The Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Nov. 9 open house is another chance for the public to view changes planned for accident-ridden outer Southeast Division Street. This redesign will affect everyone – businesses and residents, pedestrians and cyclists, and, of course, drivers. The PBOT plans for the stretch from 80th to 156th laid, so far, have medians as the centerpiece. Other major changes are more streetlights, crosswalks, and sidewalks.

National surveys show that medians reduce accidents but also may hurt auto-reliant businesses. Division is lined with auto-reliant businesses.

At a meeting late last month, business owners, some who said they felt left out, “steamrolled” in the words of one, of the planning process, told PBOT and other officials their concerns and views, including:

  • Medians will cut their business because potential customers, diverted by the medians, will not bother to turn in;
  • Delivery trucks will have difficulty making turns or finding alternate routes;
  • Drivers will seek other routes, too, pushing traffic on to already overtaxed surface and neighborhood streets;
  • Wouldn’t more police enforcement – ALONE – of speed limits and jaywalking reduce accidents?
  • And why not fix the roadway, add streetlights and fill in the sidewalks first and NOW?

What are your worries?

PBOT’s Open House on Thursday, Nov. 9, 5-7 p.m., is a chance for YOU to voice your views about what is planned and perhaps alter PBOT’s design. The event is at PCC’s Community Hall Annex, 2305 SE 82nd Ave.

PBOT is well along in the planning process and hopes to break ground in Spring 2018. The bureau’s Liz Mahon, the project manager, told business owners at the meeting at East Garden last month that in this case crucial safety concerns are forcing PBOT into “not normal procedure.”

Please, if you can, attend the open house. Parking is limited and paid, so please consider taking public transit: Bus routes #72 and #4 will get you there, easily.

— Ann Ereline