(Nov. 18, 2021) One of Portland’s most iconic and vibrant business districts on SE Hawthorne Boulevard is now easier for Portlanders to access thanks to the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) Hawthorne Pave and Paint project. The project took advantage of a scheduled maintenance paving of SE Hawthorne Boulevard to improve safety and accessibility for pedestrians and reduce travel times for bus riders.
On SE Hawthorne Boulevard from 23rd to 50th avenues, PBOT crews repaved 28 blocks to create a smoother street and extend its lifespan while redesigning it as a safer, three-lane street. The project also upgraded 163 curb ramps to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), improved 10 pedestrian crossings with median islands, crosswalks, and installed 14 new streetlights. Finally, the project retimed 10 traffic signals for improved traffic flow in addition to adding red bus-and-turn lanes and upgrading the signal at SE César E. Chávez Boulevard.
Through PBOT’s Vision Zero initiative, SE Hawthorne Boulevard has long been on the bureau’s list as one of the most dangerous streets in the city. For the Hawthorne Pave and Paint project, PBOT prioritized safety in selecting the new street design and improvements. The three-lane design provides space for new pedestrian islands, street design making it safer for people of all ages and abilities to cross the street. Additionally, the crosswalks, islands, and improved lighting all help improve visibility of pedestrians. By reducing the number of travel lanes and providing a center turn lane, PBOT also anticipates a reduction crashes and injuries due to turning vehicles. Combined, these changes make Portland’s iconic Hawthorne Boulevard a more enjoyable and safer pedestrian experience for people visiting the area to shop, dine, and do business.
“The Hawthorne Boulevard Business Association is thrilled with the improved pedestrian experience as a result of the Hawthorne Pave and Paint Project!” said Bill Levesque, President of the Hawthorne Boulevard Business Association. “The Portland Bureau of Transportation did excellent work to create an environment with safer traffic travel speeds, more room in the lanes for busses, dedicated turning space for drivers, new concrete crossing islands and more visible crosswalks. Join us on the Boulevard this holiday season and visit our great businesses. Find unique gifts and enjoy great food and drinks!”
In partnership with TriMet, PBOT added new Rose Lane improvements on SE Hawthorne Boulevard. These improvements serve TriMet’s Line 14, which connects Lents Town Center, SE Portland, and Portland City Center via SE Hawthorne Boulevard. Dedicated bus lanes were added on both approaches to the SE César E. Chávez Boulevard intersection, and the signal was upgraded. These improvements, in addition to the SE Hawthorne and Madison Multimodal Improvements, give Line 14 bus riders a faster, more reliable bus trip from the central city to Foster and Lents areas.
Another important outcome of the project was accessibility improvements along Hawthorne. PBOT crews upgraded or installed 163 curb ramps to bring them into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These improvements make Hawthorne easier to navigate for people who use wheelchairs and mobility devices, as well as families with children in strollers. These curb ramp improvements are also a part of PBOT’s ongoing efforts to add or upgrade 1,500 curb ramps in Portland by 2030 as part of the ADA Title II Public Right-of-Way Transition Plan.
Hawthorne resident Joanne Johnson said, “As a mobility scooter user, the flatter, smoother ramps that line up with each other make me feel so much safer when I’m rolling down Hawthorne.”
PBOT has also been working to improve adjacent Neighborhood Greenways to make it easier for people on bicycles travel through the area and access all the great things on Hawthorne. Through the Slow Streets program, PBOT crews have added new concrete planters and additional signage to slow car traffic on SE Salmon Street, which runs parallel to Hawthorne Boulevard. This discourages cut-through traffic and creates more space for Portlanders and visitors to walk, bike and roll safely. Fixing Our Streets has also provided funding for additional traffic calming improvements for the SE Salmon and 40s Neighborhood Greenways, which will be constructed in coming years. PBOT will be working in 2022 to identify additional Neighborhood Greenway improvements for future implementation.
Looking ahead, PBOT will extend the current 20 mph speed limit within the Hawthorne Business District farther west from Grand to SE 30th avenues, thanks to a recently-approved speed change request to ODOT.
We hope you enjoy the brand new, safer pedestrian crossings, transit improvements, and curb ramps as you explore the wonderful Hawthorne Business District and everything it has to offer!
Learn more about the Hawthorne Pave and Paint project online at www.portland.gov/transportation/planning/hawthorne-pave-paint.