Big milestone ahead as State of Oregon set to hand off 82nd Ave to Portland

People have to put themselves in danger to cross 82nd while walking or biking because of the large crosswalk gaps. (Photo: City of Portland)

At Thursday’s Portland City Council meeting, commissioners will vote to adopt an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the Portland Bureau of Transportation and the Oregon Department of Transportation giving the City of Portland will official jurisdiction over 82nd Avenue as of June 1.

Until now, ODOT has managed 82nd Ave, a.k.a. State Route 213, and one of the most dangerous corridors in the city for all road users. The IGA is the final administrative hurdle that sets 82nd onto a future that (hopefully) looks much different than its past.

What ODOT and PBOT plan to do with the $80 million. (Photo: PBOT)

Activists have been ringing the alarm about 82nd Ave for years, and this agreement marks a big milestone in the fight to make this crucial corridor a safer place.

Last June, we reported the Oregon Legislature voted to spend $80 million in American Recovery Plan Act ARPA funds to facilitate the transfer. Preceding that, PBOT Director Chris Warner and ODOT Director Kris Strickler co-signed a letter to the legislature making a case for these funds, which gives an idea of how the two agencies have been on the same page on this issue for some time.

Along with the shift in which agency will oversee the street, Thursday’s vote will formally accept the ARPA grant so PBOT can make “safety, asset and mobility improvements” to 82nd Ave. In addition, ODOT will be providing PBOT with $70 million in other federal funds for this corridor, and the city is committing to another $35 million. In short: there’s going to be a lot of money to use on making this street safer and more accessible.

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Since the ARPA money needs to be spent within five years, advocates and agency staff are under relatively tight time constraints to get the first wave of projects done. PBOT is calling this first round of spending its “Critical Fixes.”

In the IGA documents, these projects are described as “safety upgrades and multi-modal improvements” that includes things like new crossings and enhanced safety at existing one, adding enough street lighting so the entire street meets PBOT standards, speed reduction measures, updated signal timing and ensuring ADA standards on sidewalks and curb ramps are met.

Beyond the meaning this has to the community and people who’ve been fighting for a safer 82nd Ave for years, this IGA is important because it hasn’t been commonplace for ODOT and PBOT to work together in this way. IGAs are often signed for smaller projects, but a move like this on such a large corridor (and with so much money involved) is rare.

You can watch Portland City Council make this agreement official at 2:00 pm tomorrow. There is 90 minutes allotted to this ordinance, and public testimony will be accepted, which you can sign up for here.

To learn more about what the future of 82nd Avenue might look like, there’s a session at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit today hosted by Oregon Walks 82nd Ave Coalition and Project Manager Zachary Lauritzen that will share more about the transfer and will ask attendees, “to dream big and imagine what 82nd avenue could be.”

Portland teams with hip-hop dancers to promote new greenway routes

Soulja Hostile, aka Tyrell Sanders, doing the Greenway Shuffle.
(Screen grab from PBOT video)

Streets are not truly safe until you can break dance in them.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is reaching deep into its bag of tricks to promote cycling on their 25 miles of new neighborhood greenways east of I-205.

Over the summer they gamified the new routes with a Go By Greenways game that awarded prizes for people who found keywords posted on Zebra-themed flyers. While working on that game, they met the owners of Hip Hop Soulsation Academy, a local business that teaches hip-hop, freestyle, and contemporary dance just a few blocks from the new HOP (Hollady-Oregon-Pacific) Greenway.

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