Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 2nd, 2009 at 11:54 am
The City of Portland is about to embark on a series of open houses to inform neighborhoods about their bike boulevard plans.
The Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is busy planning and designing 15 miles of new, low-traffic streets throughout the metro area. PBOT has planned two open houses for each of the six neighborhoods/districts where the bike boulevards are planned.
PBOT has already completed their public outreach process for the N. Wabash and SE Spokane bike boulevard projects and now they’re tackling the outreach component for projects on; NE Going, N Bryant, N Concord, SE Mill, SE Center, and SW Terwilliger/Westwood.
According to PBOT’s Transportation Safety Program Manager Mark Lear, the first of the two meetings will discuss what PBOT hopes to achieve with the project and why they selected those particular streets.
Lear says they’ll bring data to the first meetings showing residents current crash rates, traffic volumes and crossing treatments; “Essentially, we want to share with them what we know about the streets so we can determine how to best prioritize improvements.”
The idea is to “get smarter about local knowledge” of the streets Lear said. He also mentioned that in between the two meetings, PBOT will work with neighborhoods to try and plan bike rides and/or walks to get a first-hand look at the conditions.
At the second meeting, PBOT plans to bring neighborhoods one or two proposals of their recommendations for street improvements and get further feedback. Lear made it clear that they won’t be asking for an up or down vote on the project, but would just want to get a general “OK” on the plans before moving forward.
PBOT is being extremely careful in communication with neighborhoods about these bike boulevard projects. They have a clear memory of battles over street “improvements” (not everyone agrees on how to improve a street) and they obviously hope to steer clear of those and have a smooth public process. Primarily, PBOT wants to make sure residents feel empowered by the process and not like PBOT is coming to them with pre-conceived plans.
In a copy of an invite to the Going Street open house, PBOT writes (bold emphasis theirs, not mine), “The Bureau of Transportation has scheduled a public meeting to discuss the potential project with your neighbors.”
If all goes well, and neighborhoods like the recommendations from PBOT, it would then either be approved by the Director of PBOT or City Council.
According to Lear, the goal is to have the first 15 miles of bike boulevards completed by June of next year. PBOT has $780,000 to spend on the project, cobbled together from a variety of sources including $350,000 from the Bureau of Environmental Services’ Green Streets program, $180,000 from Mayor Adams’ newly established Affordable Transportation Fund, and $75,000 from the Portland Development Commission’s Interstate Corridor Renewal Area program.
PBOT should have more information on their website soon. For now, more details can be found on the BTA website and the full meeting schedule is posted below.
Schedule of Public Meetings
Note: All events will take place from 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Tuesday, July 7 & August 4
Bethany Lutheran Church, 4330 NE 37th Ave
Thursday, July 9 & August 6
Columbia Cottage, Friends of Columbia Park, 4339 N Lombard St
Tuesday, July 14 & August 11
Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, 5340 N Interstate
Thursday, July 16 & August 13
SE Precinct, 737 SE 106th Ave
Tuesday, July 21 & August 18
Mt Scott Community Center (Poolside Room), 5530 SE 72nd Ave
Thursday, July 23 & August 20
Multnomah Arts Center, Room 30, 7688 SW Capitol Hwy