SW Infrastructure Update: Broadway Dr, Red Electric Bridge, Capitol Hwy

Street and side path separated by white concrete wall
Jersey barriers now protect pedestrians on lower SW Broadway Dr, looking north, on what neighbors call the “Marx Pedestrian Pathway.” (Photo: Southwest Hills Residential League)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has been busy in southwest. Here are a few updates we’ve recently noticed…

SW Broadway Drive

A grateful neighborhood association recently named the path pictured above the “Marx Pedestrian Pathway” in honor of Michelle Marx, PBOT’s outgoing pedestrian coordinator. Area residents have tried for ninety years to get the city to improve pedestrian safety on Broadway Drive. Marx finally made it happen, at least in this most dangerous stretch.

A car on a road next to a guardrail with overgrown vegetation
Broadway Drive pre-bushwhack.
Road and guardrail next to dirt walking path.
The cleared path.

This is the same location where last summer an area resident had bushwhacked a DIY path (pictured above). A few weeks ago, PBOT crews replaced the old guard rail with jersey barriers and made a compacted gravel path over a 200-foot length of lower Broadway, just uphill of SW Sherman Street.

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Michelle Marx and a sign commemorating the name of the path. (Photo left, courtesy Michelle Marx. Right: SW Hills Residential League)

Marx will be leaving PBOT at the end of the month, and the bureau is losing a workhorse.

She was responsible for the twenty-year overhaul of two major active transportation guides, PedPDX, and the Pedestrian Design Guide.

Despite all that responsibility, she still made time for a walking tour of SW Broadway Drive. Seeing firsthand how unsafe the road was, she pledged to do what she could about it. Prior to the tour, the Southwest Hill Residential League had surveyed area residents, most of whom live in apartment complexes or condominiums, and has credited the surveys with being “essential in providing critical demographic info and safety concerns to PBOT.”

The new path means that residents will no longer have to travel in the road, alongside speeding drivers, as they walk to and from jobs and school downtown.

SW Capitol Highway and the Red Electric trail bridge

retaining wall and road
Newly installed retaining walls on the west side of SW Capitol Highway.

The SW Capitol Highway project is still many months away from completion, but in the photo above you can begin to see the multi-use path on the west side of the road take form. The retaining walls were recently installed.

Construction of the Red Electric trail bridge is scheduled to complete this spring and it is already looking breathtaking. In the past few weeks crews have been installing the railing. One issue we’re watching are the bolts that hold the wire railing together. Hopefully they don’t protrude into the path itself, which would be a hazard to users who brush up against them.

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Chris I
Chris I
4 months ago

Quick. Someone call Fox News and tell them that Portland is a building a “Marx Pedestrian Pathway”.

cct
cct
4 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

Be sure to mention the nearby ‘Ho Chi Minh Trail’ to PSU as well!

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
4 months ago

“Marx will be leaving PBOT at the end of the month, and the bureau is losing a workhorse.”

Interesting that we still compare people to horses. Yet another piece of infrastructure being named after a living person.

cct
cct
4 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

If SWHRL knew the names of the people who petitioned city council for a sidewalk in 1930, I’m sure they would name it after them. Otherwise, I suppose credit where due…

fishyfishy123
fishyfishy123
4 months ago

Thanks for the updates, Lisa!

Keith
Keith
4 months ago

Broadway Dr. is a perfect example of what PBOT needs much more often. Instead of focusing on what we can’t do/afford, focus on what we can do. Clearly not perfect, but WAY BETTER than it was. A success by any measure.