(March 16, 2022) At Portland City Council today, City Commissioners voted to accept approximately $17 million in federal grants distributed by Metro through the Regional Flexible Funding Allocation (RFFA) program for four new capital projects. With a local match of approximately $11.8 million from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), the four projects will bring improvements to NE 122nd Avenue, N Willamette Boulevard, NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and on the SE Stark/Washington streets corridor in East Portland with a total investment amount of $28.7 million.
The four PBOT projects were drawn from projects already identified in PBOT's long-range planning documents and reflect community priorities for active transportation, meaning projects that improve safety for people walking, biking, and accessing public transit. With the funding approved, each project will begin being developed by a team of planners, project managers, and engineers, before starting construction in late 2025 at the earliest.
“All of these projects will bring crucial safety and accessibility improvements to our city, but I am particularly pleased to see over half of the total funds received by PBOT in this RFFA cycle, almost $18 million, invested in East Portland,” said Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty.
A high crash corridor, NE 122nd Avenue currently has long distances between safe pedestrian crossings. The funded improvements on NE 122nd Avenue include new signalized street crossings at or near NE Beech Street, NE Sacramento and Brazee streets, near NE Broadway and Hancock, and between NE Wasco and Multnomah. PBOT is currently completing a comprehensive corridor plan for 122nd Avenue, and these locations were selected based on public feedback as well as staff analysis. The total project budget is $6.4 million.
On N Willamette Boulevard, PBOT will construct an active transportation corridor with three miles of protected bike lanes, new pedestrian crossings and improved ADA access, as well as better, more accessible bus stops to make access to transit safer and easier. The total project budget is $6 million.
Developed in close partnership with the Soul District Business Association are five new pedestrian crossing improvements on NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at NE Holman, Emerson, Mason, Failing and Cook streets. The project also includes funding for traffic signal modifications and safety improvements at NE Killingsworth and NE Fremont streets. The total project budget is $4.7 million.
The SE Stark and SE Washington corridor, between SE 92nd and 109th avenues, will see safety improvements for all modes. Among the planned improvements are new transit islands and bus lanes, protected bike lanes, improved pedestrian crossings at existing signals, a new pedestrian crossing at SE 105th Avenue, new ADA curb ramps and street lighting, as well as pavement repair. The total project budget is $11.4 million.
Like many cities, most of the funding for capital improvements available to PBOT come from other agencies, mostly Metro and ODOT, often using state or federal revenue sources. Much of transportation funding is tied to particular projects or types of projects, but the regional flexible funds are a rare example federal funds that allow metropolitan planning agencies broad discretion in the kinds of projects they finance. PBOT and regional partners have long prioritized using this funding to build improvements that will make our community safer for people to walk, bike or access public transportation.