Bike projects eligible for System Development Charge funding

Posted by on August 29th, 2007 at 10:14 am

Some major bike projects have made the final list of projects that are eligible for a new list of Transportation System Development Charges (TSDCs) that will go in front of City Council next week.

crowded Riverfront path

The Steel Bridge path was paid
for in part by TSDC funds.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

SDCs for transportation were first made a city ordinance ten years ago. In a nutshell, they assess one-time fees to new development and redevelopment to help pay for transportation improvements that increase system capacity. The fees are based on the increased number of trips that will be generated by a new development or change in land use.

The ordinance calls for the funds to be used only for “capacity-increasing projects.” Most cities tend to narrowly define that as motor vehicle oriented projects.

Back in 1997, Portland was the first city in the country to make multi-modal (non-car) projects eligible for these funds. Even so, bike advocates and planners have had to lobby the city to make sure a fair amount of bike projects were included.

Since 1997 TSDCs have contributed $44 million and helped fund 70% of the projects that were on the initial project list. TSDC project manager Kathryn Levine says that included over $800,000 that went to the Steel Bridge bike/ped path.

Next Wednesday (9/5), PDOT culminates their “10-Year Update” to that list with a public hearing in City Council Chambers.

They’ll present Council with their proposed list of projects that will be eligible for TSDC funding over the next ten years. Over their year-long study process — with input from stakeholders and a Citizen’s Advisory Committee that included Scott Bricker of the BTA — they whittled down a list of 215 projects to just 43.

Among those 43 projects are several major bike projects including the “Twenties” north/south bike boulevard and a bike/ped only bridge over I-405 at Flanders (see full project list PDF).

The inclusion of these, and several other bike-oriented projects, are a sign that PDOT values bicycles as an integral part of our transportation system.

You can show your support for these projects at next week’s public hearing:

    Public Hearing on Proposed Updates to the TSDC Program
    Wednesday, September 5 at 2:00pm
    Council Chambers: 1221 SW 4th Ave.
    More details on the PDOT website

Learn more about the TSDC program and PDOT’s 10-Year Update.

View the final project list (PDF).

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P FinndrewJim LabbeJessica Roberts Recent comment authors
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Jessica Roberts
Jessica Roberts

Here are the comments I sent to Council:

Council will be having a public hearing this Wednesday about a proposed transportation System Development Charge program and project list. I won\’t be able to make the hearing, so I am writing to express my strong support for this program. When new development puts demands on our transportation infrastructure, it is fair and reasonable to require developers to contribute to the cost of infrastructure.

While in the past TSDC funds have been reserved for \”capacity-increasing projects\” that have been narrowly defined as vehicle capacity, I am particularly pleased to see that the new proposal before you acknowledges the potential for bicycling trips in the draft project list. This is important because:

* Development will increase demand for bicycling facilities and will increase bicycling trips (as we have seen in Portland\’s four-fold increase in cycling over the last decade). It would be unfair to ignore these trips by only constructing new vehicle facilities.

* Some potential new auto trips can be mitigated by converting them to bicycle trips if seamless, high-quality facilities are provided. This is a cost-effective way to encourage biking and mitigate the negative impact of new auto trips in our community.

* Portland has a stated goal to decrease greenhouse gases and emphasize sustainable development. Encouraging bicycling as a way to reach local businesses is an outstanding tool to help us reach that goal.

In particular, I strongly support both the Twenties Avenue Bikeway element and the proposed Flanders Bike/Pedestrian Bridge project.

Please support the TSDC program, and please ensure that the non-motorized component stays in place.

Jim Labbe

Excellent and informative comments Jessica… as usual.

In mid-November, the City Council will also be considering an increase in the Park system development charges (SDC) and the establishment of a park SDC for commercial and industrial development. Since park SDCs help fund multi-use trails like the Willamette Greenway or the Springwater Trail, the new SDCs should be of particular interest to cyclists and pedestrians.


Too bad the 7th Ave bike/ped bridge (#20077) over I-84 got ditched once again.

It could have been built for half the cost of the \”South Light Rail\” project, which will, apparently, prepare SW Lincoln for future Milwaukie-bound LR tracks –someplace where the MAX shouldn\’t even be in the first place. (It should run from PSU straight to SoWa along 405, not perpetuate the downtown \”snail rail\” philosophy by running only a few blocks south of the streetcar on Lincoln.)

Anyways… I want a safe, uncongested inner-eastside crossing over 84 for bicycles and pedestrians. Will we ever see it happen?

P Finn

F\’n A, Drew, F\’n A…

I\’m wondering why after all this time we STILL don\’t have HPV infrastructure along I-84.

We could have elevated bikeways over the MAX tracks for a cheaper, more efficient alternative to the MASS of it all.

And talk about visibility and exposure to other forms of trans users…cycling advertises itself…this, too me, is an interesting side effect of bike bouly\’s: Motorists see less bikes, so they assume less people are biking.