Street MAX stop. “The new route will offer path users a non-stop connection through Division, without the need to wait for the signal at the Division Street crosswalk,” reads an ODOT statement.

The project was first promised as part of TriMet’s MAX Green Line construction back in 2009. As part of that project, ODOT received a stimulus grant to add lighting along the path, and they had planned to do the undercrossing, but according to ODOT Public Policy and Community Affairs Manager Shelli Romero, the funding, “didn’t quite reach.”

Romero told me via phone this morning, that they have now gotten the required funding together, “In an effort to make good on that [promise].”

ODOT also took the opportunity to respond to community and police concerns that the existing crossing treatment for the path up on SE Division was inadequate. Currently, there’s a zebra-striped crosswalk, median islands, and button-actuated overhead “walk” signs that flash when someone is trying to cross. As part of this project, PBOT plans to upgrade that crossing treatment to include rapid flash beacons. This is still short of a traffic-signal, but these beacons are much more effective at encouraging cross-traffic to stop. (A similar beacon was recently installed on SW Barbur Blvd.)

The project is set for construction this year. ODOT will share design drawings and other information at the upcoming open house.

    I-205 Shared-Use Path Division Undercrossing Open House
    Tuesday, October 9, 2012, 5:30-7:30pm
    East Portland Community Center, Multi-Purpose Room 2 (740 SE 106th Ave)
    Project website (nothing up there yet)

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  • Terry D October 1, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Excellent. I was disappointed that they did not do this in the first place, but as we all know the bike “amenities” are also the first to go when the funding gets tight..

    Now what we need is a non-stop MUP on the eastern side of I205 with under-crossings from the Pedestrian overpass at Main all the way to the Gateway Transit Center. This way we would have an express route by-passing the awful crossings at Stark, Washington, Burnside and Glisan. I thought from the beginning that this should have been part of the Green Line project….but alas, it was not to be.

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    • matt picio October 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm

      Agreed. We could also really use a crossing of Johnson Creek near Flavel. ODOT had a perfect opportunity to build the path into the MAX bridge over Johnson Creek and for some bizarre reason chose not to do so. Instead, cyclists are routed back out to 92nd Ave.

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  • davemess October 1, 2012 at 11:01 am

    This is one of the least stressful crossings on the 205 path. I would rather see changes made at Killingsworth/Sandy, Stark/Washington, Burnside, or Glisan. Those crossings are all MAJORLY more problematic than Division, where the majority of cars usually stop for you.

    Granted I guess an underpass is better than no underpass.

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    • Joseph E October 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm

      Agreed. Killingsworth/Sandy and Stark/Washington are especially bad. You get dumped from nice path right onto a sidewalk with no signage.

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    • matt picio October 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      Depends on day and time of day. Division can be pretty dangerous, and I suspect the reason ODOT is addressing this intersection is because they have the right of way to do so. Glisan and Kworth/Sandy are far more dangerous, but there’s no right of way to make the necessary improvements to make those intersections safer. Ultimately they both need to be significantly rebuilt for that, and that ain’t cheap.

      I’d like to have the other two projects too, but I’m not going to complain about the one they *are* doing.

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  • davemess October 1, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I was shocked to notice the other night that there still is no train indicator for the bike path at Burnside. Apparently the bikeportland article didn’t have much pull on that intersection.

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    • Chris I October 1, 2012 at 8:25 pm

      Fortunately, trains run on tracks, so it will be pretty easy to see if one is coming.

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      • davemess October 2, 2012 at 10:33 am

        Have you been through this intersection. Trains coming from the North are basically coming in blind to you, as they make a 90 degree turn here. The intersection is also just super confusing on a bike. You instinctively look up to check for car traffic from the first lane, and aren’t always paying attention to see if there is a train coming from one of two directions (in addition to the other lane of auto traffic).
        It’s not a simple one track just look left and right intersection.

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        • matt picio October 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm

          I’d say the problem in that situation is the rider. Trains are on tracks, they always get the right of way. MAX is also very loud going around that corner. And there are gates adjacent with lights. People are far more at risk of wiping out on the tracks than getting hit by the MAX.

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  • Brandon Van Buskirk October 1, 2012 at 11:04 am

    That’s fantastic….next up a crossing over Johnson Creek at Flavel!?

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    • gl. October 1, 2012 at 11:30 am

      yes yes yes!

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      • davemess October 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm

        Best to just stick to 92nd for the portion.

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  • Paulie October 1, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Great news! I always wondered why the path wasn’t routed under Division, since there is room to do so. And that signal at the grade crossing was not well thought out. Compliance by drivers is spotty, not because they intentionally ignore it, but the sign/light beacons are placed over the island, not over the traffic lanes, and the lights aren’t bright enough. The lights are not directly in the sight lines of the drivers and they just don’t notice them, especially in the daytime.

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  • stig October 1, 2012 at 11:49 am

    A welcome improvement. Thank you. Too many times the near lane stops then a car in the far lane blows through or slams on the brakes at the last second.
    Same thing at the Division crossing on the Gresham-Fairview trail.

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  • Steve B. October 1, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Sounds good! I hope they address some of the poor signage + wayfinding along the 205 pathway as well. I have put in the requests but they have not been as responsive as PBOT to address wayfinding concerns.

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  • nuovorecord October 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm


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  • Tom October 1, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    wasting funds to fix a non-existent problem ? never had a single issue at Division, but the whole Flavel crossing needs it.

    OBTW: PGE has closed SpringWater west of Bell Station , signage says “2 months” 1 Oct to 30 Nov.

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    • CaptainKarma October 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      We need a website just to keep track of just where and when Springwater is open. And alternative routings.

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  • Hugh Johnson October 1, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    To those here who think it’s not needed…good for you. Most people are probably very happy to see this happen. I know I am.

    Is it so wrong for us on the east side to get some much needed improvements?

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    • davemess October 2, 2012 at 10:31 am

      We’re not saying it isn’t needed, we’re just saying (or at least I am, that the money could be better spent at more problematic intersections on the 205 path.

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      • Paulie October 2, 2012 at 10:53 am

        The I-205 path is in ODOT’s jurisdiction, the other streets you mention are in PBOT’s. Different pool of money. They could certainly use improvements, but a funding source needs to be found.

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        • davemess October 2, 2012 at 1:03 pm

          Wait I’m confused by that as the other intersections are also part of the 205 path. Is it an issue of the “jogging” the other intersections do?

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          • matt picio October 2, 2012 at 5:57 pm

            Nope, it has to do with those streets being city streets, and not land that ODOT owns. ODOT can route the path under Division because they’re going to use the undercrossing that already exists for MAX and the Powell through lanes. They can’t really do that at Glisan without really expensive engineering. Sandy is a state highway, so they could do that one.

            In any case, the issue is that actually, the money *can’t* be better spent. Fixing Burnside, Glisan, Sandy, or NE Clark/Alderwood isn’t possible with the money pool ODOT has to work with – but the Division crossing would be pretty inexpensive. So the choice with the available funds is A: fix a less dangerous but still problematic intersection, or B: fix nothing.

            I’ll take B, thanks.

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  • jen October 1, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    This is really nice. But I wish they would do something about the bike lane going under 205 on Division. It gets very narrow, has 3 sewer gratings which force you to ride within inches of cars going 40 mph and then there’s the pothole which fills with water every time it rains so you can’t see how deep it is.

    It’s nice to make improvements, but I agree the current bike path crossing is not a problem and there are many other areas that could use attention.

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  • Tom October 2, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Has there ever been an incident at that Division crossing ?

    bet the homeless will enjoy a new dry place to stay ….that isn’t visually inspect-able to the PPD (without getting out of their cruisers).

    I may continue to use the street crossing. 🙁

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    • Paulie October 2, 2012 at 10:59 am

      Do we wait until someone dies? I’ve had some close calls there after triggering the flasher.

      For those who don’t think it’s a problem, try crossing during rush hour.

      It’s also not a new dry place for the homeless. They can hang out there now, with no interference from bikes/peds. It might make it less desirable as a hangout if people are zipping by regularly.

      I’ll probably still use the street crossing in the morning (not much traffic at 6am), but would definitely use the underpass in the evening.

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  • DK October 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Should have done this to begin with but…Nice!

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  • staborrez October 2, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Being one who lives off Division in the area this is good news.

    Though I’d rather see Division from 80th to 60ths dropped to three lanes with bike lanes. Traffic isn’t so great through that stretch that it would really inconvenience autos. And it’d help with accidents on the 76th/75th (with a better light cycle) crossing which also sees a lot of bike traffic and many auto accidents. Mostly people in the left eastbound lane yielding to people who are trying turn down 75th, while cars in the eastbound right lane don’t yield. I honestly find it hard to believe that there isn’t a ghostbike on that corner with the number of auto accidents that occur there, considering how much bike traffic it gets too.

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  • Randy October 2, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Remember: Freeways, especially congested highways don’t mix well with bike paths because they create mucho air pollution. Bicyclists need clean air.

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  • Duncan October 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Funny the 205 path crossing of Glisan comes up. Last week I ended up biking from my house to work at night and figured the 205 path would be the fastest way- NOT so much. Some parts are well signed and great but others the path just ends and I was left searching for the way- and at Glisan I lost it completely and just headed out to 122nd/Marine Drive because I knew that way from driving. 122nd at night was a whole pile of no-fun. Something to let you know that once you cross those seven lanes of screaming tarffic there will be a bike path waiting for you would be nice. Flavel was mystery too until a lightless fixie blew past me and I followed him back to the path.

    Seriously a bike path shouldnt require a GPS to use right?

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  • Tom October 18, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Guess I “spoke” too soon …yesterday, at noon, was crossing going south. turned on the warning lights, another rider next to me ,,,a Suburu wagon came scooting west on div and saw the situation at the last second a slid to a stop , abt 10 feet from us..smoky tires and all.

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