ODOT’s Joyce Felton on the Bryant Street Bridge.
(Photos © Jonathan Maus)
It’s been over a year since I first shared the news that the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) was considering improvements to the ailing Bryant Street bike and pedestrian bridge.
Now, I’m pleased to learn that the Piedmont and Arbor Lodge neighborhoods — in close partnership with ODOT — are moving forward with their efforts to make the bridge safer, more attractive, and more well-known.
Piedmont Neighborhood Association member and well-known Portland artist Brian Borrello (he’s also a finalist in the Zoobomb Pyle rack design project) says they’d like to hear ideas about the bridge from as many members of the community as possible. He has helped organize a meeting this week (details below) to brainstorm enhancements for the bridge, “with special attention to the pedestrian and bicycle experience.”
For the inside story on this effort, I asked Borrello a few questions…
Why the effort to renovate/improve the Bryant Bridge? What’s the problem with it now?
“The bridge is ugly, “invisible”, poorly lit, perceived as unsafe, lacks proper signage, people throw bags of rubbish there, and it could be a real asset to Piedmont, Arbor Lodge, and N/NE at large as a bike and pedestrian corridor across I-5.”
Where is the money for this project coming from?
“We wrote a grant proposal for addressing the function and qualities of the bridge and we got $50K for our initial “enhancements” via ODOT. At first the money was going to be spent in “feasibilty” studies and sound/safety analyses by ODOT. We asked if we could approach this as a community driven project. We asked if we could create the project(s) from within the neighborhood — using local participation, local talent, local fabricators, for local users.
This was not conventional ODOT practice, however they have been great, really putting some effort into helping this bridge enhancement happen with a more “bottoms-up” approach. They are also preparing a master plan for/with us for developing our long term objectives and funding.”
Can you share one or two examples of improvements that have been discussed so far?
“I would like to see the bridge daylighted — both for allowing better visibility and safety and in exposing the bridge to the city as a viable, pleasant, if not creatively remarkable bike and ped passage.
It would also benefit from an “identity” that would express some character — perhaps a symbolic joining of two neighborhoods that were divided by this highway construction, perhaps a new name, perhaps a recognition of this bridge from the freeway below…
Portland is a city of cool bridges! Our neighborhood wants to make the best of our bridge!”
Here are the details of the meeting:
- Connecting Piedmont & Arbor Lodge Neighborhoods
6:30 – 9:00 pm
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Peninsula Park Community Center
N. Portland Blvd/Rosa Parks Blvd & N Albina
*For more info, contact
Brian Borrello: (403) 286-3557
Shaun Sullens (Piedmont Neighborhood Chair): shaunsullens(at)msn(dot)com