City planners are working to determine which projects should be funded with the new, $500,000 “Affordable Transporation Fund” included in Mayor Adam’s budget. The money — which is to be dedicated specifically to bikeway network improvements — became available on July 1st. A draft list of high-priority projects was shared at last night’s City of Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting.
City bike coordinator Roger Geller shared that some of this year’s $500,000 is already spoken for. Half of the money will pay for the upcoming cycle track on SW Broadway (will be completed by end of this month), buffered bike lanes on Stark and Oak and the 15 miles of bike boulevards PBOT is working on.
With the remaining $250,000, and in advance of another $500,000 becoming available in July 2010, Geller asked the committee for feedback on a list of high-priority projects.
Geller told that committee that $500,000 isn’t a lot of money, so he wants to pick projects that get attention. “We want to pick projects that are highly visible. Things that make people aware of what we’re doing. We want them to be seen and used, and we want media attention for these projects.”
Using a criteria matrix that includes things like visibility, expected ridership increase, cost, barriers to biking that the project would address, and so on, here is the current draft list of projects:
1. Going St. Bicycle Blvd. crossing at MLK: This would likely be a user-activated signal like PBOT has installed at 41st and Burnside (known as a HAWK signal).
2. Going. St. Bicycle Blvd. crossing at 33rd: PBOT is considering an innovative, two-way cycletrack with a HAWK Signal to handle this offset crossing (I’ll have a separate story on this soon).
3. Buffered bike lanes on N. Williams: Geller said PBOT gets regular complaints about the bike lanes on this street being too narrow and feeling unsafe. At the meeting last night, Geller said their analysis shows that bike lanes carry 1/3 of all vehicular traffic on N. Williams. (There was a lot of support among bike advisory committee meeting attendees for this project.)
4. 12th Ave. I-84/Banfield overcrossing: Referred to as a big barrier to Lloyd District access, PBOT is considering some type of pathway connection on both sidewalks on the existing overpass and a scramble signal at the north end.
5. South Portal Bicycle Improvements to Downtown: Geller said there’s a “whole package” of improvements they’d like to do to make the connection from SW Portland downtown easier and safer for bike traffic.
6. N Willamette Blvd. Improvements: Currently this road has only 4 1/2 foot bike lanes. Geller said they’d like to consider removing on-street parking from a section of the road (where the houses also have sidestreet parking available) in order to widen the bike lane and connect it to a nearby bike boulevard.
According to a document distributed by Geller at the meeting last night, these projects were recommended based on their estimated costs and “the leverage they offer to existing and ongoing investments and their expected improvement to Portland’s bikeway system.”
Implementation of the first projects selected could start by Spring of 2010. Stay tuned for more details on each of these projects as they become finalized.