Plans include trees, pedestrian crossings, and new street pavement, improving livability and safety while preserving access to businesses
COMING SOON: An artist's rendering shows pedestrians walking and pushing strollers on a wide sidewalk next to 82nd Avenue, with a new tree-lined median island in the center lane. The wider sidewalk and trees in this section are part of a near-finished design where construction is scheduled to start this summer. Rendering by Portland Bureau of Transportation.
CURRENT CONDITIONS: SE 82nd Avenue today, next to SF Supermarket, looking south toward SE Foster Road. It is a four-lane street with a center turn lane and wide outside lanes, which can encourage speeding. Narrow sidewalks without trees are unwelcoming and make travel in the area difficult for pedestrians. Today there are few trees and little tree canopy to speak of, which leaves pedestrians in the hot sun in summer months. Photo by Portland Bureau of Transportation.
(January 31, 2024) The Portland Bureau of Transportation today released plans for sidewalks, pedestrian safety improvements and new, smooth pavement on a 2.5-mile stretch of 82nd Avenue, one of the most dangerous streets in the city.
Construction on PBOT's 82nd Avenue Critical Fixes: Major Maintenance project will start this summer, as part of the bureau's multi-year Building a Better 82nd program. Today, the 60% design drawings and plans are available for public review -- representing a major milestone in the project's development -- the result of nine months of public engagement, safety and traffic analysis, and design progress. The Major Maintenance project is the largest of more than a half dozen projects PBOT will build on the corridor through 2026.
Safety improvements are focused on some major community destinations in the corridor, including McDaniel High School, the Jade District and Eastport Plaza Shopping Center. It will improve access to TriMet's Line 72, the most popular bus route in Oregon.
Transformative maintenance upgrades include new pavement, from curb to curb at the NE Fremont intersection, from NE Siskiyou to Schuyler streets, and from SE Mill Street to SE Foster Road. Some sections of roadway will be completely rebuilt, from the ground up. The project will also build new or improved traffic signals at 10 intersections and update with more modern street markings.
The major maintenance project is a key piece of the $185 million overhaul of 82nd Avenue that the legislature approved in 2021, with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), as well as city and state transportation funding. The funding was an essential part of the agreement to transfer the road to PBOT control in 2022.
"For too long, 82nd Avenue has been known as a high crash corridor," Portland Transportation Commissioner Mingus Mapps said. "With the help of legislative leaders and community partners, PBOT 's major maintenance project will make this a safer street, with the smooth, well-maintained pavement Portlanders expect. I'm especially glad that PBOT has made adjustments to the plan, so we can ensure businesses have the access they need."
"When we invest in PBOT, we invest in the safety and livability of our community and grow the economy by contracting with local construction companies to perform the work," PBOT Director Millicent Williams said. "Our staff have been working for months to ensure this major maintenance project will be responsive to community needs. We are bringing wider sidewalks, crossing improvements, street trees and more to a corridor where people have disproportionately been affected by climate impacts and unsafe pedestrian conditions."
Over the last year, PBOT has made design updates in response to outreach and discussion with businesses and community groups, block-by-block, along the route. In some cases, planners and engineers are able to make additional areas for drivers to turn left from 82nd Avenue to driveways and side streets, improving access to businesses and preventing traffic diversion onto neighborhood streets.
In response to community interest in long-lasting tree canopy, PBOT's planned design will give trees more space to grow and thrive. The medians will be fully excavated down to the soil, and instead of trees confined to small concrete wells, the entire median island surface between the curbs will be landscaped with ground covers and shrubs. Plans call for 250 new trees along the corridor.
Trees are set back at least 25 feet from crosswalks with wider median refuges to maintain visibility for pedestrians.
Pedestrians cross a four-lane street with landscaped, tree-lined median islands in the center lane. Drivers wait at a red light while pedestrians cross. As part of the Major Maintenance Project, PBOT will install two signalized pedestrian crossings with median islands along 82nd Avenue, similar to this example rendering, which is based on a 60% design concept. 82nd Avenue at SE Lafayette and 82nd Avenue at SE Raymond will look similar to the above example. Within the intersections, medians will feature a red stamped brick pattern. Trees are set back from the intersection to maintain visibility and allow for emergency vehicle movements. Image by PBOT.
In December, the 82nd Avenue Business Association voted to endorse the 82nd Avenue Major Maintenance project based on PBOT's business outreach work and the modifications proposed in the 60% design draft.
“We are excited to see the Transportation Bureau pursue needed safety and livability improvements while considering the viability of businesses along ‘The Avenue’,” said Nancy Chapin, President of the 82nd Avenue Business Association. “For our group, this represents a meaningful change in how the city reacts to community needs compared to similar projects recently completed. We look forward to this continued cooperation as 82nd Avenue matures into a vibrant commercial and residential corridor.”
Over 10 years (2012-2021), there were 14 traffic deaths and 122 people seriously injured in crashes on 82nd Avenue south of Lombard Street within the City of Portland. Preliminary estimates for 2022 to 2023 include four more traffic deaths on this city-designated high crash corridor.
In the 10-year period, more than 90% of traffic deaths were pedestrians or bicyclists, or people in cars turning left at locations without signals. Two-thirds of all serious injuries were pedestrians or bicyclists, or people in cars turning left or crossing at locations without signals.
"As a business located on busy 82nd Ave two blocks north of Holgate, we have witnessed more collisions than we care to admit in front of our shop over the years,” said Audri Wolf, Todd's Point S Tire and Auto Service Office Manager. “Often, we are first on the scene to help individuals, clear up the mess and direct traffic prior to emergency services arriving. We welcome the much-needed safety improvements the 82nd Avenue project is addressing."
Learn more, provide input on refinements by March 31
Visit our online comment form to learn more and provide your feedback by March 31.
PBOT will also offer two in-person opportunities to review a larger map, talk with the design team, and provide feedback. Meetings will be held in February and March, and details will be posted online at the Major Maintenance project website as soon as they are scheduled.
PBOT will provide periodic updates throughout construction. To sign up for construction updates by email or to contact project staff, visit the 82nd Avenue Critical Fixes website.
Largest piece of the 82nd Avenue rebuild
With the Major Maintenance project, PBOT will improve a 2.5-mile stretch of NE 82nd Avenue from Fremont Street to Schuyler Street, and SE 82nd Avenue from Mill Street to Foster Road.
At $55 million, it is the largest part of the $185 million overhaul of 82nd Avenue that will be built through the end of 2026.
With City Council approval this spring, construction will start this summer.
Major Maintenance project improvements will:
- Replace the pavement curb-to-curb in key areas, and rebuild the outer two travel lanes, from the ground up.
- Rebuild or replace traffic signals and update with modern signs and street markings.
- Provide safe and comfortable places for people to cross 82nd Avenue by installing pedestrian signals, bicycle signals (at neighborhood greenways), and median refuge islands.
- Reduce the risk of serious injuries and fatalities for all people traveling by installing median islands and separators in areas with a high crash history.
- Mitigate the impact of extreme heat events by planting approximately 250 trees.
- Improve accessibility by updating or replacing 200 ADA curb ramps for people using mobility. devices, wheelchairs, and strollers.
- Build or upgrade 15,000 linear feet of sidewalk.
See more details, block by block, at the overview map on the Major Maintenance project website
In total, PBOT will construct 12 new or improved pedestrian crossings and traffic signals on 82nd Avenue between now and 2026 as part of the Major Maintenance project.
Each pedestrian crossing features new traffic signals, upgraded ADA curb ramps, lighting, and high-visibility crosswalks. Some pedestrian crossings feature pedestrian refuge islands and restrict left-turning vehicles. At locations with full traffic signals, PBOT will separate left-turning vehicles from pedestrian and bicycle movements through signal phasing.
Pedestrians will also get a head start walk sign several seconds before right-turning drivers get a green light at some locations. At intersections of 82nd Avenue at neighborhood greenways, people bicycling will benefit from bicycle signals, green bike boxes and improved signal detection.
Community and business organizations support 82nd Avenue Major Maintenance
“When we heard about funding and transfer of 82nd Ave to PBOT we were ecstatic,” said Mandy Kao, Manager of Collective Oregon Eateries (CORE), a food cart pod and event space on SE 82nd Avenue. “This news meant modernizing 82nd Ave that would benefit residents and businesses in numerous ways. Then we became concerned as to how the new transformation may disturb fluidity that we have been accustomed to. We understood that things couldn't stay the same as the area needs to be updated, while trying to find a balance that would accommodate our business. PBOT reached out to us, while we were also reaching out to them. We were educated about the design plans and timeframes. PBOT encouraged the community to gather and provide input. From then on, we have been working with PBOT and appreciate their efforts in reaching out, interacting, and being receptive of our concerns and responses. We would encourage the 82nd Ave communities to be involved as it would affect our daily lives. We look forward to the designs with the input from the communities!"
PBOT is gathering more public input and will finalize designs this spring. PBOT will take a construction contract to City Council for approval in early summer. Construction is anticipated to begin as soon as this summer and will continue through the end of 2026. (See details in the timeline image below.)
“We are thrilled to see safe streets and tree canopy infrastructure coming to 82nd Avenue," said Zachary Lauritzen, Oregon Walks Interim Executive Director. "For too long, 82nd Avenue has been unsafe and very hot. The trees and pedestrian enhancements are good first steps to transitioning 82nd Avenue away from a high speed highway to a place where everyone can move around safely and comfortably.”
Many PBOT projects are Building a Better 82nd Avenue
Between 2024 and 2027, planning, design and construction of more than a half a dozen projects will be happening concurrently along the corridor, as illustrated in this timeline:
About Building a Better 82nd
A critical north-south connection and one of Portland’s high-crash corridors, 82nd Avenue is in urgent need of safety and maintenance improvements. As of June 2022, the state transferred ownership of 82nd Avenue to the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). While completing the most critical repairs, PBOT is identifying and prioritizing future investments for a better 82nd Avenue. Since 2022, PBOT has conducted broad and inclusive community engagement and worked directly with community-based organizations and agency partners to determine what the bureau should focus on for improving 82nd Avenue long-term.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the city’s transportation system and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage, and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility. Learn more at portland.gov/transportation