ODOT unveils plans for major changes to Kenton-PIR-Delta Park connection

ODOT unveils plans for major changes to Kenton-PIR-Delta Park connection

Detail of ODOT plans for a new bike path
adjacent to Denver Ave.
(ODOT)

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is entering the design phase of a project that will bring major changes to bicycling conditions between the Kenton neighborhood, N Denver Ave, and connections to Schmeer Road and Portland International Raceway (PIR).

On the project website, ODOT says the changes come from issues with traveling in the area that were first identified through a study completed during their I-5 Delta Park Project in 2006. That study, says ODOT, “pointed out multiple safety and operational concerns along the Denver Avenue corridor, including poor sight lines for drivers, deficient turning movements, gaps in bicycle/pedestrian paths, and the poor conditions of the Denver Avenue bridge decks and railings.” ODOT won $2.5 million for the estimated $4 million project through the 2012-2015 Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program.

Denver Ave is a key connection between the growing Kenton neighborhood and PIR, as well as a main corridor for folks headed northbound to Vancouver via Delta Park. This project covers about a one-mile long stretch and will come with big changes, including a new dedicated bike path. These changes will also connect to a City of Portland project that has recently paved a new portion of the Columbia Slough path between Denver and the Vancouver Ave Bridge (more on that later).

Here’s what’s in store (from ODOT):

Roadway Improvements

  • Realign the Schmeer Road and Denver Avenue intersection and install a traffic signal to permit left turns from Denver Avenue to Schmeer Road and from Schmeer Road to Denver Avenue. This will eliminate the nearly 1 mile out-of-direction travel for drivers to go southbound on Denver Avenue.
  • Realign Schmeer Road to the north, which will increase safety at the intersection by improving sight distance for vehicles turning right or left onto Denver Avenue.
  • Realign the southbound ramp from Victory Boulevard to Denver Avenue and add a stop sign.

Bicycle/Pedestrian Improvements

  • Add a new shared-use path adjacent to the Victory Boulevard ramp to fill the gap in the 40-Mile Loop Trail.
  • Make the one-way undercrossing from Denver Avenue to Schmeer Road into a two-way shared-use path.
  • Add a two-way shared-use path between Victory Street and Schmeer Road on the west side of Denver Avenue for cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Create marked spacing between cyclists and motorists on the Denver Avenue Viaduct and Columbia Slough Bridge to increase safety.

Bridge Rehabilitation

  • Resurface the bridge decks and rehabilitate the expansion joints to extend the life of the bridges and provide a smoother ride for people driving or biking.
  • Replace the railing and crash barrier on the Denver Avenue Viaduct and Columbia Slough Bridge.
  • Install new inlets and storm drains to help prevent the flooding that the bridges are prone to.

Community Enhancement

  • Work with the Kenton neighborhood and City of Portland to identify a gateway feature to be installed in the vicinity of the project in Kenton.

Download the full project map here (PDF). Construction is due to start summer of 2014.

As you can see, there’s a lot to talk about! This is an exciting opportunity to improve bicycling in this area. To learn more about it and ask ODOT your questions, they’re hosting an open house on October 22nd from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at the Kenton Firehouse (8105 N. Brandon Ave).

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