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City requests $5.6 million to improve bikeways

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 29th, 2006 at 1:40 pm

The City of Portland has just submitted "Notices of Intent" for four major projects they hope will receive funding through the Federal Highway Administration's Transportation Enhancements program. Three of these projects, totalling over $5.6 million dollars, would vastly improve our bikeway and trail network.

The projects must still receive approval by ODOT and will then go through a three-month public comment period. Final project approval would be handed down by the Oregon Transportation Commission in February 2007.

Here are the three projects up for consideration, with descriptions taken directly from the project applications:

Bike Boulevards - Northeast Portland

"Plan and construct bicycle boulevards along identified corridors in the 2000, 5000, and 7000 blocks of NE and SE Portland. Developing bikeways in these areas will address significant north-south gaps in Portland’s bikeway network. Together, these north-south bikeways will connect numerous east-west bikeways and will help achieve a finer-grained bikeway grid in Portland’s inner neighborhoods than currently exists. These bikeways will provide direct bicycle access to neighborhood commercial corridors, and, in connecting to existing east-west bikeways, provide seamless bikeway connections to major regional centers and Portland’s Central Commercial Districts."

Funds requested: $4.07M
Total Project Cost $4,537,000

Complete the "Springwater Gap" - Southeast Portland

"This project will complete the Springwater Corridor Trail from SE Ivon to SE Rugg Rd, forming 19.2 miles of continuous off-street trail. It is a regional trail that is part of 40-Mile Loop. It will connect downtown Portland (via the Willamette Greenway and Eastbank Esplanade) and Corbett-Terwilliger-Lair Hill (via Sellwood Bridge) to Milwaukie, Gresham and Boring. Although an on-street connection is possible using SE Umatilla Street and SE 19th Avenue, it has 17 street crossings and requires cyclists to share the road with automobiles. The new trail will curve shortening the distance from 5460 to 4800 linear feet.

Need for this connection will increase when the adjacent Three Bridges segment opens in September 2006."

Funds requested: $584,460
Total Project Cost $2,015,400


Columbia Slough Trail
- North Portland

"There are three segments to this trail: A.) N Denver to NE ML King, Jr. Blvd, B) ML King to NE Elrod Road, and C) NE Elrod to N Marine Drive. All three segments are regional trails that are part of the 40-Mile Loop trail system. These three segments are in or adjacent to St. Johns, Kenton, East Columbia, Bridgeton and Sunderland neighborhoods."

Funds Requested: $1,077,000
Total Project Cost $1,844,780

These are all very exciting projects with huge impacts for Portland cyclists. Stay tuned for the public comment period later this year.

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Comments
  • Roger Geller March 29, 2006 at 3:41 pm

    Thanks for putting this information out there Jonathan. To be accurate, I only wrote one of the Notices of Intent. Our Parks Bureau wrote two of them (for the trails projects) and staff from the Bureau of General Services wrote the fourth. PDOT did coordinate the process...

    The public comment process will be important, as Portland is competing statewide for relatively limited dollars.

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  • Garlynn March 29, 2006 at 4:44 pm

    Roger-

    Great job on this! One question though -- what's the story on a new 7th street I-84 overcrossing? Is there any chance of this becoming part of the funding mix anytime soon?

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  • Jonathan Maus March 29, 2006 at 10:10 pm

    Roger, thanks for that clarification. I've edited the post accordingly.

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  • Nick March 30, 2006 at 10:48 am

    Of course nothing on the west-side. Sigh. . .

    Hello! The Sunset Bike path is not finished yet!!! And the portion not finished is in Portland City Limis.

    I'm happy for all of you on the east-side. Truely I am.

    ~n
    PS: I'm a tax-paying Portland City Resident not a Beaverton person BTW.

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  • Roger Geller March 30, 2006 at 11:26 am

    Garlynn,

    There have been discussions over the years about a 7th Avenue bridge. Some want it to be multi-use (i.e., cars, bikes, peds), others want it just for bike/ped, and within the past couple of years there's been some discussion about it being a streetcar/bike/ped bridge.

    We have it identified in the City's Transportation System Plan as a ped/bike bridge at either 7th or 9th Avenue.

    However, none of these is currently in play as far as funding goes. I'm afraid for now it will just remain an idea.

    Roger Geller

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  • John March 30, 2006 at 11:50 am

    Garlynn,
    I'm glad you mentioned the 7th avenue bridge. It's one my pet issues. A conservative estimate of the number of times during my weekly routine that I think to myself "I wish there were a 7th avenue bridge" would be five. The thought definitely occurs every time that I am biking to do errands on the south side of I-84 (both coming from work - NE 7th ave/Lloyd blvd, or from home - NE 14th ave/Tillamook). I would bet that people who live/work to the south of the freeway may feel the same thing about accessing destinations in the Lloyd District/Broadway area. My guess is that some people choose to drive between these areas instead of biking or walking, precisely because there is no 7th avenue bridge.

    I think a multi-modal bridge (bikes,peds,autos) would be one of THE most effective improvements in the Lloyd District area for the safety and convenience of bicyclists (and pedestrians).

    - It would allow a direct connection between the Lloyd District (and neighborhoods in inner NE/N Portland) to the Central Eastside. This reduces out of direction travel for bicyclists and increases safety by allowing them to avoid using heavily traveled (and bike lane-less) MLK/Grand or 12th Ave bridge.

    - It could shift some of the local auto trips from MLK/Grand to 7th. Less traffic on MLK/Grand provides extra justification to reduce the # of auto lanes in each direction of the couplet from 4 to 3. A similar "road diet" was done to Broadway/Weidler in the mid 90s. The extra right-of-way saved could be used for adding bike lanes/widening sidewalks. Judging by the effects on Broadway after it slimmed down to 3 lanes (and added bike lanes and curb extensions) - new businesses and sidewalk cafes popping up - I'm pretty sure that MLK/Grand could see similar economic and aesthetic benefits.

    Thus, a 7th avenue bridge has the potential to create two new bike routes - good "bang for your buck." Last time I checked the cost estimate in the Portland TSP, $1.2 million, covers a pedestrian/bike only bridge. I wonder what the cost would be to make it multi-modal, i.e. 2 narrow auto lanes, bike lanes, wide sidewalks.

    A ped/bike bridge would definitely be better than doing nothing (and cheaper than a multi-modal bridge). On the other hand, it would not provide the benefit of relieving auto traffic from MLK/Grand - making it more difficult to convince ODOT to trim the auto lanes to 3.

    Overall, my hope is that whichever option is most likely to get funded and built in the near term gets chosen. From what Roger says, it sounds like neither is close to being a reality. Maybe some Lloyd District Businesses/property owners would be willing to pitch in some $$$ for a multi-modal bridge?

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  • Lenny Anderson March 31, 2006 at 10:34 am

    I love the idea of the 7th Avenue Bridge for bike's & peds arching over Sullivan's Gulch & the freeway below. I think Streetcar will go via MLK/Grand so that it passes close to the Convention Center, so it makes sense to keep 7th Avenue primarily for bikes like it is now north and south of the Gulch.
    I hope that we can get lanes on 7th Avenue extended to the Tillamook bikeway as well...I don't think the fastfood outlet between Bway and Weidler needs on street parking, and their is ROW for lanes north of Bway.
    Where can we get more details on the S/N proposals...Roger?

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  • [...] Seems like bike boulevards are a hot topic among bike advocates and planners these days. PDOT recently asked the Federal Highway Administration for over $4 million to construct new ones in Northeast Portland. [...]

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  • [...] While PDOT is forging ahead on an infrastructure level (recently asking for over $5 million for bike boulevards) the BTA plans to focus their efforts in a more grassroots way. [...]

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