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SW Barbur Blvd

Big upgrade to commercial stretch of Barbur looks likelier as Metro rejects OHSU tunnel

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015
buczek walking
Metro staffer Anthony Buczek walks Barbur’s
current auto-oriented commercial strip in February.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Long-term plans are falling into place for a federally-subsidized biking and walking upgrade to one of Southwest Portland’s most important main streets.

And oh, it might come with a rapid bus or rail system, too.

Staff at the regional agency Metro announced last week that they weren’t going to recommend a $900 million light-rail tunnel beneath OHSU, instead sending the proposed Southwest Corridor high-capacity transit line on the surface of SW Naito and Barbur as it passes through Southwest Portland toward Tualatin and Tigard.

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By pushing for road safety audit, state Rep. Ann Lininger steps into leadership role on Barbur

Friday, May 29th, 2015
lininger
Lininger says she had “a number of conversations”
with ODOT’s new regional manager about safety
improvements on Barbur.
(Photo via Oregon Legislature)

When the Oregon Department of Transportation announced on Tuesday that it had decided to change course and formally consider a road diet on Southwest Barbur, its news release included two words that hadn’t been associated with the issue before:

Ann Lininger.

The state representative appointed last year to represent much of Southwest Portland and her hometown of Lake Oswego, Lininger was quoted by ODOT itself as favoring “improving safety for all users on this crucial roadway.”

Though she’s only one of many people who’ve contacted ODOT in support of low-cost, short-term improvements to Southwest Barbur — multiple sources said that U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer has expressed his opinion, not to mention Portland Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick and hundreds of local residents and organizations — Lininger is one of a few who’ve done so from a position few people have: direct authority over ODOT, thanks to her seat in the state legislature.

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State will conduct safety audit of Barbur and formally weigh road redesign

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015
barbur curve looking north
Typical midday traffic approaching a curve in Barbur Boulevard from the south.
(Image: Google Street View.)

Four months after saying it had no plans to do so, the Oregon Department of Transportation will formally consider the possibility of new changes to a two-mile stretch of Barbur Bouelvard where six people have died in cars, on motorcycles and on foot in the last six years.

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Advocate has near-death experience on Barbur, a street he’s pushing to make safer

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015
lonely biker on barbur bridge
No room for improvements, state says.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

One of Southwest Portland’s most passionate advocates for a safer Barbur Boulevard said Tuesday that he was nearly killed while biking on the street.

“FYI since you’re waiting for someone to die before safe Barbur bike access: it was almost me today,” wrote Damian Miller, an assistant director of research and assessment at Lewis and Clark College’s graduate school, in the first of a trio of open Twitter messages to the Oregon Department of Transportation and its new regional manager. “Speeding delivery truck came up behind honked, veered wildly, almost hit me & left lane car.”

Though the route’s design evokes a freeway, it’s the only flat and direct street between most of Southwest Portland and the rest of the city. During the summer, about 300 to 500 people bike it each day.

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Bill moving through Salem could hasten transfer of state roads to city control

Thursday, March 19th, 2015
jurisdictional transfer map
Portland-area streets described by ODOT as “highways to be transferred to local jurisdictions” are marked in pink. The blue line, Cornelius Pass Road, is a request from ODOT for a transfer in the other direction.
(Image: ODOT testimony on SB 117.)

Barbur Boulevard, Powell Boulevard, Tualatin Valley Highway, Lombard Street, 82nd Avenue and Macadam Avenue could all be lined up for gradual transfer from state to city control under a bill before Oregon’s legislature.

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Here are the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee’s top 10 priorities citywide

Friday, February 27th, 2015
bac top 10
What do you think?
(Click to enlarge, or see below for details and links)

As we reported earlier this week, the City of Portland is trying to hone its massive transportation to-do list by asking people to rank their 10 favorite projects.

In a letter circulated this week, the citizens’ committee that’s most closely tied to Portland’s biking policies shared theirs.

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Taming outer Barbur: MAX or BRT could bring raised bike lanes through Southwest

Friday, February 13th, 2015
barbur
SW Barbur near SW 78th – just west of the section that might be rebuilt by a new transit line.
(Photo by J Maus/ BikePortland)

This post is part of our SW Portland Week.

It would certainly be ironic if Southwest Barbur Boulevard became the first arterial in Portland to receive a Copenhagen-style protected bike lane retrofit through a high-destination commercial area.

But that’s exactly what might happen if a regional committee chooses Barbur as the best route for a major new transit line. And getting around outer Southwest Portland would certainly be transformed.

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What it feels like to ride Barbur Blvd for the first time (photos)

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015
to barbur
Seems easy enough.
(Photos Michael Andersen/BikePortland)

This post is part of our SW Portland Week.

Here’s a confession: though I’ve driven on Southwest Barbur, ridden the bus on it, and walked along it to reach a vigil for a woman killed while she crossed it, in four years of reporting on the street and its problems I’ve never actually ridden a bike on it.

Until this week.

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Novick says PBOT will use state study to address speeding, lack of bikeway on Barbur

Monday, February 2nd, 2015
SW Barbur Blvd-5
Barbur, last summer.
(Photo J Maus/BikePortland)

Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick has responded to a volunteer advocate’s letter about the dangerous bicycling conditions on SW Barbur Blvd.

Last week we published a letter from Kiel Johnson, a man who has pushed for a road diet on Barbur through the grassroots Friends of Barbur group. The letter came after the Oregon Department of Transportation revealed results of their traffic study on the street that was conducted last fall during a construction project. While Novick had promised that PBOT would use the study to assess safety concerns, ODOT staff said safety wasn’t a priority of the study.

Commissioner Novick responded to Johnson via the email below (dated January 30th, emphases mine):
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Safety advocate to Novick: Where’s the Barbur study you requested?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
Street fee press conference-1
Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick in 2014.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

When is a traffic study not a traffic study?

“Let’s work together to make Barbur safer,” Portland Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick wrote in October 2013, promising that “the Portland Bureau of Transportation will commit the time and resources to work with ODOT and engage the surrounding communities to see the impacts of a possible road diet and find the right solution.”

Now, some of the advocates who helped persuade Novick to make that commitment are saying it’s still unfulfilled.

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