ODOT shares 82nd Avenue plans

Although it’s currently an unfunded ‘wish list’ of things, see what changes could be coming to the outer East Portland Avenue of Roses, in the next several years …

Community members consider proposed improvements suggested by the “82nd Avenue of Roses Implementation Plan”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Staff members from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) shared what they’d learned during their “82nd Avenue of Roses Implementation Plan” process – and asked interested people to chime in with their ideas too, at an open house held on October 21 at Portland Community College Southeast Campus.

ODOT is developing this plan for the 7.5 mile stretch of 82nd Avenue of Roses from NE Killingsworth Street in the north, to SE Johnson Creek Boulevard in the south, according to Improvement Plan Manager Terra Lingley.

Starting about eight months ago, the 82nd Avenue of Roses Implementation Plan Community Advisory Committee created about four “focus areas” about which they gathered information, and then looked for solutions, remarked Lingley.

ODOT 82nd Avenue of Roses Implementation Plan Manager Terra Lingley points to four districts where some improvements have been made, and others are suggested.

Those areas are:

  • Northern area – NE Prescott to Fremont Streets
  • Montavilla District – Burnside to Alder streets
  • The Jade District – Division to Powell
  • Southern East Portland – Harney Street to Johnson Creek Boulevard

The plans, Lingley said is for projects:

  • To improve safety for people walking, biking, using mobility devices, taking transit, and driving on 82nd Avenue; and,
  • Which could be funded and built in the next 5 to 10 years.

“We worked with community groups to learn what their priorities are for 82nd Avenue,” Lingley told East Portland News.

“What we heard, overwhelmingly, was we need to make 82nd Avenue safer, more comfortable to walk along, and easier to cross.

“So, we focused on ways to facilitate crossings for pedestrians and bicyclists, and also looked at upgrades to the sidewalks, and the ‘feel’ of the street to walk along,” Lingley said.

Proposed were plans envisioned with three different levels of funding:

  1. Lowest – using funding expected to be available next 5 to 10 years;
  2. Middle – improvements that can be funded by obtaining a major grant; and,
  3. Highest – should the Oregon State legislature earmark funding for some major improvements

“The first two scenarios are really focused on sidewalk infill and crossing improvements,” commented Lingley. “The third scenario is more transformative of what could be done if curves could be moved, street trees installed, and sidewalks added in specific areas.

Many improvements in the northern three areas have already been completed during the past 10 years, Lingley reflected.

But, focusing on the segment from SE Harney Street to Johnson Creek Boulevard, Lingley said, “This is the area where we see the most challenges for pedestrians to walk along, and to cross the street.

“We have some very constrained and very narrow sidewalks – in some places, there are no sidewalks, and in one case, there is a building literally in the way!” Lingley exclaimed.

At the open house, participants look at one of the segments where additional improvements are suggested.

In one of the scenarios put forth, she said, “We have a concept to provide enhanced pedestrian crossings where we know we have gaps; in one area, to direct pedestrians over to the west side of the street, and then upgrade that sidewalk, so there is space in which folks can kind of get around that obstruction.”

The plan also proposes replacing traffic signals at Woodstock Boulevard, Flavel Street, and Foster Road; repaving this section of roadway; and moving a bus stop.

Repaving the highway from S.E. Foster Road to S.E. Lindy Street is currently scheduled for design in 2019, with paving to begin in 2020 – a project estimated to cost $9.4 million.

Participants comment on the improvements about which they most agree.

ODOT has already invested $35 million to improve the thoroughfare in the past 10 years, Lingley pointed out; and proposed projects represent another $10 million to $15 million, including the already-budgeted paving project.

For more information, see the project’s official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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