News Release: Fresh pavement and safer crossings on N Lombard Street in St. Johns, thanks to Fixing Our Streets

News Article
St. Johns welcomes holiday shoppers after PBOT finishes major repaving project through the beloved North Portland business district .

With a mix of sun and clouds, it's an image of N Lombard in St. Johns. There's a car at a stop sign and the bus stop is prominent within the photo.
PBOT recently completed the N Lombard Main Street Repair Project. Crews worked to remove trolley tracks that had been buried underneath N Lombard Street for more than a century.

(Nov. 29, 2022) The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has successfully completed the N Lombard Main Street Repair Project and residents, businesses, and holiday shoppers are already enjoying the improved street design. In addition to repaving the roadway (and removing century-old trolley rail that contributed to ongoing pavement failure) the project added 52 new ADA curb ramps and marked crosswalks along the nine-block stretch of N Lombard Street from N St. Louis Avenue to N Richmond Avenue. 

Fixing Our Streets Logo
Portland voters have twice approved an additional 10-cent per gallon gas tax. That revenue is used through PBOT's Fixing Our Streets Program to pave roads, build sidewalks, and help our youngest Portlanders safely walk, bike, and roll to school.

To improve traffic through the neighborhood, the traffic signal at the intersection of N Lombard Street and N Philadelphia Avenue has been removed, and a rapid flashing beacon has been added to N Charleston Avenue. Additionally, PBOT worked with our city partners the Bureau of Environmental Services to improve stormwater infrastructure in the business district. These improvements will make navigating the business district safer while helping to maintain water quality in our rivers.  

PBOT also worked with TriMet to add bus stop extensions along N Lombard Street. This allows buses to stop in-lane, reducing delays for riders of the Lines 4, 16, 44, and 75 while minimizing parking impacts. PBOT also installed bus pads, which uses longer-lasting concrete, to high-frequency bus stops along the corridor where the weight of buses can otherwise create ruts in the asphalt. Over the lifespan of N Lombard Street this will reduce road damage and lower long-term maintenance costs. 

A close-up view of a curb extension with reflective pavement markings on N. Lombard Street. There is a bus and a car moving away on the other side of the street.
On a nine-block stretch of N Lombard Street, from N Richmond Avenue to N. St. Louis Avenue, PBOT added marked crosswalks and built 52 ADA-compliant curb ramps.

In summer 2022, crews contracted by PBOT shut down portions of N Lombard Street to vehicle traffic so century-old streetcar tracks could be removed. The streetcar tracks were first installed in 1903 and have been buried underneath N Lombard since then. Decades of paving over the rail lines had caused parts of N Lombard to be unusually sloped, which made adding ADA-compliant curb ramps a challenge.  

PBOT split the project into three zones, which allowed crews to repair two-to-four blocks of Lombard Street at a time. This made the completing the project more efficient while reducing disruptions to businesses and residents in the area. Sidewalks remained open and pedestrian access to businesses, homes, and schools was prioritized during the entirety of the project. In spring 2023, PBOT will plant 13 trees along the corridor. 

The North Lombard Main Street Repair Project had an approximate cost of $5 million. Sixty percent, or $3 million, of that funding came from the Build Portland investment program. The remaining $2 million came from House Bill 2017, the Fixing Our Streets Heavy Vehicle Use Tax, and System Development Charges, which helped pay for safe crossing, curb extensions, and upgraded bus stops on the corridor.  

A busy intersection at night. There is a crowd of people near a lit-up Christmas tree, and cars are moving in every direction through the intersection.
Fresh pavement and improved crossings helped people safely attend a tree lighting ceremony hosted by the St. Johns Booster Club on Friday, Nov. 18.

Shop local, wear an ugly sweater, win a raffle? It's all in St. Johns. 

While the corridor offers smoother pavement, ADA-compliant curb ramps, and improved stormwater management the main attraction on N Lombard Street remains the array of outstanding local businesses. To encourage holiday shoppers to visit the corridor, the St. Johns Boosters is running a series of events and social media promotions through Sunday, Dec. 18 as part of their Light Up St. Johns holiday lineup.

People interested in participating in the #LightUpStJohns social media campaign can find participating businesses around Lombard Street by looking for a small, wooden ugly sweater outside the shop's front door or near a sandwich board along the sidewalk.  

Wearing an ugly sweater is not required to win one of the raffle prizes, but shoppers are encouraged to wear their tackiest, ugliest holiday sweater. Your friends and family may be too embarrassed to be out in public with you when you don that outdated, holiday pun-based sweater, but at shops in St. Johns you'll be welcomed with open arms. Thanks for supporting Portland’s small businesses!