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Update on SE 162nd Avenue Safety and Access to Transit Project

News article

New crossings and slower speeds coming to the Centennial neighborhood in 2021

Published
Updated

Thank you for your interest in the SE 162nd Avenue Safety and Access to Transit project. Prior to the current state of emergency related to Covid-19, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) was preparing early designs for changes to SE 162nd Avenue between SE Stark Street and SE Powell Boulevard.  

We wanted to update you on how this project will proceed next year and let you know of the opportunity you have to weigh in on what we have planned. 

The biggest change will be the lane configurations which will go from five travel lanes to three. This discourages illegal speeding and makes it easier for us to build safer places for people to cross. PBOT plans to build four new pedestrian crossings. We’ll also build new sidewalks, add street lighting to the crossings, and make the existing bike lanes more comfortable. All of these improvements will make it easier to get to transit stops as well. The crossings are being constructed as part of a partnership between TriMet and the City of Portland.

Reduce illegal speeding 

We see far too much illegal speeding along the 1.7-mile stretch of SE 162nd Avenue where we’re looking to make these improvements. More than 6,000 drivers exceed the speed limit here daily. Combined with few places to cross the road safely, this is extremely dangerous. It makes it harder for people in the neighborhood to get to their school, the bus stop, or new parks like Parklane Park and Verdell Burdine Rutherford Park.   

What’s next? 

SoonPBOT will need your feedback on the design we are working on for this project. Look for an online survey this November that will mimic our in-person open houses. This is a way for those who walk, bike, roll, and drive in the Centennial neighborhood to weigh in on the design. 

  • Fall/Winter 2020: PBOT continues design work  
  • Winter/Spring 2021: PBOT secures a contractor 
  • Spring/Summer 2021: Construction  

Throughout next year, we’ll continue to share ways for you to learn more about the design and follow our work as the project progresses. 

What we’ve heard about the project so far 

We heard that folks don’t feel safe walking across SE 162nd Avenue the way it is now.  

We heard from parents and educators in the neighborhood who support the project because they envision a SE 162nd Avenue that is more comfortable for people walking and biking. They like specific aspects of the project, like safer crossings and shortening the distance between crossings so kids and families don’t have to contend with speeding cars. They also preferred the new lane configuration because it discourages reckless speeding and passing, common in those off-peak hours when traffic is light.  

We heard from people with disabilities who shared their stories about the challenges they face crossing the street. Some expressed how far they backtrack or go out of their way to find a crossing that feels comfortable and safe enough to get to their bus stop on the other side.  

We heard specific requests for an additional crossing on SE 162nd Avenue between Stark and Alder streets. PBOT has already acquired additional funding to add this crossing to the project. People have also asked us to make sure we consider the elevation at SE Tibbets Street when designing this crossing.   

Finally, we heard from folks concerned about the lane reconfiguration and how it might impact travel times. Some were opposed to any change that might affect travel times or create long lines of vehicles stacked. Others were concerned that travel times would be worse than what PBOT is predicting. As a reminder, our travel modeling shows that the biggest impact will be about one extra minute to drive the corridor, and this minor delay will be limited primarily to peak travel times like the morning and evening rush. Vehicle turn lanes will remain at the SE Stark Street, SE Main Street, SE Division Street and SE Powell Boulevard traffic signals. 

For more information or a background on the project, the community benefits, the impact to vehicle travel times or other traffic data, visit our website at: portland.gov/transportation/162nd-Project.