Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 1st, 2011 at 11:15 am
Alta Planning and Design has evaluated three east-west corridors through the Lloyd District to determine which one has the most potential as a high-quality bikeway. The study examined NE Lloyd Boulevard, NE Multnomah, and NE Holladay streets. The winner was NE Holladay; which, if you've been paying attention, shouldn't come as a big surprise.
The big question now is: Will this analysis be enough to persuade opposition to the Holladay project? Here's the backstory...
Way back in May 2009, the Lloyd Transportation Management Association introduced an inspiring vision of a carfree NE Holladay Street. The street is already home to a MAX line and it doesn't serve many motor vehicle trips at all. With its development potential and connections to the Rose Quarter and Holladay Park, the street is a natural candidate to become a non-motorized corridor.
Unfortunately, powerful stakeholders — including building and parking garage owners as well as the Portland Development Commission — have expressed opposition to the Holladay project. Their concerns are based on fears of negative impacts on motor vehicle access and a loss of on-street parking.
This opposition has compromised the project from Day One and the sudden and unexpected push-back to removal of any on-street parking by a PDC representative back in May has sent PBOT back to the drawing board. With Holladay bogged down in opposition and potential controversy, some stakeholders began to promote the idea of making a different street into the main bike route.
An evaluation completed last month by Alta Planning compared NE Holladay with Multnomah and Lloyd to determine which street had the best potential to serve as a major east-west bikeway. The evaluation used eight categories to compare the three routes including; connectivity, width, parking, land use, "bicycling comfort," and so on.
In the end, Holladay came out on top. Here's an excerpt from Alta's evaluation (download PDF here):
"The route demonstrating the highest overall score was NE Holladay Street. Though NE Multnomah Street and NE Holladay Street score similarly in many respects, Holladay’s classification as a minor roadway and its nearly equal level of directness contributed to its score. The high redevelopment potential of the street, due to a large number of low-rise parking garages and surface parking lots facing the street, and its ability to provide excellent bicyclist comfort were also significant factors influencing its high score. These results indicate that the project team's original focus on the development of NE Holladay into an enhanced bikeway was not in error. NE Holladay provides the most direct route with the greatest cycling comfort, readily available links to high capacity transit and the fewest tradeoffs/impacts to motor vehicle traffic."
In some ways, this evaluation just confirmed what many people around the table already know — that Holladay is the best street for an enhanced bikeway through the Lloyd District.
Will this analysis impact the politics around this project? Will PBOT and other Stakeholder Advisory Committee members in support of Holladay use it push back against the opposition and move forward?
Time will tell. The SAC doesn't meet again until September. Stay tuned.