east portland

First look at raised bike lanes and sidewalks on outer SE Powell Blvd

Jim Chasse (East Portland Correspondent) by on May 1st, 2020 at 9:48 am

You love to see it.
(Photos: Jim Chasse)

This story is from east Portland resident and longtime bike advocate Jim Chasse.

One of Portland’s most dangerous roads is finally getting safety upgrades that include new sidewalks, better bike lanes and upgraded crossings from SE 122nd to 136th.

Powell Blvd. improvements have been a high priority for residents since this section of southeast Portland was annexed into the city over 25 years ago… It’s great to see some new concrete on the ground!

I’ve had some time on my hands and decided to scope out the project during construction.

The Oregon Department of Transportation’s Outer Powell Safety Project aims to rebuild the dangerous arterial from I-205 to the Gresham city limits. Initial elements of the project were first proposed in 2012 with $5.5 million in state funding. Unfortunately the project’s cost soared to $11 million and no other funding was available. It was decided to apply the secured funds to repave the Outer Powell corridor from 99th to 174th and widen the pavement another 4-5 feet on either side to afford people on foot something other than gravel and potholes to walk through. Previously the pavement ended on the inside white line of the bike lanes. ODOT also built four new signalized crossings.

While the 2012 project was useful for people who along the corridor to stay out of the mud, it also generated enough pavement for automobile users to pass on the right to avoid waiting for other drivers who were stopped attempting a left turn. There are presently no left turn lanes on this portion of Powell. A dangerous, unforeseen trade-off.

Looking west at the start of the eastbound raised bike lane.


North side sidewalks and bike lane (concrete). Stormwater management/planter in between.

Thanks to then state representative and now Secretary of State candidate Shemia Fagan, $17 million was secured in 2015 to rebuild Powell from 122nd to 136th. That’s the segment under construction now. The City of Portland also contributed another $3 million for design and engineering for this section. The HB 2017 transportation bill passed by the Oregon Legislature funneled another $110 million to Powell and the rest of the project remains in the design and engineering phase with construction to begin about 2023. (Note: As per HB 2017, once these updates are complete ODOT will transfer ownership of the road to the Portland Bureau of Transportation.)

The north-south 130s, 100s and 150s neighborhood greenways will all cross Powell Blvd. The City of Portland is still working on the 130s bikeway and we’re waiting for the crossing at Powell to be constructed to complete it. Because the 130s bikeway has been delayed for almost six years, ODOT will be constructing the crossing with their own design during the construction of the safety project so two separate crews don’t interfere with each other. The remaining bikeway crossings will also need to be addressed and coordinated for possible conflicts during construction.

Jim Chasse.
(Photo: Michael Andersen)

One of the most exciting things about this new Outer Powell project was the inclusion of a segment of raised bike lanes on the south side from 134th to 136th. While it’s only a small portion, it may have a significant impact on bikeway design for the remaining three segments of the Outer Powell Blvd. Conceptual Design Plan. Businesses along Powell will benefit from the active transportation improvements because people will be able to walk, bike, or scoot to their destination. Families with children will also benefit because they’ll now have safe way to get their kids to school. Hopefully it reduces auto traffic in the mornings and afternoons for drop-offs and pick-ups.

Powell Blvd. Improvements have been a high priority for residents since this section of southeast Portland was annexed into the city over 25 years ago. It was one of the neighborhood association’s highest priorities for transportation improvements in the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Plan approved by council in 1994. While residential infill has continued over the years, transportation infrastructure improvements have languished. It’s great to see some new concrete on the ground!

— Jim Chasse
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Bike lanes on East Glisan! Checking in on PBOT’s latest arterial street update

Avatar by on September 27th, 2019 at 12:11 pm

View looking east from bridge at Menlo Park school around NE 130th. Note where old striping has been ground off. The new auto parking lane is where the old outside lane used to be. That narrow strip against the curb is the new bike lane.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

[Read more…]

Guest opinion: City’s east Portland street survey misses the mark

Avatar by on July 23rd, 2019 at 3:48 pm

PBOT is working to tame east Portland arterials.

This opinion comes in the form of a letter to the Portland Bureau of Transportation from Kem Marks, Director of Transportation Equity for Rosewood Initiative. We’ve also published a response from PBOT Project Manager Steve Szigethy.
[Read more…]

Project will reduce driving space, add safer bikeways and crossings to SE 162nd Avenue

Avatar by on April 19th, 2019 at 11:12 am

There’s no good reason a road through a residential neighborhood should be this wide.

Here’s something new: the Portland Bureau of Transportation is set to invest $1.6 million on an arterial in east Portland before it gets on their list of high crash streets.
[Read more…]

PBOT has a new strategy to tame east Portland’s deadly arterials

Avatar by on November 29th, 2018 at 4:30 pm

PBOT shared this concept of 122nd Avenue at a recent open house.

A new program from the Portland Bureau of Transportation has quietly emerged as the agency’s latest attempt to make progress on our deadliest streets.

I stumbled across the East Portland Arterial Streets Strategy (EPASS) while on PBOT’s website a few weeks ago and have now learned a bit more about what we can expect from it.
[Read more…]

Man and young child hit while crossing SE 122nd at Midland Library

Avatar by on October 2nd, 2018 at 10:13 pm

The crossing where tonight’s collision happened. The Midland Library is on the right.

We are not moving fast enough to make 122nd Avenue safer.[Read more…]

$1 million approved for next phase of Gateway Green bike park

Avatar by on September 12th, 2018 at 10:35 am

The money follows a first year of strong demand and a successful partnership with nonprofit partners.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

In a nod to its success and a commitment to create local off-road riding opportunities, the City of Portland has committed another $1 million to Gateway Green. [Read more…]

At 122nd Avenue event, Eudaly touts potential of ‘transportation done right’

Avatar by on September 10th, 2018 at 2:44 pm

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly (in blue) walks across 122nd Avenue at Stanton with former political rival Steve Novick, TriMet COO Maurice Henderson (left), County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, and PBOT Interim Director Chris Warner (back).

“The power of transportation isn’t just in getting people from place-to-place. When we get transportation right, we can accomplish so much more.
— Chloe Eudaly, Commissioner

Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly officially became in charge of the transportation bureau less than one week ago. But that didn’t stop her from showing up at a ribbon-cutting event this morning in east Portland. In a brief speech to mark the completion of the first phase of the 122nd Avenue Plan, Eudaly made it clear this oft-neglected part of our city would be a priority for her office. She also coined the phrase, “Transportation done right,” while listing several ways great streets can make a positive impact on Portland.

Eudaly was joined this morning by PBOT Interim Director Chris Warner, TriMet Chief Operating Officer Maurice Henderson, Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, and former City Commissioner Steve Novick. [Read more…]

At open house, east Portlanders get first glimpse at upcoming street projects

Avatar by on May 17th, 2018 at 11:03 am

People had plenty of feedback to share at the first of two open houses held at Midland Library on SE 122nd Avenue last night.
(Photos: Caleb Diehl)

Scott Dalton’s wife was walking home from Safeway in December 2017 when a person driving a car struck and killed her.

“She was in the crosswalk,” he says. “One car stopped and the other car didn’t.”

Dalton, a retired journalist, has lived in east Portland near 117th Avenue, for twenty years. In that time he’s seen a steady stream of people die while walking or biking. This year alone, five people have been killed while walking in the neighborhoods east of I-205.

Dalton showed up at the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s open house Wednesday night hopeful that a slate of new projects will finally bring change to the neighborhood. In the past four years, PBOT has pumped $255 million into its “East Portland in Motion” projects, many of which will break ground in early 2019.
[Read more…]

With slew of projects in the pipeline, east Portland’s streets begin era of change

Avatar by on May 16th, 2018 at 2:26 pm

It will take both money and good designs to tame east Portland streets.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

“There’s a bit of almost a giddy feeling when you think about how many things are going to happen.”
— Kem Marks, The Rosewood Initiative

2018 could go down in history as an inflection point for east Portland. After years of activism and advocacy — and planning and politicking by local governments — a part of our city that has been historically neglected since it was annexed a half-century ago is slated for an infusion of transportation infrastructure investment the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

Tonight (5/16) at an event on SE 122nd Avenue, the Portland Bureau of Transportation kicks off the first of two open houses that will feature nearly two dozen projects and programs aimed at making east Portland streets safer and more convenient. Between projects slated to break ground this summer and next, there’s so much going on it’s hard to keep up.
[Read more…]