Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 9th, 2012 at 3:08 pm
improvements to SW Barbur Blvd.
ODOT has whittled down a list of 89 “non-highway transportation projects” vying for $21 million in federal flexible funds, to just 35. Three City of Portland projects have made it onto the second round; but unfortunately, a project that could have built the first segment of the Sullivan’s Gulch Corridor did not make the cut.
With cities around the state clamoring for federal funds as their local budgets shrink, the competition is fierce. ODOT received requests totaling $89 million for the $21 million in available funds, which the state has set aside specifically for “non-highway” projects.
In the last go ’round of this funding process, the City of Portland nabbed about $3 million, enough to fund two significant projects.
While we crossed our fingers for money to get the Sullivan’s Gulch Corridor started, there are several other promising projects from our region that are still on the list.
The City of Portland is requesting $637,083 for their East Portland Access to Transit Project (about $75,000 short of the total project cost). In addition to bus stop improvements, the project would design and construct a new Bike & Ride facility at the Gateway Transit Center. The Bike & Ride would have secure (key-card entry) parking for 80-90 bicycles and would also come with improved connections to the I-205 multi-use path.
The SW Barbur demonstration project has a lot of momentum, not just because it missed out on a recent funding opportunity (which peeved activists and put the pressure on politicians), but because it is highly supported by ODOT themselves.
The $1.2 million project (almost all of which this grant would pay for) focuses mainly on making it easier to cross Barbur between SW 19th and 26th Avenues — improvements which were identified in the 1999 Barbur Streescape Plan. If funding, the City would install new sidewalks, curb extensions, median islands, and crosswalks. While focused on walking safety, anything that tames the notoriously dangerous auto traffic on SW Barbur is good for bicycling.
The other City of Portland project that made the cut is a $481,000 marketing plan to encourage residents of downtown and the central eastside to get out of their cars and utilize the forthcoming Eastside Streetcar. The new streetcar line is slated to open in September 2012 and PBOT says that if the 32,000 nearby residents hop on board it could equal 20 to 25 million fewer vehicle miles traveled annually along with a host of reductions in air polluting chemicals and green house gas emissions.
Two other projects in our region that are still under consideration by ODOT are the Intertwine Regional Trail Signage Project (Metro) and the Arata Road Pedestrian and Bicycle Enhancement Project (Multnomah County).
The Oregon Transportation Commission will consider the projects at their meeting next month and they’ll announce their final selections in March. Learn more about ODOT’s Flexible Fund project on their website.
There’s still reason to be excited about the Sullivan’s Gulch project. To get the latest scoop and get involved with planning, check out the project open house this Wednesday at 6:00 pm.