The Portland Bureau of Transportation plans to spend $7.3 million to add safety improvements and paving repairs to a stretch of 122nd Avenue from Northeast Fremont Street in the north to Southeast Foster Road in the south.
“There’s still a lot to be determined about where we’re going to be, ” said Dylan Rivera, media relations spet for PBOT.
The Portland City Council voted June 18 to approve money for the project as part of a $29 million funding package for transportation. City Commissioner Steve Novick has stated that this budget gives PBOT the largest general fund investment the city’s made in transportation in 30 years. “This is one of the biggest investments the city’s ever made in one of the high-crash corridors, ” Rivera said. “122nd has a high rate of fatalities and serious-injury crashes for people in cars, biking or walking.”
Head of the transportation bureau at city council, Novick has championed the improvements to 122nd Avenue in part to prompt TriMet to provide frequent bus service for Line 71, which travels along the busy street. Line 71 stops about every 20 minutes, less often than TriMet’s frequent service lines.
PBOT, working alongside TriMet, has identified several safety improvements that would give riders better access to Line 71, infusing its route with more speed.
Approximately $4 million will pay for the safety improvements to the street; another $3.3 million will fund repaving projects, Rivera said. Private contractors hired by PBOT will remove the top two inches or more from the street, then repave the four-lane road.
So far, PBOT has identified five intersections that, based on community input, desperately need safety improvements. PBOT plans to upgrade them and add crossing and sidewalks (see sidebar).
“We still need to work with the community and do more engineering studies on what’s possible with the dollars we have,” Rivera said.
Some crossings might already be painted, but they lack a flashing beacon. Others need curb ramps, allowing people in wheelchairs to cross the street more easily. In other cases, curb extensions may be added, allowing pedestrians more visibility and shortening the distance across the street.
Other additions include raised refuge islands for walkers in the middle of turn lanes. Sidewalk infill will be installed, not only on 122nd Avenue but also on side streets where a missing section of sidewalk prevents an easy journey to schools or parks.
PBOT expects to issue bids on the project in spring 2016, with construction targeted for summer 2016.
The street paving will disrupt traffic on and off for a few months, Rivera said. However, PBOT plans to scatter smaller safety projects throughout the corridor a few weeks at a time. The entire project might stretch over three to six months, he said.
In addition to the improvements planned next year for 122nd Avenue, more rapid flash beacons will be added to the street later this fall, thanks partly to state money procured a year ago.
Rivera pointed out PBOT typically receives about $9 million a year from the city’s general fund, but this year, because of a healthier economy, the department is receiving an additional $20 million. “If you add up the roughly $7.3 million for 122nd Avenue, that’s really the biggest single piece of that whole allocation,” Rivera said. “In city budget terms, that’s a big win for the community out there.”
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122nd Avenue Crossings Set for Improvement
Working with TriMet, the Portland Bureau of Transportation identified about $8 million in pedestrian crossing projects, sidewalk gaps to infill, ADA curb ramps and bus stop improvements needed before TriMet commits to providing more frequent service on Line 71/122nd Avenue. Planned improvements are from Parkrose on the north, south to Foster Road.
Some of the highest-priority crossings for safety in the areas along 122nd Avenue slated for new crossings are:
Northeast Stanton Street—$161,250
Northeast Multnomah Street—$161,250
Woodward Place/Tibbetts Street—$161,250
Southeast Liebe Street—$161,250
Southeast Boise Street*—$161,250
*Flashing beacon crossing