The Portland Bureau of Transportation expects to complete three new crossing treatments in the Lents neighborhood by the end of this fall.
The new crossings will help people who live, work, and play in this southeast neighborhood get around with a bit less stress in an area known for dangerous streets and a dearth of infrastructure for people who are not driving. One of the projects will come with new bike lanes on SE 92nd near Lents Park.
It’s one of the first projects to hit the ground that was paid for with revenue raised by a new auto parking fee. PBOT says funding for the Lents Crossing project comes from their Parking Climate and Equitable Mobility Transaction Fee. That 20-cent per transaction parking meter fee is just one of many recommendations adopted by city council as part of PBOT’s Pricing Options for Equitable Mobility plan. In December 2021, the PBOT staffer who worked on the fee increase said the goal of the fee (and the excessively long name) was to, “Help people think there are some climate and equity impacts of their decision to drive downtown and park downtown.”
Fees collected from car users downtown, will now be spent in east Portland. In a statement about the crossing projects yesterday, PBOT said that should, “send a price signal about the externalized costs of driving.”
Here’s what’s in store for all three crossings according to PBOT:
At SE Rural Street & SE 92nd Avenue, improvements include a new striped crosswalk with a median island and new ADA ramps.
At SE Woodstock & SE 86th Avenue, improvements include a new striped crosswalk with new ADA ramps for safer pedestrian traveling.
At SE Ellis and 92nd Avenue, improvements include adding bicycle lanes and pedestrian safety components such as existing sidewalk improvements, existing ADA ramp improvements, a new crosswalk to and a median island.
The crossings could also help assuage concerns from Lents neighborhood school advocates.
Just this week, the Portland Public School board adopted new boundary changes and shifts in program locations for Lent Elementary School. The board voted 5-2 and heard testimony at their meeting from Oregon State Representative Khanh Pham. Rep Pham was there because of a change that will move students from Lent Elementary about one mile west to Marysville Elementary. One of the chief concerns of Rep Pham and others (including PPS School Board student representative Byronie McMahon, who you might recall attended the Alameda Elementary bike bus last month and who voted no on the changes) was a concern about traffic safety for students who will now have to cross SE 82nd to get to school.
“82nd Ave is one of the deadliest corridors in our state… and crossing a 5 lane highway is always going to be dangerous, even for adults, much less elementary school students,” Rep Pham wrote in an email to the PPS Board prior to the meeting. “I shudder to think about the inevitable traffic accidents that will happen to some of our youngest and most vulnerable students.”
The Lents Crossing Project is part of PBOT’s Safe Routes to School program. Learn more on the official website.
It’s frustrating how often PBOT will make improvements to crossings, and then close multiple crossings. Like I get it costs money to build a center median, and there are limited funds. But as a pedestrian, it’s annoying to have to navigate multiple crossings just because a transportation agency can’t build a safe crossing at more than one corner.
It’s indicative of pedestrians still being an after thought, or something to shoehorn in later – rather than being at the center of the design. Frankly, this section of 92nd should have traffic diverters and real neighborhood design. There are other N/S options very close (205 and 82nd) so it’s not like there should be much thru traffic anyways.
Just a little gripe I have with these projects, they still are better than existing conditions I guess though.
Is PBOT closing crosswalks as part of this project? They have been doing more frequently and it is really inexcusable. The other day I noticed that PBOT had closed at least on crosswalk across Naito! PBOT is so infuriating! That street was completly rebuilt, it separates Downtown form the central greenspace in the City, and PBOT can’t figure out how to get pedestrians across it??!!
Also, are those bike lanes literally one block long? That is absurd!
I am assuming they are – based on what I’ve seen on other recent projects (Outer Division comes to mind) when they build a fancy crossing like the ones shown, the other crossing that would exist (parallel to the new one on the other side of the cross street) is closed. And definitely agree that the closed Naito crossings are infuriating.
Removing pedestrian crossings, even if the remaining ones are better, reinforces that “traffic flow” is more important than pedestrian safety and comfort. At least that’s how I look at it.
Nice — Excited about 92nd and Ellis. Used to bike through that intersection all the time during high school and it always felt like rolling the dice. Very much appreciate the City of Portland paying attention to Outer Southeast — we don’t even have sidewalks and paved roads in many places (e.g., 117th, 119th).
On a related topic: has anyone noticed a big drop in driver compliance at pedestrian crossings, especially in this neighborhood? I rode the Springwater through here for the first time in a year or so, and it was shocking how long I had to wait at street crossings (like 92nd). 90%+ of the drivers would not stop.
When I lived in East Portland 2007-2015 I observed almost 100% noncompliance by all auto drivers at any and all crosswalks, including those with the stupid yellow flashing beacons. Is the rot and bad driving of East Portland spreading now to the rest of the city? By the way, such behavior is alas universal here in NC.
Thanks for the update on this geographic resource transfer (“It’s one of the first projects to hit the ground that was paid for with revenue raised by a new auto parking fee [from the downtown].”). …I hope council and staff are able to move to the next level and adopt an annual per parking stall fee for any private commercial stall striped in excess per the landuse required…to reflect that these generate excess car trips/ impact of the roadway network and in light of the less effective gas tax funding mechanism.