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New pedestrian safety work on Powell Blvd near Cleveland High

Keeping pedestrians safe near a state highway is even more important near a high school

RITA A. LEONARD - New pedestrian safety features have already been installed by ODOT at the intersection of S.E. 28th Avenue at Powell Boulevard, and more are planned in that area along Powell. Due to a history of pedestrian safety and traffic issues, the Oregon Department of Transportation is working on a safety project along a busy section of S.E. Powell Blvd (Highway 26) between S.E. 20th and 34th Avenues. The project is expected to help reduce rear-end and turning crashes involving motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians, while minimizing traffic impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods.

Although the construction work has recently slowed commuter traffic along the corridor, improvements in pedestrian crossings and turning limitations should result in safer access between Powell Park, Cleveland High School, and several nearby restaurants and businesses on both sides of Powell Boulevard.

The most obvious installations so far include a series of concrete center islands down the middle of Powell at S.E. 28th Avenue, crossed by pedestrian walkways. There are also several sets of pedestrian walk lights and "No Left Turn" signs at the intersection, causing some commuters to seek new access routes to nearby locations.

ODOT explains that three enhanced pedestrian signals (Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons, OR "RRFBs") will be installed on Powell at 24th, 31st, and 34th Avenues, to alert drivers to the pedestrian crossings. Also making for safer crossings for bicyclists and pedestrians will be high visibility striping, and center islands. A new, wider pedestrian waiting area on the southeast corner of 26th and Powell will provide more space for those waiting to cross Powell Boulevard to and from Cleveland High School.

Further, a new truck apron on the southeast corner of 26th and Powell will allow large vehicles to turn without entering the pedestrian zone or encroaching on vehicle lanes.

New signals planned for the intersections of S.E. 21st, 26th, and 33rd Avenues will offer enhanced safety elements, including bigger and more visible signals and poles, as well as countdown and "audible countdown" pedestrian signals.

Other elements of the project include tree removals and trimming, improved street lighting, enforcement lights for public safety, sidewalk repair, and ADA ramps where needed, plus improved signage and more visible street names.

An informal Project Open House was held by ODOT April 5 at Catholic Charities, to discuss questions and updates on the project. The construction phase is expected to continue through winter of next year.

ODOT suggests that further questions or comments be directed to Dee Hidalgo, ODOT Community Affairs Coordinator, at 503/731-8237, or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.