One of the myriad reasons Portland’s bicycle route network suffers in the Central Eastside is because it is bisected by two arterials: Martin Luther King Jr. and Grand avenues. Both streets are car sewers and getting across them often feels like playing Frogger. At Tuesday night’s meeting of the PBOT Bicycle Advisory Committee, we learned that this stressful link will get a bit better very soon.
PBOT Project Manager Gabe Graff shared that construction will begin this summer to install two new traffic signals on SE Salmon at MLK and Grand. Salmon is an important, east-west neighborhood greenway route, but its lack of signals at the MLK/Grand couplet meant the recommended route took you one block away to SE Taylor. With the new signals, you’ll be able to stay on Salmon the entire way. This is great news because Salmon also makes a direct connection to the Eastbank Esplanade. Graff also pointed out this project was a priority for PBOT because Taylor is a freight route and has bad pavement condition.
This was just one of several Central City in Motion plan project updates Graff shared at the meeting. In related news, he also said construction will finally being this season on the long-awaited signal and diverters on SE Ankeny where it crosses 11th and Sandy. This diagonal intersection has long been the worst part of the Ankeny neighborhood greenway. Having a bike signal to get across it will be a huge relief for the many folks who rely on this route on a regular basis.
It’s now been more than 10 years since we first shared news about the Central City in Motion (CCIM) plan. It took almost six years of planning, fundraising, and process for the plan to get adopted by City Council in 2018 and PBOT has been making steady progress on ever since. PBOT has completed 11 of the 18 top priority projects so far.
At Tuesday’s BAC meeting, Graff said they’ll build six more of them in the coming fiscal year: a new bus lane and improved bike lane on SW Jefferson; a massive new protected bike lane project on SW 4th between Lincoln and Burnside; new crossings on SE 7th at Washington and Stark; changes to the bike and bus lane on the eastbound Hawthorne Bridge viaduct; an extension of the Burnside Bridge bus lane to 12th Ave; and an extension of the W Burnside bus lane from 3rd to 8th.
The SW Jefferson project we reported on last month has broken ground and is currently under construction.
The SW 4th Ave project is finally going to start construction! This project will repave and dramatically reconfigure SW 4th Ave from Lincoln to Burnside, create a new, left-side protected bike lane, a dedicated bus lane, add much safer crossings, new signals, updated streetlights and more.
Here are some plan drawings Graff showed BAC members:
We recently reported on the new bike crossings coming to 7th Ave at Washington and Stark that will be built this summer. At Tuesday night’s meeting someone asked Graff about the much more ambitious plans from nonprofit Depave. That group wants to add greenspace and a pocket park to the 7th/Washington intersection. “Depave has done some good work,” Graff said. “It’s a complicated one. They’ve done some good placemaking work and we’re excited to keep working with them. We haven’t identified the funding to construct that vision yet, so we’ve still got some work to do; but it’s an exciting partnership.”
Graff shared that PBOT is working with Multnomah County to add a floating bus island on the eastbound Hawthorne Bridge viaduct. This will mean bus operators no longer have to swerve over into the bike lane to pick folks up.
The E Burnside project, that comes with a bike signal to help riders connect from Burnside to Ankeny, should be completed by July.
This is all good news and shows solid progress on CCIM from PBOT. Can’t wait to see how these individual improvements impact the quality of the overall network. It’s always said that a bike network is only as good as its weakest point, and several of these projects strengthen weak links.
Learn more about CCIM on PBOT’s website.