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Outreach begins for likely upgrades to SE 82nd Avenue

Posted by on September 22nd, 2015 at 10:19 am


Plenty of room for changes.
(Photo: Google Streetview)

The street that once ran along part of Portland’s eastern border is now one of its most important corridors, and it’s lined up for some changes — which may even include a new bikeway.

On Saturday, Oct. 10, the 82nd Avenue Improvement Coalition will host a community forum about the urban highway’s future. It’s convened by the Asian-Pacific American Network of Oregon, the force behind an effort to keep strengthening the identity of the Jade District near 82nd and Division; by state Sen. Michael Dembrow, one of the forces behind an effort to bring 82nd Avenue from state to local control; and by the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, which is updating its zoning maps in ways that could push the street away from its current highway-on-the-edge-of-town atmosphere.

Amid all that, there’s a potential source of serious cash pointed toward Southeast 82nd between Powell and Division: the Powell-Division Transit and Development project, which is likely to use state and/or federal funding to add a rapid bus line running east on Powell Boulevard out of downtown, north on 82nd, and then east to Gresham on Division Street.

That’s where the possibility of a bikeway comes in. Under state law, “footpaths and bicycle trails, including curb cuts or ramps as part of the project, shall be provided wherever a highway, road or street is being constructed, reconstructed or relocated.” (Whether the project triggers the “Bike Bill” could become a sticking point down the road.)

The possibilities for the Powell-Division project aren’t yet clear, but I’ve been told that it’s currently seen as unlikely that buses could get an entire dedicated lane. Queue-jump lanes at traffic signals, nicer stations and other features would certainly make for easier politics.

The Powell-Division project, which is currently led by Metro, is already doing more than maybe any previous transit plan in the area to consider biking not just as a complication to be dealt with but as an important aspect of the system being created.

In May, Metro circulated a 25-page overview of the bicycle elements of the plan. That plan discussed likely bike lanes for outer Division but skirted the topic of what to do about the bike lanes that would seem to be required on that stretch of 82nd if the street gets the sort of meaningful investment that would be needed to create an attractive bus rapid transit line.

Here’s a description of the Oct. 10 event from the 82nd Avenue Improvement coalition:

The event will include opportunities to meet city planners and give public testimony on the City of Portland’s Mixed-Use Zoning and Employment Zones projects, as well as public outreach and discussion relating to other issues and projects affecting the area, including transportation and transit, housing, and small business. Mayor Charlie Hales will also attend and speak to the attendees.

The 82nd Avenue Community Forum takes place October 10, 2015 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Jade/APANO Multicultural Space at 8114 SE Division Street in Portland. Doors open at 9:30 am.

Now’s the time to get this project on your radar. Please get involved and share your feedback if possible.

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  • Mark September 22, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I have driven 82nd for many years. 10 years ago I would have thought it insane to modify the street from anything but a dedicated arterial. The first hurdle is getting odot to relinquish control. Seems like they would due to cost savings. That said, simply painting bike lanes in….will lead to deaths for riders. If they were serious, pbot would put in ditch style cycle tracks down one side. They would then put dutch style intersections at all busy interchanges such as foster, division…. Etc.

    One can dream. Finally…an arterial that carries all traffic…not just the engined kind.

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  • Adam Herstein September 22, 2015 at 10:43 am

    82nd needs protected bike lanes. With the high speed car traffic on 82nd, installing anything less than fully separated and protected cycle tracks would be dangerous and negligent.

    I’m also baffled that a project billing itself at BRT will not include dedicated bus lanes. Without dedicated lanes, it’s not BRT. Full stop.

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    • Mark September 22, 2015 at 10:45 am

      I agree. Brt is not brt without dedicated lanes. That would be called express buses. However…if you call brt…the feds might shovel you some cash. Chaching!

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    • Eric Leifsdad September 23, 2015 at 7:48 am

      It needs frontage roads and access control. I can’t imagine a protected lane with so many holes in the protection (at every curb cut) would be very effective. Maybe they’ll put the 18ft wide 15mph frontage road between the bike lane and sidewalk to protect people biking from people walking instead of one big sidewalk?

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  • rick September 22, 2015 at 10:58 am

    If ODOT gives 82nd to PBOT, how will Portland get state funding for improvements as easily as in the past? SW Capitol Highway was once ODOT’s road and it turns into a creek with heavy rain by SW 40th Ave.

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    • paikiala September 22, 2015 at 11:19 am

      The same way it gets money now to make improvements on unsafe, high volume roadways in Portland?

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  • ethan September 22, 2015 at 11:31 am

    82nd is so wide. There is plenty of room for dedicated lanes for bus, bikes and cars. No need to mishmash them all together in a deadly way. Keep it simple and separate the traffic.

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    • Adam Herstein September 22, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      The only way to allow space for all modes is to take space away for cars. Since this seems like a political third-rail (Metro’s own planning map uses “retaining car capacity” as a metric of success) it will likely never happen and we’ll be stuck with a mediocre project. If we are to improve non-SOV mode share, convenience of transit, and safety of riding a bike; we absolutely have to take space away from private cars. It’s the only way to do it right.

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      • ethan September 22, 2015 at 12:08 pm

        For some reason, I don’t think anyone was interested in preserving walking and biking capacity when they tore up entire neighborhoods to build highways.

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    • Chris Anderson September 22, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      Road diets don’t increase congestion, and if pedestrians and cyclists are included in traffic counts this will increase the capacity of 82nd, while making it safer for everyone. It’s obvious that we need to rededicate space to BRT lanes, protected bikeways, and real sidewalks.

      Once we accept that autos will always fill anything we build beyond peak capacity, it becomes logical to see that the only way to increase overall capacity is to build infrastructure that still moves people even when automobiles are stuck. This is why BRT needs dedicated lanes.

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      • davemess September 22, 2015 at 5:47 pm

        Road Diets don’t increase congestion?

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        • Beeblebrox September 22, 2015 at 7:02 pm

          Typically they don’t, because most streets have more capacity than they need. Also virtually all congestion has to do with signalized intersections, not the in-between roadway capacity. So as long as you provide enough green time and enough lane capacity right at an intersection, you can deal with congestion while allowing a road diet for most of the length of a roadway.

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          • davemess September 22, 2015 at 8:17 pm

            That’s not proposed to be the case on Foster (at least based upon PBOT’s data and models), where the road diet will put it over capacity at certain hours of the day.

            I agree with you, but it’s definitely not an absolute.

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  • PeterH September 22, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    I don’t think any type of bike lane along 82 would be safe. Run parallel bikeways away from the busy highway. And be sure to give the bikeways priority on street crossings.

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    • Chris I September 23, 2015 at 9:47 am

      There are no viable parallel options due to the poorly laid out neighborhoods adjacent to this corridor.

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      • davemess September 23, 2015 at 12:28 pm

        Ask Terry D-M about that……

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  • Granpa September 22, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    82nd may be messed up beyond repair. Traffic is usually at capacity with motor vehicles with travel lanes to the curb, so removing vehicle lanes would be a non-starter. Sidewalks are frequently too narrow to meet ADA and buildings frequently abut the too-narrow sidewalks. This is not a project that can add bicycles simply by painting stripes. Buildings would need to be bought and removed along the entire length to create enough ROW for vehicles plus cyclists. The whole corridor is developed to serve cars so building/business owners will scream foul if right-of-way is taken for bikes to reduce motor vehicle traffic. I live in SE and often ride to Home Depot or Costco. I will take the 205 freeway path or course the neighborhoods to reach my destination, but I have no desire to ride on 82nd and can’t imagine why anyone would.

    A neighborhood North/South route would be a much more achievable goal.

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    • Mark September 22, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      I don’t know. I see a middle turn lane for almost the entire length. Get rid of that and you have two dedicated bike lanes with curbs. A few businesses might lose a little frontage. A few strip clubs might lose a few spots. Oh well.

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  • MaxD September 22, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    A BRT route without prioritized lanes should be a non-starter! I agree that 82nd is a tough, fixed-width corridor, but if y7ou can’t make the compromises to build something effective, then build something else! That City has a lot of transportation and transit needs, it is frustratrating to hear that such an expensive but inefficient system is being considered. Ugh. Also, I agree with Granpa- not somewhere I would ever ride a bike.

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    • Adam Herstein September 22, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      I agree. I subscribe to the philosophy that if you can’t build it right the first time, then don’t even bother.

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      • Alan 1.0 September 22, 2015 at 2:49 pm

        It’s not like bike routes (be they lanes, tracks, MUPs, greenways, separated, adjoined or whatever) are the Great Pyramids, Balbek or the Appian Way. One of the cool things about bikes is the inherent flexibility of their use. The Dutch and the Danes did plenty of trial-and-error work on their bike routes starting in the ’70s and still are making changes. Look how fast and well Sadik-Khan was able to move in NYC by setting aside perfection as a goal and just doing *something*. I’d like more movement in that spirit.

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        • Adam Herstein September 22, 2015 at 3:47 pm

          I’m not discounting the importance of temporary projects that later become permanent – in fact I think they’re a great idea! Just make sure that the temporary set up is done right, or people will assume that the permanent one will be broken as well.

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        • Adam Herstein September 22, 2015 at 3:48 pm

          Also, the nice thing about all the trial-and-error work that was done in the Netherlands and Denmark is that they already did the hard work for us! We can just copy and paste their designs into Portland.

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          • Eric Leifsdad September 23, 2015 at 7:54 am

            It is only that easy if we copy correctly, understanding how the details work and what you can’t (or must) leave out is the hard part. Show me a Dutch stroad that we can copy from?

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  • ahow628 September 22, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Holy stroad, Batman!

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  • Mark September 22, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I am sure Lars Larson would personally lay down on 82nd avenue before any changes are made…as a sacrifice to the car gods.

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  • Jim Lee September 22, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    When I travel on 82nd I mediate on the fact that its character has not changed since 1945.

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    • Nick Falbo September 22, 2015 at 4:29 pm

      Hmm.. I’m not so sure about that. In 1945, 82nd might have still had on-street parking on both sides of the street.

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  • Puksatawn September 22, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Disclaimer: I’m a cyclist who doesn’t own a car.

    I’d be more than happy with better traffic signals across 82. I have no interest riding in that street. Let motorized vehicles have it. Why insist on making every road “bike friendly”, or suggest the changes being discussed should trigger the bike bill?

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    • Mark September 22, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      Um….because bikes have as much of a right to arterials as cars do? Why should bikes have to take 18 detours?

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  • davemess September 22, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    I’d much rather see Terry D-M’s 80th bikeway built out well.
    I just don’t see a ton of upside or desire for bike facilities on 82nd (this was echoed in one of the first 82nd streetscape meetings I went to where bike facilities didn’t get a single vote (out of about 120 people) surveyed for their priority on 82nd improvements). Sidewalk improvements are a definite need though.

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    • Beeblebrox September 22, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      I agree, widening the horribly substandard sidewalks should be the highest priority. After that I would prioritize access management and replace the center turn lane with a median like on NE MLK. Then, if there’s room, put in bike lanes.

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    • Mark September 22, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      I looked on a map and 80th doesn’t remotely go through north south. 79th….maybe. I would like to hear more though.

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    • soren September 23, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      There is a bikeway on 82nd…in Clackamas. (The irony.)

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      • davemess September 23, 2015 at 5:17 pm

        And (not surprisingly) it gets little use.

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        • soren September 23, 2015 at 7:15 pm

          Call me naive but I believe Portland can do better.

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  • SE September 22, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    biking on se 82nd from Springwater to Johnson Creek is NOT an option, so the sidewalks are it. BUT, there are some businesses whose front walls are within 3 feet of the street. The wannabe sidewalk there can only take 1 person at a time. It’s like a 2 way, 1 lane street. Huge Cracks, pot holes in front of the car dealers.

    that section is embarrassingly bad 🙁 Get Charlie to ride that.

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    • davemess September 22, 2015 at 8:18 pm

      yes, one section won’t actually fit a stroller or bike trailer.

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  • resopmok September 23, 2015 at 8:48 am

    I’m not sure I understand the need for a BRT here when the MAX green line parallels the route within walking distance.. I live near 82nd, and honestly don’t know of a particular reason I would want to ride my bike there, except perhaps south of Johnson Creek where routes to some places towards Milwaukie are not very bike friendly or rather convoluted.

    I know that some people would have route choice preferences different from mine, but for the most part there are choices for N/S travel on bicycle already that seem more attractive than a lane along a very busy street. Protection or not, the noise and smell of motor vehicle traffic mere feet from me is not my first choice. 72nd (and related routes) snakes from Johnson Creek all the way to Columbia, and the I-205 path goes more or less from Oregon City to Vancouver, neither of which are very far from 82nd.

    All that said, more transit choices for people are still a good thing, and I think if further density development along this corridor is in the future, then it will be necessary to relieve SOV congestion on 84 and 205 with more affordable, convenient options. As is, though, this is mainly strip-mall retail, used car dealerships and a smattering of restaurants that carves through a myriad of single-family home neighborhoods. 82nd is in bad need of safety improvements, but let’s make sure to match our plans with our needs.

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    • Chris I September 23, 2015 at 9:51 am

      The BRT is primarily an east-west route, but it will jog north from Powell to Division.

      Personally, I think the entire 82nd corridor would support a full BRT line. The ridership on the 72 is huge.

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  • Rob Chapman September 23, 2015 at 8:48 am

    I’d like to see any changes to 82nd prioritize sidewalk and pedestrian improvements over everything else. It makes me cringe to see the young mom with baby in stroller demographic trying to navigate out there.

    Does anyone know a source for pedestrian/cycling counts for 82nd off the top of your head?

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  • Mike Sanders September 23, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    82 Av. is one of several streets in Portland that I only cross aboard a MAX or bus because of the insane traffic. Ped / bike tunnels under the street would help a lot. By the way, the 82 & Springwater Trail crossing is pretty hairy, even with a stoplight. The pavement on 82 at that spot is horrible. So is the signage…it’s barely adequate.

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  • SE September 24, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Mike Sanders
    82 Av. is one of several streets in Portland that I only cross aboard a MAX or bus because of the insane traffic. Ped / bike tunnels under the street would help a lot. By the way, the 82 & Springwater Trail crossing is pretty hairy, even with a stoplight. The pavement on 82 at that spot is horrible. So is the signage…it’s barely adequate.Recommended 1

    yes, the pavement there is a bit rough, but cars stop very reliably & don’t run that light as I see many cyclists do.

    it’s south of there that really sucks. (and north for quite a ways too 🙁 )

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  • SE September 24, 2015 at 9:24 am

    yes, one section won’t actually fit a stroller or bike trailer.Recommended 2

    yes, there are sections like that on both sides. I tried the sidewalk from JCB to SpringWater once .. never again.

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  • SE September 25, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Mike Sanders
    By the way, the 82 & Springwater Trail crossing is pretty hairy, even with a stoplight. The pavement on 82 at that spot is horrible. So is the signage…it’s barely adequate.Recommended 1

    I crossed there yesterday. They have repaved 2 of the 4 lanes. Why all 4 weren’t done is a mystery ?

    maybe they’d have to do it in 2 sessions, since closing 82nd really isn’t an option ?

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