‘Division Dip’ makes a safer ride on I-205’s Multi-Use Path

For those who’ve been almost run over trying to cross SE Division Street near I-205, see why this improvement is a welcome relief …

Even though the “Rapid-Flash Beacon” was blinking, and we were halfway across SE Division Street, at Interstate 205 – the driver of this car (clearly seen talking on her cell phone) wasn’t going to stop. That is, until she saw our camera’s photoflash go off, recording her pedestrian-bullying behavior.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Many users of the Interstate 205 Multi-Use Path can tell about hits and near misses by cars while crossing SE Division Street – even when the “Rapid-Flash Beacon” is activated.

But, the opening of a new undercrossing – which takes pedestrians and bicyclists under SE Division Street – has changed all that.

> See our story, “ODOT shares vision of Division Street Underpass” published last fall: CLICK HERE.

A group gathers to learn more about, and admire, this nearly-completed project.

Oregon Department of Transportation Region 1 Public Policy and Community Affairs Manager Shelli Romero (far left) explains why constructing the underpass was delayed.

A group made up mostly of governmental officials and path-users met in outer East Portland on August 22 to walk the newly-opened improvement.

“As you recall, from attending our past open houses last year, we first developed and designed the project,” said Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Region 1 Public Policy and Community Affairs Manager Shelli Romero. “We began construction in May, and it’s now completed,”

Building the undercrossing, as it is called, had been in plans all along, Romero added. “We wanted to build this undercrossing when the TriMet MAX Light Rail Green Line was constructed, but we didn’t have the funding. The Federal stimulus money we received instead went to improve lighting at this station, and at Lents Town Center.”

The project’s quality is top-notch, says ODOT Assistant Project Manger Tim Smith.

ODOT Assistant Project Manger Tim Smith, who oversaw the construction phase of the project when funding became available, picked up the story.

“The total cost of this project was $660,000,” Smith told East Portland News. “The actual construction was about $450,000, and the balance covered the engineering costs, and the on-site inspection and permits.”

The local contractor, 2KG Contractors, Inc., of Gresham, did well, Smith said. “In fact, it they did very well, quality-wise. They were responsive to our needs during construction. It came in on time, and only a little bit over budget.”

Even though the Multi-Use Path is close by to a MAX Light Rail station, ODOT Region 1 spokesman Don Hamilton said that it is an ODOT project. “It certainly is fortuitous [for TriMet] that it is immediately adjacent the Division Street MAX Station. This will make it easier, and safer, for MAX users to use the Multi-Use Path.”

The group takes a walk through the newly-completed Interstate 205 Multi-Use Path undercrossing.

At the gathering was TriMet Active Transportation Planner Jeff Owen, who commented, “Completing this project is important to what I do, because this is another way to complete the trail system that obviously crosses alongside the [MAX Light Rail] Green Line, and also aligns with our bus service on SE Division Street.

“We do have a rapid-flash beacon at the crossing on SE Division Street, but the [Multi-Use Path] is also a part of a low-car-use lifestyle which is important to our transit service.”

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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