Trees to tame heat, medians to tame drivers, and wider sidewalks star in latest 82nd Ave plans

Play animation to see before/after.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has released fresh renderings of the future 82nd Avenue that they plan to break ground on this summer. With a total of $185 million in funding spread across several concurrent projects, PBOT says they’ve reached a major milestone on the biggest piece of the puzzle: the $55 million 82nd Avenue Critical Fixes: Major Maintenance project that will bring changes to a 2.5-mile stretch of the road in southeast and northeast Portland.

We last checked on this project in March 2023. On Wednesday, PBOT released updated plans that bring the project up to a 60% design completion level.

In a statement yesterday, PBOT said this project will bring, “transformative maintenance upgrades” to two separate sections of 82nd Ave: from NE Fremont to Schuyler, and SE Mill to Foster. The city plans to completely rebuild and repave some sections of the roadway from the ground up and build new or updated traffic signals and safer crossings at 10 intersections (more crossings and signals are planned as part of a separate project). This project also includes new center medians, 250 new street trees (up from 138 back in March), and repair or construction of 15,000 linear feet of sidewalk.

Two of the crossings — at SE Lafayette and Raymond — will look like this. Note the red stamped bricks and setback of trees at intersections to allow emergency vehicle access.

Trees are a key part of this project, and the city will go to great lengths to make sure they are large and healthy. Unlike the small concrete wells trees are typically confined to, PBOT will fully excavate the medians down to the soil and the entire median island surface will be landscaped with ground covers and shrubs. These plantings could make the street safer, will create a more “main street” atmosphere, and help cool the area during heat waves. New streetscape renderings released by PBOT show large trees on both the sidewalks and in medians. Where there are no plantings, PBOT will use a red stamped brick material on the medians.

While most of the budget for this project will go toward new pavement and concrete work, bicycle users and walkers will specifically benefit from changes like new leading pedestrian intervals (where walkers get a head-start before right-turning drivers) at some signals, new bicycle-only signals, as well as painted bike boxes and improved signal detection where neighborhood greenways cross 82nd.

While PBOT does not show any bike or bus-only lanes on these latest renderings — changes of that nature will be considered in separate projects. This project is about helping people cross 82nd and taking initial “critical fixes” to redesign the street in a way that tames car drivers.

The need to balance safety and reduce stubbornly high traffic fatality numbers, while still allowing drivers robust access to destinations along the corridor, is a key dynamic facing PBOT and City Hall in this project. They are very well aware of business owners along the street who worry that medians and other “access management” measures will make it too hard for car drivers to turn into their businesses.

Hoping to avoid a repeat of publicity and political problems that plagued their SE Division project (and in addition to standard community outreach to inform their design process), PBOT staff did extensive canvassing of business and/or property owners in the project area. They went door-to-door to 218 businesses and met one-on-one with 50 business and/or property owners.

In a public engagement summary posted on the project website, PBOT reports dueling feedback: “Many people have been personally impacted by the current unsafe conditions, through witnessing a crash, personally or knowing someone who has been involved in a crash, and/or experiencing a close call,” reads one excerpt. But they also heard, “Businesses said getting customers to the businesses is most important.”

PBOT’s outreach to businesses on 82nd paid off when the 82nd Avenue Business Association endorsed their plan in December. And in a statement yesterday, PBOT Commissioner Mingus Mapps — who launched a controversial plan last fall to remove protected bike lanes downtown in a bid to appease business owners — said, “I’m especially glad that PBOT has made adjustments to the plan, so we can ensure businesses have the access they need.”

Zachary Lauritzen, executive director of the nonprofit Oregon Walks, called the latest PBOT plans, “good first steps to transitioning 82nd Avenue away from a high speed highway to a place where everyone can move around safely and comfortably.”

PBOT is accepting comments on these plans through March 31st and plans to finalize the designs shortly thereafter. You can find details on in-person meetings and other neighborhood presentation dates on the official project website. PBOT hopes to have construction approved by City Council in early summer and build the project before the end of 2026. This “lightning fast” timeline is due to funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) which must be spent by the end of 2026.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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David Hampsten
David Hampsten
22 days ago

Out here in NC we have lots of 1970s and 80s 4-laners that are barely wide enough for two buses to pass one another, let alone add bike lanes – essentially if you later want bike lanes, one traffic lane has to be taken away each way, which is politically difficult (i.e. impossible). The diagrams from PBOT are showing this same scheme on 82nd. A better scheme IMO would be to show a road diet initially and let the business owners howl. The shown sidewalks are wider, but still not wide enough for sidewalk cafe purposes, so again 82nd will still function as a divider between neighborhoods and not as a main street that unites neighborhoods. If outer Powell which is a US highway can function well as a main street with one lane of traffic each way, why can’t 82nd? Excess traffic and users who want to go faster can use nearby I-205 (96th).

Fred
Fred
22 days ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

You nailed it, David. This project is nothing more than a stroad improvement – beautifying an urban highway with $55 million worth of medians and plantings.

It will make walking a little better but will do nothing for cycling. I predict it will be MORE, not less dangerous for everyone involved, including drivers who will be killed in higher-speed crashes.

maxD
maxD
21 days ago
Reply to  Fred

Agreed. keeping 2 lanes of cars in each direction locks in the “double threat” condition for a few decades.

idlebytes
idlebytes
22 days ago

If PBOT isn’t going to include any cycling structure with these improvements, which seems likely despite pending lawsuits about how that violates our constitution, then they really need to beef up their parallel greenways. The 80s greenway doesn’t even cover the length of this project and both the 70s and 80s greenways are plagued with difficult crossings and cut through traffic. Division and Powell are particularly bad to get across and at funneling arterial traffic to the greenway. I left my comments to that affect with PBOT yesterday

Otherwise I generally like the design despite it being MLK v2. I mean traffic is marginally better on MLK in North Portland but it’s still not a great place to walk or bike. I lived a half mile from it for five years and can count on my hands the number of times I frequented it. Not an inviting place but better than 82nd not that that’s saying much.

I live two blocks from 82nd now and spend my time mostly avoiding it. The light timing changes have helped curb some of the most egregious behaviors but during the 30-90 seconds I wait to cross it on my way home from work I easily see a dozen traffic violations. Mostly speeding and red-light running.

Nick
Nick
22 days ago
Reply to  idlebytes

They are very well aware of business owners along the street who worry that medians and other “access management” measures will make it too hard for car drivers to turn into their businesses.

It all feels so short sighted, there’s more or equal density in this area than in other “walkable” places in Portland. (There’s no geographic/demographic reason parts of 82nd couldn’t be more people centric) Unfortunately for the many great resturants and other business on 82nd, there’s a huge number of auto centric businesses (used cars, car repair, detailing, tires, etc) that combined with highway level traffic and speed make it not a nice place to spend time. Without fixing that I don’t see how the street gets better.

I wish we could divert much of the traffic from 82nd to 205 if you’re already sitting in a car it doesn’t seem very hard to just drive a bit farther.

dw
dw
22 days ago
Reply to  Nick

I wish we could divert much of the traffic from 82nd to 205 if you’re already sitting in a car it doesn’t seem very hard to just drive a bit farther.

People use 82nd to try and avoid congestion on 82nd.

Fred
Fred
22 days ago
Reply to  dw

Then the design of 82nd should frustrate those drivers, not incentivize them to cut through.

James Bloom
James Bloom
21 days ago
Reply to  dw

They shouldn’t

Wooster
Wooster
13 days ago
Reply to  idlebytes

The Ped/Bike Bill that is the subject of a lawsuit is not in the Oregon Constitution. Also, this is not a “reconstruction” project that would trigger it. This is simply a repaving project that also includes some medians and crossings and a few limited sidewalk widening areas. There is no significant widening or expansion or “completely redesign the right-of-way” going on here.

If you want an example of the type of project that does trigger the Ped/Bike Bill, look to ODOT’s Outer Powell project. That’s a two-lane road with no curbs or sidewalks that is being completely demolished and reconstructed to modern standards. That one was required to include full bike lanes and sidewalks, and it does. This is completely different.

blumdrew
22 days ago

I find this sentence to be interesting:

The need to balance safety and reduce stubbornly high traffic fatality numbers, while still allowing drivers robust access to destinations along the corridor, is a key dynamic facing PBOT and City Hall in this project.

Auto oriented corridors like 82nd, or outer Division will never really be pedestrian or cyclist friendly without reducing the number of outlandishly auto-oriented land uses – which includes many of the businesses along the corridors. A healthy pedestrian corridor does not include things like 12 auto lots/repair shops in a 1 mile stretch – like 82nd has between Division and Stark.

PBOT will be unable to meet any of the project safety goals without changing auto access to businesses – those right and left turns into driveways are of course dangerous, but they make the walking environment properly miserable. I can’t tell you how many cars I’ve had to walk around, dodge, or otherwise interact with on auto focused corridors because of cars entering and leaving driveways.

dw
dw
22 days ago
Reply to  blumdrew

I went to one of the open houses and talked with city staff about this problem. They basically agreed with me that a big part of the problem is the number of car-oriented and car-dependent businesses along the corridor. The problem is that you can’t really “fix” the land use in the same way you can fix the street. Zoning changes are helping for sure, but it will take a generation to see the endless used car lots replaced with more productive and socially cohesive land uses. I think this project strikes a good balance between increasing safety and livability for future land uses and preserving access for what is currently there.

Dominique Patron
Dominique Patron
22 days ago
Reply to  dw

I have a strong suspicion that a generation from now, people will still find personal automobiles quite useful.

djmistert@yahoo.com
djmistert@yahoo.com
22 days ago

Absolutely. The climate will be so degraded that many may need to live in them as economies collapse.

aquaticko
aquaticko
20 days ago
Reply to  dw

This is big-fish-in-a-small-pond, but instituting a land-value tax would help. Property in areas that should be valuable–fairly centrally located, in denser areas–should be taxed that way, to get what might otherwise be low tax-value uses out. Relying purely on market-assessed values, which only take into account existing land uses/improvements, is a mistake, because the value of a plot of land is always potential. It may not mean every plot can sustain a 50-story skyscraper, but a lot of Metro Portland’s land would healthily sustain much more intensive–denser–uses than it currently sees.

qqq
qqq
20 days ago
Reply to  aquaticko

Is that really true that market-assessed values only take into account existing land uses/improvements? Doesn’t the market take the potential value of a property into account, and that gets factored in to assessments, at least for land value?

Damien
Damien
20 days ago
Reply to  qqq

Is that really true that market-assessed values only take into account existing land uses/improvements? Doesn’t the market take the potential value of a property into account, and that gets factored in to assessments, at least for land value?

A number of years back I read an article titled something like “10 cities who made a dent on their homelessness/housing shortage and how”. Most of the cities were outside of the US and involved government doing things ours is simply incapable of doing (at any level), but one stand-out US example was Philadelphia (IIRC…it was somewhere in that region), which switched to taxing land on potential rather than what was on the land (which I believe is a land-value tax – this is really not my area of expertise).

This meant that a lot downtown was taxed at what-you’d-expect-for-downtown regardless of whether it was an empty lot or had a 10-story apartment building on it. As you might imagine, empty lots did not last long (that’s why the city made the list). I certainly found it compelling looking at all the prime location empty lots we have around Portland.

I went a little further down the rabbit hole and discovered I’m probably a Georgist: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgism

…this is all to say I don’t actually know the answer to your specific question, but the fact that this article highlighted only one US city for this kind of taxation, my impression is that it’s rather novel here.

idlebytes
idlebytes
22 days ago
Reply to  blumdrew

A healthy pedestrian corridor does not include things like 12 auto lots/repair shops in a 1 mile stretch – like 82nd has between Division and Stark.

Well fortunately for those businesses the planned changes stop at Mill just before the Auto-zone and only three auto-lots will be impacted. Unfortunately for me it means my commute on 82nd will remain pretty much the same.

I can’t tell you how many cars I’ve had to walk around, dodge, or otherwise interact with on auto focused corridors because of cars entering and leaving driveways.

Before they closed this was my experience biking to Mixteca on the sidewalk it was a nightmare. Picking up Pho is still a challenge usually I’ll just go and take the 80s greenway because it’s too dangerous.

Joseph E
22 days ago

With this complete road build, how is PBOT justifying the exclusion of any bicycle facilities? Doesn’t state law require the inclusion of bike facilities when there is a complete road rebuild? Are they arguing that the sidewalk is a bike facility?

Fred
Fred
22 days ago

PBOT can say that “the neighborhood” doesn’t want it – and that’s in many ways true!

Really? Is that the way the law works? We get to ignore the ones we don’t like?

If so, then I would like to say I don’t want I-5 running near my house, meaning it can be closed.

Dominique Patron
Dominique Patron
22 days ago
Reply to  Fred

I live in the neighborhood and would not ride on 82nd if they put bike lanes in. I use the greenways all the time. Don’t need a redundant and almost always empty bike facility where the ones we already have are perfectly adequate.

For example, the new separated lanes all along outer Division are nearly always empty when I ride through.

Fred
Fred
22 days ago

This is such a ridiculous argument I hear all the time – even from cyclists – which basically boils down to this:

“We don’t need bike lanes everywhere b/c we have a few routes we can take.”

WTF? Do drivers ever make this argument? No – every driver has a god-given right to drive everywhere, including up to the door of every business establishment, lest it go out of business.

But bikes have to make do with one route every 5-10 blocks. I say no.

Michael
Michael
21 days ago
Reply to  Fred

I agree with you, because I think it’s important to have bicycle facilities that actually take you all of the way to your destination, rather than just getting you “close” through meandering back roads and leave you to figure out how to make the first and last quarter mile on your own. With that said, I don’t think it’s helpful to let perfect be the enemy of the good here. There’s a lot of work to do in and around the 82nd Ave corridor, and the incremental improvements being made between now and 2026 do not foreclose future improvements (as Jonathan notes in the article). This is a good step towards a proper road diet, even though it’s mostly just a bit of shading with some marginal traffic calming.

Pkjb
Pkjb
21 days ago
Reply to  Fred

COMMENT OF THE WEEK

Dusty
Dusty
17 days ago
Reply to  Fred

I often ride parallel to Williams because it’s just safer to be far from cars; Id’ rather PBOT bike money went to completely different roads for bikes, far from major car thoroughfares. Converting 82nd to human-scale is a big lift and ask.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
22 days ago
Reply to  Fred

What I’m curious about, given that 3 of the 4 new districts border or contain 82nd, with 9 of the 12 city council seats, how candidates will reply to this design. Will they debate it, will this be a hot-button issue?

jakeco969
jakeco969
22 days ago
Reply to  Fred

Really? Is that the way the law works? We get to ignore the ones we don’t like?

Turns out that question was successfully hashed out in a previous post..

https://bikeportland.org/2024/01/29/anti-pbot-extremists-cut-down-road-closed-signs-in-rose-city-park-383416

From what I could tell the answer was that you are correct.

E
E
21 days ago

I live near 82nd closer to the southern city limit and drive on 82nd often for groceries/shopping. I see more people biking on 82nd (they have to use the inadequately narrow sidewalk to do so) than on some other commercial streets in Portland. Whereas I would never want to bike along that street in its present form, my guess is that a lot of people are forced to bike on it to get to businesses that serve their basic needs or to and from work. At the same time, I think these folks are hardly going to participate in PBOT’s outreach sessions and take the time to fill out surveys or make their voices heard. I think that there is a real need for bike facilities along 82nd, which would most likely not be reflected in PBOT data.

Wooster
Wooster
13 days ago

The main answer is that this is not a “reconstruction” project under the state/federal definition. Look up the difference between a “3R” and a “4R” project. It’s mostly repaving within existing curbs, and in limited areas where curbs are moving it’s moving them in to get full standard sidewalks. The Bike Bill was never meant to apply to a project like this.

Watts
Watts
22 days ago
Reply to  Joseph E

My understanding is that bike lanes are a requirement, but bolstering parallel infrastructure can qualify in some cases. I suspect that’s what we’re going to see here.

Daniel Reimer
22 days ago
Reply to  Watts

After seeing how PBOT “bolstered” parallel routes to Hawthorne, I don’t have much faith for 80s greenway being improved enough to make up for the lack of bike lane.

Watts
Watts
22 days ago
Reply to  Daniel Reimer

I don’t think Hawthorne was a “Bike Bill” project — for whatever reason, repaving is not considered rebuilding, so the rules there were different than 82nd which I understand will be a full rebuild.

Wooster
Wooster
13 days ago
Reply to  Watts

82nd Ave is not a full rebuild. It’s a repaving project exactly like Hawthorne.

Wooster
Wooster
13 days ago
Reply to  Watts

No, the Bike Bill just doesn’t apply to this project, as it’s not a newly-constructed, relocated, or reconstructed roadway. Reconstruction means you rebuild the entire right-of-way to modern standards (not just the pavement), and you acquire property to widen the right-of-way if you need more space to fit everything in. This is mostly a repaving project with some safety improvements thrown in, but the basic cross-section is staying the same and very few sidewalks are being touched.

dw
dw
22 days ago

I’m gonna go against the grain and say that this is actually a good design.

When it comes to 82nd, they’d have to actively try to make it worse than it currently is. So this is an improvement in a lot of ways. Is it perfect? No, absolutely not. If it was my Cities:Skylines save, it would become a tree-lined two-lane boulevard with wide sidewalks, bus lanes, and bike facilities. Unfortunately for all of us, real life people aren’t quite as accepting of such radical changes as the little sims in my video game.

These projects don’t exist in a vacuum. Whether or not it holds any water, business owners are hearing about sales being down on Division and sweating bullets. I think that it’s a savvy political move for PBOT to include businesses so early, often, and directly. At least now they have no excuse to blame the redesign when inflation inevitably skyrockets again, given what’s going on in the Suez canal and problems with the Panama canal raising shipping rates.

But I digress. I’m sure there are going to be people whining about it. Humans don’t like change. Urbanist activists probably don’t like it. It matters what all those people think, but it matters more what the masses think. PBOT is working to rebuild some trust among the masses, which is what they need most right now. Other than funding lol.

PBOT needs that trust, so that when they do more radical projects they’ve got the public on board. At the open houses I’ve attended, I’ve been told as much by city employees.

I think the parallel greenway improvements are fine. I’m already seeing some progress being made on that front. Given the car-centric land use along 82nd, it just doesn’t make sense to build bike lanes. There are way too many conflict points with parking lots and driveways.

The only thing I’m really disappointed about is the fact that there are no bus queue jumps or explicit transit signal priority. Apparently being the “busiest bus line in Oregon” doesn’t qualify the 72 for signal priority. That aspect of the project feels like it’s intentionally designed to torture transit users. The FX2 signal priority is so excellent and it feels like such a dumb move not to include it.

Fred
Fred
22 days ago
Reply to  dw

I lost you at “good design.”

Dominique Patron
Dominique Patron
22 days ago
Reply to  dw

Perfect is the enemy of good, the bike activists of today’s Portland could learn something from that. Heck, most Portland activists could. Incremental change can still be monumental, and the “revolutions” those folks demand often times don’t pan out the way they imagined.

More adults in the room, please.

Fred
Fred
22 days ago

If you think “bike activists” (whoever they are) have been getting anything close to “perfect,” you haven’t been paying attention.

blumdrew
21 days ago

How long is too long to wait? It’s been well near 50 years since the original Portland bike plan calling for bike facilities on neighborhood main streets and how many of those actually have that? Williams, east Division (new!), Broadway (if you can call those lanes on the east side adequate), Gladstone, Foster, and Glisan (ending at Cesar)? How many don’t then? Hawthorne, most of Belmont, inner Division, Sandy, Milwaukie, SE 13th, 11th/12th, Mississippi, Alberta, Lombard (in St. Johns), NW 23rd, NW 21st, the entire Pearl, NE 33rd, and probably more.

That’s 6/20 in say 40 years. Is it reasonable to wait another 80 to 100 years to finish that list? No – absolutely not. Sure, things are broadly better than they were in the 1970s and 1980s, but even things that can hardly be classified as revolutionary (like a decent bike lane on Hawthorne) have been kicked down the road by a city bureau that is not willing to embrace their own plans with gusto.

Champs
Champs
18 days ago

Whatever “good” means to you, travel north of Broadway on MLK, look at all the common elements with 82nd, and just try to grade that street a C for safety or economic development.

The Perfect may be making itself the enemy of something, but I don’t know if it’s The Good.

Zach Katz
Zach Katz
21 days ago
Reply to  dw

> PBOT needs that trust, so that when they do more radical projects they’ve got the public on board. At the open houses I’ve attended, I’ve been told as much by city employees.

“My 2-year-old got mad at me for feeding him vegetables, so I’m going to feed him candy until he trusts me enough to feed him vegetables again”

Watts
Watts
21 days ago
Reply to  Zach Katz

PBOT is our employee, not our parent.

Viking biking
Viking biking
21 days ago
Reply to  Zach Katz

“My 2-year-old got mad at me for feeding him vegetables, so I’m going to feed him candy until he trusts me enough to feed him vegetables again”

I love this comment. Thank you for injecting some levity into my day. I literally laughed out loud. It’s also concisely exposes a logic gap.

Wooster
Wooster
13 days ago
Reply to  dw

There is a very active 82nd Ave Transit Project underway led by Metro and TriMet, check it out! They are in the planning stage right now, and at minimum the project would certainly include transit signal priority just like the Division FX Line. It could include bus lanes as well.

This PBOT project is just a safety and maintenance project in the near-term, but the FX Transit Project will be the next big project on the corridor.

MontyP
MontyP
22 days ago

I looked through the 60% Design Concept and was surprised to see some large sections of the road with no center divider, median, or trees. I guess PBOT is too scared of more complaints, like on Division, but 82nd needs CONCRETE protection more than ever! The stretch from Mill to Harrison is just more of the same old same old 82nd, but with smooth new pavement that you can drive faster on!

Document is here:
https://www.portland.gov/transportation/pbot-projects/documents/82nd-avenue-major-maintenance-project-60-design-concept/download

IMG_2714
Jay Cee
Jay Cee
22 days ago

Do medians actually slow down drivers? I seem to recall that they tend to speed up cars because there is now less chance for head on collisions.

Look at MLK in north Portland it’s a car sewer, and it seems like I read that the medians were blamed by local residents at the time as big part of making that road less inviting and more of a freeway feeling, when they redid it back in the 70s(80s?)

qqq
qqq
18 days ago
Reply to  Jay Cee

The MLK medians were put in to speed up traffic. They eliminated many left turns, and many pedestrian and vehicle crossings. MLK was struggling economically before they were put in in about 1980, and the medians were the final blow, turning the street into a through route instead of a main street. The needs of people living and working on/near MLK were ignored.

There was a project in the 90s that removed many sections of median, added pedestrian crossings, on-street parking, sidewalk improvements, etc. It was actually much worse before that. What was done was about all that was politically possible at the time. It would make sense to re-look at MLK now.

All that doesn’t prove medians are bad, that’s just a description of what happened with them on MLK.

Wooster
Wooster
13 days ago
Reply to  qqq

MLK never had a center turn lane, though, right? So in the MLK case, yes, the median was put in because prior to that there were people turning left from the through lane and delaying traffic, and had the effect of speeding traffic along the corridor. In the case of 82nd Ave, the center turn lane already gets left-turning traffic out of the way, just like a median would. So I would think adding a median on 82nd Ave would have no major effect either way on speeds or through-put. Instead it just reduces left turn conflicts, or at least manages them better at signals.

Caleb
Caleb
22 days ago

I own a main street business, and am so tired of fellow business owners’ myopia regarding transportation. Saying that getting customers to your business is the most important in a project like this is effectively saying that certain people matter more than others, which is a value judgment I’d rather not make, since my customer base varies widely and I see new customers all the time.

Being in a rural area, most customers drive here, but many don’t. I’m thankful for them all, and if my city removed auto traffic from main street, people would still patronize our local businesses. Every time the city closes auto traffic temporarily for events, people don’t hesitate walking multiple times farther to their destination, and the street and businesses end up filled with more life and vigor than when the street is open to auto traffic.

Customers are people. People first!

Fred
Fred
22 days ago
Reply to  Caleb

Love this. Any chance you can tell us which city?

Caleb
Caleb
21 days ago
Reply to  Fred

In a galaxy far, far away…a city much smaller than Portland…Brookings, SD.

Allan Rudwick
Allan
22 days ago

On NE MLK- in places on-street parking was added and the center turn lanes were made really skinny in some places. this does quite a bit to calm traffic- cars are scared of hitting parked cars. I’m not sure which spots this would work best but I am surprised the city didn’t propose this anywhere

Pkjb
Pkjb
21 days ago
Reply to  Allan

I don’t know what MLK was like before the dividers were added, but it is a terrible pedestrian and bicycle environment today. If I’m in the neighborhood, I do everything I can to avoid it, whether in a car, bike, or walking.

maxD
maxD
21 days ago
Reply to  Pkjb

Why do you think it is terrible? Is it too many trees? Or is it 2 lanes of traffic in each direction plus turn lanes plus parking lanes? I think MLK could be amazing if they removed a lane of traffic and made wider sidewalks and even added parking. However, the talk is about removing trees!

Pkjb
Pkjb
21 days ago
Reply to  maxD

Yes, I very much agree. Keeping the trees and converting one lane of traffic in each direction to a bike lane plus wider sidewalk would be ideal. Taking out trees would make it a full on car sewer.

prioritarian
prioritarian
21 days ago
Reply to  maxD

Crossing MLK at an intersection where trees obscure sight-lines is less safe than crossing a similar stroad without a median. Trees in median islands should be at least 1-2 blocks removed from every marked ped/bike crossing.

MLK also lacks a sufficient number of ped/bike crossings — it’s a stroad designed for cars, not people. And to be blunt, the 82nd 60% plan also looks like a stroad designed for motorvehicles, not people.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  prioritarian

The only time in my life I caught myself before nearly hitting a pedestrian was on MLK, as he stepped into the street from a landscaped median. Luckily I drive cautiously, he was paying attention, and I saw him–later than I would have liked–but I easily stopped. It surprised me, which I didn’t like.

Wooster
Wooster
13 days ago
Reply to  Allan

I agree, people keep complaining about MLK but I think it’s a great example of how to make a 4-lane road safer. I like how the narrow on-street parking slows people down, and how the shifting lanes (big medians and skinny medians, parking and no parking) has this “chicane” effect that slows you down and makes you pay attention.

Sure, a 2-lane road would be even better, but it’s the only 4-lane road in the entire area of N/NE Portland so I think we’re doing pretty good (Los Angeles has 5 to 7 lane arterials every half-mile in a grid pattern, it’s ridiculous).

I believe MLK was like a 6-lane road with a painted centerline before the medians and parking were added, so I think it’s a lot better than it used to be.

James Bloom
James Bloom
21 days ago

Rendering needs more bollards. I won’t feel safe anywhere near 82nd until there’s something substantial between me and the insane drivers

Pkjb
Pkjb
21 days ago
Reply to  James Bloom

This whole city needs more bollards. 82nd is one of the worst, but it’s hardly alone in this need.

stephan
stephan
21 days ago

I wonder whether PBOT also did extensive canvassing of future business on 82nd? I know that’s a cheeky remark, but if you want to really transform a street, why ask stakeholders representing the current design how they like it?

Pkjb
Pkjb
21 days ago

If 82nd transforms into something that is less auto centric in the future, people will blame Portland for gentrifying and intentionally pushing out people of color even if pbot gives the current businesses and residents everything they want.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
21 days ago

Some of the earliest surveys of users along 82nd were done jointly by NA folks from Hazelwood and Montevilla about 20 years ago. They asked dog walkers, pedestrians passing through, transit users, and even several prostitutes (street walkers) about what they wanted to see. Apparently the prostitutes found that 82nd was one of the few streets in the city that police did not harass them (or harass them as much as other parts of town such as NW 23rd) – they wanted car-pullouts for potential customers, wider sidewalks, greater contrast in street lighting, and other unexpected improvements.

Watts
Watts
21 days ago

The people whose lives and jobs depend on 82nd Avenue should have the most influence on this project. 

Amen, Brother!

One difference between 82nd and other projects where I have championed this position (to much derision, hope you fare better) is that 82nd has some regional significance, and so draws a much larger group of stakeholders than would a neighborhood street.

But the fundamental principle is sound.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Watts

Pawn to bishop four, check.

qqq
qqq
20 days ago
Reply to  stephan

The most likely future businesses ARE the current ones.

Wooster
Wooster
13 days ago
Reply to  stephan

A huge number of existing businesses on 82nd Ave are owned by immigrant families and other people of color and represent their entire livelihoods. And they’re struggling right now. I think it’s reasonable to give them some weight. Impacts to future theoretical people and businesses is not the same as actual humans that are there today.

Pkjb
Pkjb
21 days ago

It is absolutely outrageous that the City of Portland would propose to spend $55 million to rebuild one of the most important roads in the city without adding any bicycle facilities. What is this, 1960?

Kw
Kw
20 days ago

I live in this neighborhood adjacent to 82nd. I think crossing 82nd is a higher priority than biking along it. So I’m happy to see that. Reading some other comment how gung ho about bike lanes I hope take a more inclusive perspective and understand that some of these businesses have a regional draw. I remember driving across town from Hillsboro to get to a specific Chinese herbalist shop for my ailing mother. Yes, there are used car lots which definitely aren’t the highest and best use and hopefully the one day becomes something else but a dispersed minority groups truly value the cultural connection to some businesses are vital to those patrons and those businesses depend on those communities near and far. Thus,I would like to see more emphasis on bus capacity.
It’d be great when they repave use the red asphalt that Austin Is doing for bike lanes (one of the weekend round up articles thanks for the find and repost) for the outer right lanes to indicate a bus and BAT lane. So even without a BRT the existing 72 line get its respect. I also agree that beefing up the greenways that run parallel hopefully happen in tandem.

Matt S.
Matt S.
18 days ago

I live two blocks west of 82nd, near Fubon. I can’t wait for this improvement, the biggest thing for me is I hope that the improved aesthetic makes the fentanyl users and campers uncomfortable and want to go elsewhere. I suppose you can say I’m hoping for gentrification, but all I’m asking for is to see less people slumped over, less trash, less zombie cars, less drug paraphernalia, and less prostitution. We live on a good street, it’s the not so good people coming off 82nd that affects our livability.

Resopmok
Resopmok
18 days ago

Street trees are aesthetically nice and probably provide other benefits too, but no one ever seems to recognize the pitfalls to maintaining concrete wherever they are planted. Inevitably, roots push up sidewalks and fracture concrete, reducing the life of the concrete and asphalt infrastructure. Even smaller plants can do this, it doesn’t take giant oak or ash trees.
What solutions do advocates for street trees have to help increase the life of concrete infrastructure in this situation?

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Resopmok

Actually, Resopmok, it depends on the tree. If I remember correctly, some trees respond to our dry summers by sending their roots to the surface — those are the concrete breakers. Others have roots which grow deep, they’re not a problem.

I don’t remember the details, but the city urban forestry folks do, and no longer plant the wrong trees, as was done decades ago.

And, yes, there are benefits to trees. They lower the temperatures of the area around them. West side is much cooler than east side because of canopy. There is a push to get more trees onto east side because it got so hot during the heat dome a fed years back. Don’t you remember? People died in hot apartments.

Urban tree canopy is a big, interesting issue which gets a lot of consideration in Portland.

Pkjb
Pkjb
18 days ago

Yes. Don’t plant Norway maples or giant sequoias in curb strips. There are plenty of appropriate street trees that don’t damage infrastructure.

qqq
qqq
18 days ago
Reply to  Pkjb

The City has a list of what trees are appropriate for various situations–how wide the planter, whether there are power lines above, etc.
https://www.portland.gov/trees/tree-planting/street-tree-planting-lists.

If you click on “street tree list master table” you can see them all, and can sort them by height or other characteristics. They do have some large ones (including Giant Sequoias) but they’re only allowed in certain circumstances.

Wooster
Wooster
13 days ago
Reply to  Pkjb

The worst trees of all are the sweetgum trees, like the ones along the Williams Ave bike lane in front of the vacant Legacy Hospital blocks. They destroy both the sidewalks and the pavement!

Watts
Watts
18 days ago

Urban tree canopy is a big, interesting issue which gets a lot of consideration in Portland.

Not as much consideration as it used to; a number of healthy large trees have been cut down in my neighborhood, and will be replaced with small ornamental street trees which provide marginal benefits.

“Build at any cost” turns out to have some costs.

maxD
maxD
18 days ago

Trees that are adapted to summer humidity and rain respond to Portland’s Mediterranean climate by seeking/following moisture as the soil dries out. If a tree planter is between a road and sidewalk, evaporation will happen at the surface and slowly draw groundwater up. Water tends to to get trapped under concrete sidewalks, so a tree like a Maple or Zelkova will send its root tips there to seek water. Over time, the root puts on girth, and that will heave a sidewalk or buckle asphalt. Drought-adapted trees respond to dry spells by conserving water rather that seeking it. Our native oaks, and other oaks adapted to dry summers are great example of this.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
18 days ago
Reply to  Resopmok

Telephone poles seem to grow well in concrete sidewalks.

rick
rick
18 days ago

Put the power lines underground like Lake Oswego did with Boones Ferry Road in Lake Grove. Then plant trees that can get even taller.