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If you live, work or travel near SE Division Street from SE 11th Avenue to SE Cesar Chavez Boulevard you are aware that construction on the Division Streetscape Project is in full swing. The Division Streetscape Project is a joint effort of the Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES).
Construction impacts will have an effect on all members of the traveling public and PBOT asks that those traveling through the corridor obey traffic control signs and flaggers and be patient in order to ensure that everyone travels together safely and gets to where they need to go. Pedestrians and bicyclists may need to share the same limited space during some closures and detours so slow down and be alert. Bicyclists should yield to pedestrians. Routes and closures can change daily so allow plenty of time to travel to your destination, and plan ahead by checking for project updates on the project website or by calling the project update hotline: 503-823-1997.
The two bureaus teamed up to tackle two problems; 1) an outdated sewer system and 2) a deficient transportation corridor. BES is currently digging up streets to replace over 4,900 feet of sewer pipe in poor condition and will eventually be constructing 55 green street facilities designed to manage stormwater runoff, as well as planting lots of new street trees. The BES portion of the project is part of the Tabor to the River Project. When the sewer and ground work is done, PBOT will retime traffic signals, add new crosswalks, streetlights and curb extensions.
By coordinating the work, the two bureaus hope to reduce the number and length of road closures and ensure that when the final street paving is done, the road surface will not be torn up again for sewer or utility work. In addition to coordinating with BES, PBOT has also been meeting with contractors from many private construction projects on the street to minimize impacts to pedestrians and other road users.
Project background and schedule
In 2001, neighborhood groups and the business community formed the Division Vision Group. They spent several years working to develop a vision for Division as a main street that could better serve the residential and business communities and the traveling public. Between 2003 and 2005, the City of Portland and community members used the findings of the Division Vision Group to develop the Division Green Street/Main Street Plan. This plan focuses on improving the livability of Division Street between SE 11th and SE 60th avenues over the next 20 years.
Continuing on this work, the city started designing the Division Streetscape Project in 2009, and with input from the public the city completed the design work in 2012. Sewer rehabilitation work by BES began in May and is expected to continue throughout the summer. Curb and sidewalk construction will follow, with final paving of SE Division Street to take place next summer. Construction is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2014.
Although the construction phase can be painful, the resulting finished project will provide many benefits for all users of the SE Division Street Corridor.
Improved traffic signal timing will optimize traffic flow and travel time all road users. Curb extensions will decrease the crossing distance for pedestrians and increase their visibility to motorists when preparing to cross. In addition, the extensions provide a protected landing for transit riders getting off the bus. When completed, every corner along the corridor will have American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant curb ramps. New striped crosswalks will make it easier for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross many of the off-set intersections along the corridor.
The project will also install a significant amount of new bike parking along the corridor. New bike racks and bike corrals will be going in at strategic locations. Bike boxes will be installed at the 7 Corners intersection, enhancing the movement of the large numbers of bicyclists that use that intersection as a connection from Ladd’s Addition to the Clinton Neighborhood Greenway.
You can view block by block maps on the project website to get an idea of the type of improvements happening all along the corridor. These diagrams are very detailed and show where new sewer pipes, stormwater inlets, and manhole covers will be installed. They identify new green street facilities and vegetated strips. You can see where existing trees are now, where new trees will go, and even what trees might be removed. Finally, parking (bike and automobile), bus shelters and bus stops, new ADA ramps, new signal work, new concrete and street paving areas, and even public art are identified on these diagrams
To get project updates on the Division Streetscape Project, you can email Joe Annett at firstname.lastname@example.org, with “Division” in the subject line, or call the project update line at 503-823-1997.
You can learn more about how Portland manages stormwater and transportation on the “Stormwater Past, Present and Future” ride, part of the Portland By Cycle series of easy-paced guided bike rides: Wednesday, July 24th, 6:00 pm, meeting at Universal Cycles – SE Ankeny St. at 22nd Ave. (Free, no registration needed, but helmets are required.)