‘Outer Powell Safety Project’ creeps forward

Find out how far along this much-needed road improvement project has come, and what’s in its future …

Many people come to learn more about the Outer Powell Boulevard Transportation Safety Project.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Neighbors and business people got a look at the progress of the Outer Powell Boulevard Transportation Safety Project at an open house held on March 6 at Ron Russell Middle School, in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood.

As neighbors know, this segment of SE Powell Boulevard looks more like a two-lane country road than a major thoroughfare. The reason for this project, in fact, is the narrow width of the two-lane road, combined with the large number of motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists increase the risk of crashes.

Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Project Manager Mike Mason revealed, “The intersection of Powell Boulevard and SE 122nd is the #1 location for the highest number and severity of crashes in the entire state.”

ODOT Project Manager Mike Mason shows how an outer East Portland roadway “Potential Cross Section” segment of SE Powell Boulevard may look after the project is complete.

Staff members with ODOT gave those who attended the opportunity to learn and comment about plans to improve safety on four miles of SE Powell Boulevard, from 99th Avenue east to the Portland city limits.

“Improvements being studied include sidewalks, bike lanes, center turn lanes, medians, pedestrian crossings, access management, storm water treatment, and bus stops,” Mason told East Portland News.

Adam Argo from the project’s consultation firm, David Evans & Associates, speaks with Timothy Hood about the intersection near his home – SE 150th and Powell Boulevard.

Attendees were encouraged to write notes on large maps of the project alignment, posted around the gymnasium walls.

“I like what I’m seeing on the map so far,” commented Centennial neighbor Timothy Hood. “I’m concerned with [traffic safety] education and enforcement,” he added. “There needs to be more training available regarding the ‘rules of the road’, especially for pedestrians and bicyclists.”

“We are about to settle on what we call the ‘footprint’ of the project,” explained Mason. “We look at all of the impacts, including environmental, within that footprint.”

Setting the project’s exact “footprint” is an important milestone of the project, Mason explained. “This is because, after it is set, we launch an analysis of all the impacts it will have, including the Environmental Assessment. The federal government must approve these impacts for the project to continue.”

They expect the “planning phase” of the project to be compete by August 2016.

“Construction will come along when we get the funding,” Mason stated.

ODOT Major Projects/Planning Manager Alan Snook listens to neighbors’ concerns.

Take a look at the project’s official website to learn more about the comment, and make use of their online “comment forms”. To open the homepage for the Outer Powell Boulevard Transportation Safety Project: CLICK HERE.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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