Outreach begins for likely upgrades to SE 82nd Avenue

Outreach begins for likely upgrades to SE 82nd Avenue

82ndlead

Plenty of room for changes.
(Photo: Google Streetview)

The street that once ran along part of Portland’s eastern border is now one of its most important corridors, and it’s lined up for some changes — which may even include a new bikeway.

On Saturday, Oct. 10, the 82nd Avenue Improvement Coalition will host a community forum about the urban highway’s future. It’s convened by the Asian-Pacific American Network of Oregon, the force behind an effort to keep strengthening the identity of the Jade District near 82nd and Division; by state Sen. Michael Dembrow, one of the forces behind an effort to bring 82nd Avenue from state to local control; and by the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, which is updating its zoning maps in ways that could push the street away from its current highway-on-the-edge-of-town atmosphere.

Amid all that, there’s a potential source of serious cash pointed toward Southeast 82nd between Powell and Division: the Powell-Division Transit and Development project, which is likely to use state and/or federal funding to add a rapid bus line running east on Powell Boulevard out of downtown, north on 82nd, and then east to Gresham on Division Street.

That’s where the possibility of a bikeway comes in. Under state law, “footpaths and bicycle trails, including curb cuts or ramps as part of the project, shall be provided wherever a highway, road or street is being constructed, reconstructed or relocated.” (Whether the project triggers the “Bike Bill” could become a sticking point down the road.)

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The possibilities for the Powell-Division project aren’t yet clear, but I’ve been told that it’s currently seen as unlikely that buses could get an entire dedicated lane. Queue-jump lanes at traffic signals, nicer stations and other features would certainly make for easier politics.

The Powell-Division project, which is currently led by Metro, is already doing more than maybe any previous transit plan in the area to consider biking not just as a complication to be dealt with but as an important aspect of the system being created.

In May, Metro circulated a 25-page overview of the bicycle elements of the plan. That plan discussed likely bike lanes for outer Division but skirted the topic of what to do about the bike lanes that would seem to be required on that stretch of 82nd if the street gets the sort of meaningful investment that would be needed to create an attractive bus rapid transit line.

Here’s a description of the Oct. 10 event from the 82nd Avenue Improvement coalition:

The event will include opportunities to meet city planners and give public testimony on the City of Portland’s Mixed-Use Zoning and Employment Zones projects, as well as public outreach and discussion relating to other issues and projects affecting the area, including transportation and transit, housing, and small business. Mayor Charlie Hales will also attend and speak to the attendees.

The 82nd Avenue Community Forum takes place October 10, 2015 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Jade/APANO Multicultural Space at 8114 SE Division Street in Portland. Doors open at 9:30 am.

Now’s the time to get this project on your radar. Please get involved and share your feedback if possible.


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