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Signals & Street Lighting crews remove the bags from the new intersection at NE Columbia at Alderwood. Photo by Stefan Bussey, Portland Bureau of Transportation.
By Hannah Schafer
(Oct. 20, 2016) Last Thursday our Signals & Street Lighting and Maintenance crews turned on a new traffic signal at NE Columbia Boulevard and NE Alderwood Road in the Cully neighborhood, completing the first of many infrastructure improvements coming to the area.
The traffic signal will significantly benefit Portland Parks & Recreation’s Colwood Golf Center redevelopment project, which is finishing up construction. The striping work for the updated intersection had to be done in the middle of the night due to very heavy traffic volumes, underscoring the need for the new signal.
“This is like Christmas coming early knowing that I will not have to use that intersection during the dark winter, with no traffic lights, again,” said area resident Sally Rivard.
The new signal will also help manage traffic for the many freight companies in the area, which had been experiencing backups as a result of a 45-day closure to motorized traffic that began Sept. 26 at NE Cornfoot Road near its intersection with Alderwood.
“This will make the current situation with Cornfoot closed so much better,” said Pia Welch, Chair of the Portland Freight Committee. Completing the project ahead of the holiday season will also help freight companies move shipments more efficiently during their busiest time of year.
The new signal is funded by the NE 47th Avenue Phase I Local Improvement District (LID). The LID is a partnership between PBOT, Portland Parks & Recreation, the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Portland Water Bureau who are all undertaking capital improvement projects in the area.
“This traffic signal is a sign of great things happening in the Cully area,” said Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees PBOT. “I’m glad to see PBOT and other bureaus working together to make freight improvements that will also make the Cully area safer for people biking, walking and taking public transit.”
PBOT will also be fully reconstructing NE 47th from Columbia to south of Cornfoot. The current pavement is in some of the worst condition in the city. The Transportation Bureau will also build new sidewalks, protected bike lanes in the form of a multi-use path and install a rapid flashing beacon so that pedestrians can safely cross the street.
Other projects happening as part of the LID include:
Thank you to our crews for your continuous work, in all kinds of weather, to help Portlanders get from place to place easily, safely and sustainably.
(October 17, 2016) – The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation advises the traveling public that street improvements will require lane closures on NE 122nd Avenue from NE Stanton Street to NE Halsey Street, on Tuesday, Oct. 18, through Thursday, Nov. 10, 7 a.m. through 4 p.m. each work day.
The road closure will allow crews to grind and pave 3.04 lane miles of pavement.
Streets with ground down surfaces are open for travel. Lane closures are only in effect during project hours. Access will be maintained for businesses and residents during the project.
The traveling public is advised to expect delays while repairs are being made. We ask the public to travel cautiously, observe all lane closures and directions by reader boards and flaggers, and use alternate routes if possible.
This work is weather-dependent and the schedule may change.
(Oct. 13, 2016) The Portland Bureau of Transportation warns the traveling public to be prepared for high winds and heavy rain that could create hazardous traveling conditions tonight and Saturday. The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for the Portland area from 2 to 10 p.m., with the strongest winds from 4 to 9 p.m.
Wind speeds are expected to reach 15 to 30 mph, with gusts of 35 to 45 mph. Winds of this strength could make travel hazardous by bringing fallen trees, tree limbs, and power lines into streets. Debris can also block storm drains, leading to street flooding.
PBOT asks the traveling public, residents and businesses to take steps to reduce hazards associated with these conditions. The best way to prevent streets from flooding is for everyone to help keep Portland's 58,000 storm drains clear before a storm arrives. Use a rake, shovel or broom and clear by standing in the sidewalk, not the street. Be aware of passing vehicles and check the drain again during and after a storm. It's also a good idea to clear inlets that lead stormwater to the green street planters in city streets. See more tips at http://bit.ly/pdxstormdrains
All travelers should be alert, regardless of how they are moving throughout the city:
See more travel tips on PBOT's web site: http://bit.ly/rainytravel
PBOT crews are prepared to close streets and may set up detour routes for closures of long duration.
Residents are advised to notify PBOT of debris, mud, rocks, trees, or branches blocking a street by calling our 24/7 maintenance dispatch hotline at 503-823-1700. Property owners should keep sidewalks clear of small debris.
During a severe weather event, many people may report the same incident. Residents may find it more convenient to report using the PDX Reporter App on Apple and Android smartphones. To report standing water on a roadway, use the category Plugged Storm Drain/Inlet. To report rock or mudslides or other debris blocking a travel lane, use the Debris in Roadway category. We strongly encourage the public to submit photos with their service requests, because that helps PBOT crews assess changing conditions as they respond to reports.
The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) will continue to monitor the Sycamore gauge for Johnson Creek water levels. See the gauge at http://bit.ly/2ewbCdK. Bank full is 10 feet; flood stage is 11 feet; and with the restoration work that BES has done in the Foster Floodplain Natural Area, it now takes about 13 feet for Johnson Creek to flood.
The last observed level was about 2.79 feet (11:30 a.m. on Oct. 13), and it is predicted to reach 4.55 feet at midnight tonight and 9.22 feet by 6 a.m. Friday, Oct. 14. So, there is a possibility that Johnson Creek may approach bank full by early Friday morning, but it is not expected to flood.
To help residents and business owners prepare for a flood emergency, sand and sandbags are available at no charge to anyone who wants to use them to protect their property from flood damage. City crews keep the sites stocked with sand and sand bags. No shovels are provided, so the public must bring their own. Locations are:
If travelers encounter downed utility wires or power lines in the Portland area, they should call 911. Never touch a downed power line. In fact, do not even get close. Even if a power line is not sparking, it could still be energized. Remember that water and electricity do not mix. Never try to free lines or to remove tree limbs from lines by yourself.
In addition, to report power outages or downed lines, contact PGE at 503-464-7777 or Pacific Power at 1-877-508-5088. To report traffic signals out, call PBOT's 24/7 dispatch hotline at 503-823-1700.
The City recommends Portlanders monitor conditions where they are planning to travel, watch the forecast, and use www.PublicAlerts.org as their source for emergency updates. The site provides links to street closures, highway road conditions, transit schedules and service alerts, and other emergency information.
PBOT's Get Home Safe campaign informs the public about what the Transportation Bureau does to help Portlanders travel safely during severe fall and winter weather and what Portlanders can do to prepare for travel during severe weather.
Commissioner Steve Novick walks with students and families on new sidewalks that lead to East Portland's Gilbert Park Elementary. The PBOT sidewalks project was completed over the summer. Photo by Dylan Rivera, Portland Bureau of Transportation.
By Dylan Rivera
(Oct. 12, 2016) Dozens of children had a surprise on their way to school at Gilbert Park Elementary last Wednesday.
Commissioner Steve Novick, Transportation Director Leah Treat, David Douglas Superintendent Ken Richardson and safety advocates joined the grade schoolers and their families in walking to Gilbert Park Elementary. The grownups and students celebrated International Walk + Roll to School Day.
And they were able to celebrate something more than symbolism: New sidewalks were completed over the summer, thanks to a state grant the Portland Bureau of Transportation obtained for building safer routes to two East Portland schools.
Students at Gilbert Park Elementary enjoyed jump rope, games and other fun activities to celebrate International Walk + Roll to School Day on Oct. 5, 2016. Photo by Felicity J. Mackay, Portland Bureau of Transportation.
Stacie Moncrief, principal at Gilbert Park Elementary talks about how new sidewalks have opened up new possibilities for students and families. See her on PBOT's YouTube channel.
“The community and myself were really looking forward to having the sidewalk come in,” said Stacie Moncrief, principal at Gilbert Park Elementary. “Now I feel comfortable partnering with PBOT Safe Routes, so we can do more activities, and do more events to promote walking and biking to school.”
The $1.5 million Powellhurst-Gilbert Safe Routes to School Project built sidewalks on two east-west corridors. On SE Holgate, the paths run from bustling SE 122nd Avenue to Gilbert Heights Elementary School. On SE Ramona Street, they connect 122nd Avenue to Alice Ott Middle School and Moncrief’s Gilbert Park Elementary.
Families at 46 schools across Portland had registered their plans to celebrate the international day for walking, biking and rolling to school last week.
“Walking to school makes kids safer and heathier,” Novick said. The city will be able to install more sidewalks because voters in May approved a 10-cent gas tax, known as the Fixing Our Streets Program.
“We’re celebrating the fact that it’s now easier for kids to walk to school in this area,” Novick said. “With the Fixing Our Streets program, we’re going to be able to improve the sidewalk network around David Douglas High School and on 122nd Avenue so it’s easier for seniors and students to get to bus stops on that route.”
Treat said that she’s proud that Portland students ride to school at eight times the national average. Bicycling and walking to school has increased 35 percent since 2006.
Danita Wakamatsu, whose daughter Manaia attends kindergarten at Gilbert Park, said she’s glad to see so many people celebrating safe routes to school. See her on PBOT's YouTube channel.
“Biking and walking to school introduces children to an active lifestyle that can last a lifetime,” Treat said. “As a mom and a transportation director, making sure children have safe routes to school is a high priority for me.”
Danita Wakamatsu, whose daughter Manaia attends kindergarten at Gilbert Park, said she’s glad to see so many people celebrating safe routes to school.
“Besides camaraderie and bonding in the community, it’s nice to see people come together and do better for the environment and have fun at the same time,” Wakamatsu said. She’s hoping to have more facilities for biking and walking in the area.
“I wish she had more space to run and walk around instead of us having to drive,” Wakamatsu said.
Commissioner Steve Novick, Transportation Director Leah Treat, David Douglas Superintendent Ken Richardson and safety advocates joined grade schoolers and their families in walking to Gilbert Park Elementary Oct. 5, 2016. Photo by Felicity J. Mackay, Portland Bureau of Transportation.
Partners in the celebration include Portland Police, Oregon Walks, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, NW Skate Coalition, and Pear Bureau Northwest.
Cass Isidro, executive director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, said the annual celebration is an important opportunity to celebrate the daily commitment many schools make towards ensuring the health and safety of their students.
“The event also challenges other schools to get started with this simple activity once a year, once a month and beyond,” she said. “We congratulate the City of Portland for their commitment to Walk to School Day this year and every day as we work together to promote walking and walkable communities for everyone."
Every year, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance teaches 5,000 second, fourth, and fifth graders Safe Routes to School bike and pedestrian safety education in the Portland public school system. The BTA also encourages kids to try walking and biking to school through fun programs like the May’s Walk + Bike to School Challenge Month.
(Oct. 6, 2016) - Tomorrow, Friday, October 7, is the first Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) meeting for one of PBOT’s newest initiatives: the Livable Streets Strategy.
Back in May, City Council proclaimed the summer of 2016 to be Portland in the Streets season. This proclamation highlighted that open streets events and initiatives like block parties, Sunday Parkways and our new Ankeny Plaza offer Portland residents and visitors the opportunity to experience their streets and their city in new and exciting ways. View our Portland in the Streets interactive map to learn more about these community-building events and places.
In response to the recognition of the importance of these community-based places and events, PBOT is now developing our Livable Streets Strategy - a roadmap for the City that will reinforce the idea that public streets are public places to be enjoyed by all ages and abilities.
Portland's newest public space, Ankeny Plaza, at SW 3rd and Ankeny. Photo by Felicity J. Mackay, Portland Bureau of Transportation.
The strategy will support innovation in the public right-of-way by opening Portland’s streets, parking spaces, plazas, and alleys to a range of events, programming, and physical infrastructure. The Livable Streets SAC is responsible for providing direction to the Project Management Team to guide development of the Livable Streets Strategy vision, goals, policy-recommendations, actions, and performance measures. Among them:
Looking at how we can better open our streets (our largest form of public space) to all Portlanders.
Providing guidance to the Bureau on how we design and manage those spaces in the public right-of-way. A critical piece of the work on the Livable Streets Strategy is the work on the nuts and bolts of the permit process.
Making it easier for community organizations to follow and understand the permit process so they can easily activate their own street.
Ultimately, our goal is to create a citywide program that helps community groups create and activate their own spaces, that are unique to their own neighborhoods. The SAC will help provide understanding and reflection upon trends in community placemaking, barriers to community involvement, potential for public/private partnerships, and opportunities for innovation.
Because the Livable Streets Strategy is looking at ways to open our streets to all Portlanders, the Stakeholder Advisory Committee was formed with that broad reach in mind. Artists, community members, the business community, and placemaking experts will come together to advise the program process, as well as provide their expertise on the community experience for implementing placemaking projects and programs. You can view a list of committee members here. We recognize there are current barriers to implementing these types of projects, and the SAC will help identify these barriers to be addressed in the Livable Streets Strategy. The SAC will meet five times between now through spring 2017. Meeting information will be posted on the Livable Streets Strategy project website. Tomorrow’s SAC meeting will take place from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. in the Portland Building’s Broadway Conference Room. All meetings are open to the public.
A critical piece of the Livable Streets Strategy is the work on the nuts and bolts of the permit process. This involves coordination and collaboration among a number of City of Portland bureaus. Therefore, in addition to a SAC we are convening a Livable Streets Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) which will be responsible for providing technical expertise on areas including, but not limited to policy goals and language, the permitting process, traffic engineering, implementation, maintenance, enforcement, community outreach, and data collection. The TAC is comprised largely of technical staff from across City of Portland bureaus that are involved in various community and neighborhood event processes.
In addition to working with the Livable Streets SAC and TAC, PBOT will be conducting a broader community survey to get input on the broader vision and goals. We want to hear from the community at large about the placemaking projects or programs that are important to them and their community. The survey will also continue to collect information on the barriers community members are facing currently when applying for community event and use permits with the City of Portland. In the meantime, please take a look at some of the existing Livable Streets projects happening in Portland on our Portland in the Streets interactive map. It’s the perfect time to start planning next summer’s block party and/or street fair!