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News Blog: New traffic signal at NE Columbia at Alderwood increases safety and freight efficiency in Cully

Alderwood Intersection

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

PBOT staff


(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.

Freight on Alderwood/Columbia

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:

  1. Adding sanitary sewer to serve properties currently on septic.
  2. Adding stormwater sewer to begin properly managing and disposing of stormwater that currently flows untreated into the Columbia Slough.
  3. Replacing a century-old cast iron water main.
  4. Integrating all improvements with Parks' Whitaker Ponds park project going to construction next year.

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.