Feb 7, 2024 - Transit

Construction to improve 82nd Ave moving forward

A rendering image of a street with two stoplights and people crossing a crosswalk.

A rendering of planned design improvements to 82nd Avenue. Courtesy of Portland Bureau of Transportation

The makeover of one of Portland's major arterial roads, 82nd Avenue, is set to break ground this summer.

Why it matters: The city will spend millions of dollars in federal funds to make much-needed safety improvements along the corridor, which has long been known to be one of the most dangerous for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers alike.

Driving the news: The Portland Bureau of Transportation recently released new designs and safety upgrade plans for two separate sections along a 2.5-mile stretch of 82nd Avenue — from NE Fremont to NE Schuyler streets, as well as SE Mill Street to SE Foster Road.

Details: As part of its "Critical Fixes: Major Maintenance Project," PBOT will use $55 million awarded from the American Rescue Plan to install wide medians at every block, separating the north-south traffic flow and providing safety for pedestrians crossing the street.

  • Buffered bike lanes, bicycle-only signals and painted bike boxes also will be added.
  • 250 trees will be planted to cool the concrete-dominated corridor, which is nearly 20 degrees hotter than the rest of the city on a warm summer day.
A rendering showing a tree-lined street.
The future of 82nd Avenue is looking greener. Rendering: Courtesy of Portland Bureau of Transportation

Flashback: In 2022, Portland assumed ownership over 7 miles of road along 82nd Avenue — from Portland International Airport to the Clackamas County line.

  • 82nd Avenue was previously considered a state highway operated by the Oregon Department of Transportation until the city's population started growing and urban sprawl began expanding east.
  • The corridor is now viewed as one of Portland's most diverse neighborhoods — the Jade District — and is home to over 2,000 businesses and 54,000 residents located within a half mile.

Over 20,000 vehicle trips occur up and down 82nd Avenue daily, with TriMet's 72 bus line boasting the agency's highest ridership compared to all other routes.

  • Back in July, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg took a ride on an all-electric bus along the street and heard from city leaders about what long-term projects they had in mind to make the corridor more amiable for travelers and residents.

Affordable housing, mid-rise developments and ample forms of rapid public transportation are all on the wish list to turn 82nd Avenue into more of a destination than an area to drive-thru.

Get involved: PBOT is accepting community input on design via an online form and through a series of in-person events, including at the Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association meeting on Wednesday from 7-8pm.

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