Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 12th, 2010 at 2:47 pm
on the west bank of Willamette.
Next Tuesday (1/19), the Portland Development Commission will hold a public open house for their Centennial Mills redevelopment project. This project is important to anyone who cares about Portland's bike network because running smack dab through the parcel to be redeveloped is the Willamette Greenway Trail.
The PDC bought the 4.75 acre property, which sits along the west side of the Willamette River just north of the Broadway Bridge, back in 2000. In 2006, the Portland City Council adopted the Centennial Mills Framework Plan and in March 2008 the PDC chose Orange County, California-based LAB Holdings to develop the site.
LAB Holdings and the PDC have big plans (LAB's concept is known as SEED), including not just a redevelopment of the riverfront, but increased biking and walking connections across NW Naito Parkway and into the Pearl District. And of course, whatever happens here will impact the Willamette Greenway Trail.
Back in August we shared photos and a report from the most recent expansion of the Greenway which came with a new waterfront condominium complex. That new section of trail is south of the Centennial Mills parcel, separated only by the stables of the Portland Police Mounted Patrol Unit.
The question is, can the community trust the PDC and LAB Holdings to do what's best for bike traffic through this corridor? In the 70-page SEED proposal (that's a few years old already), LAB Holdings wrote this about people who might arrive by bicycle:
We expect many visitors to SEED to arrive by bicycle and plan to make their experience convenient and enjoyable. Bike facilities include numerous parking areas spread throughout the project adjacent to all major uses, a bike station that includes bike commuter parking, lockers, repair center, etc. and also playful components such as the bike aromatherapy hedge that combines a lavender gar- den with a bicycle rack.
Sounds great, but the biggest issue with this project will be how bike traffic is handled on the Greenway Trail. The success of any multi-use path is based largely on how direct and connected it is to the larger system. Any new expansion of the Greenway Trail should be relatively direct (as in no 90-degree turns) and easily navigable by people riding bicycles.
Below are some schematics dated December 2009 (hat tip to the BTA for these):
A drawing of the proposed bridge over Naito:
A view from the river (can't tell where the Greenway Trail is in that drawing):
This one shows Greenway Trail alignment (which unfortunately seems to come to a dead end):
The PDC is hosting an open house on this project one week from today. Anyone who cares about the Greenway Trail is encouraged to attend. Here are the details:
Centennial Mills and The Fields Neighborhood Park Open House
January 19, 2009, 5:30 – 7:30 pm at Bridgeport Brewery (1313 NW Marshall Street)
"... a public open house and presentation to review the following significant project updates: schematic design of the Centennial Mills Redevelopment; updates on The Fields design; and design concepts for the pedestrian bridge linking the two projects."