In the 1960s the South Portland neighborhood was cut in two by the construction of the Interstate 5 freeway. Only a few streets cross the freeway, and pedestrians can cross the freeway safely in only a few places. One of them is the Corbett Avenue Bridge. The Corbett Avenue Bridge is a rare crossing with a good sidewalk, and this trail provides better access by pedestrians. The bridge has wide safe sidewalks on both sides, and there’s a convenient route from Macadam Avenue to Barbur Boulevard.
Unfortunately, the route was built for cars, and pedestrians have to walk half a mile out of their way to reach the southeast end of the bridge by sidewalk from bus stops and lights across Macadam. A well-worn informal path connected SW Seymour Court to Corbett Avenue on the southeast side of the bridge. This pedestrian path helps connect the South Portland neighborhood and the Southwest Waterfront area to the Homestead and Hillsdale neighborhoods. However, the path is extremely steep, and it turns into a muddy mess in the rain.
The goal of the Seymour Court to Corbett Avenue Trail grant project was to build a trail from Seymour Court to Corbett Avenue. The trail from SW Seymour Court cuts significant distance for pedestrians and improving the trail will make the route safer and more convenient. The informal path showed the value of the location, and the residents of SW Seymour Court conceived an improved trail.
Residents of SW Seymour Court took the first, critical steps to permit the trail under the City’s Urban Trail program. Residents held a public meeting to inform the public and request input on the idea from people in the neighborhood. From there, the residents turned to SW Trails who helped develop the design for the trail. The trail was conceived of by the residents of SW Seymour Court and sponsored by the South Portland Neighborhood Association. SW Trails was the design and build partner with construction expertise.
To make the trail safe and usable for more of the year, the trail was improved with gravel and stairs. Seymour Ct trail now climbs about 40 feet vertically over about 180ft of linear trail toward the Corbett freeway overpass crossing and gives access to Hamilton and Barbur above and Macadam transit and recreational access on the river below. The build team, Chuck, Ron, Lee, Cody and Dave have placed 47 steps in a sweeping S curve to allow for a gradual but still steep 45% grade climb.
PBOT permitted the project in early November, and The Office of Community & Civic Life and Southwest Neighborhoods 2018 Small Grants program provided a grant for materials. Construction took place in 3-4 hour work parties where volunteers placed about 3-4 steps a day 3-4 days a week. The tight construction area limited the volunteers to 2 person work parties for most of the length, but on December 8th the partners finished the stairs in one big, final work party.
There are a few final touches to add, and the city needs to complete their inspection before the trail is “finished”. However, the trail now open and ready to use.
A huge thanks to everyone who contributed to the project.