the Brooklyn Yards might not
get renovated after all.
TriMet’s $1.5 billion Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project is facing a $200 million budget gap and cuts currently being considered could impact bike parking and bike access. The gap is due to an unexpected announcement by the Federal Transit Administration in July that they’d only fund 50% of the project instead of a 60% share that all previous light rail projects have gotten.
At last night’s Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting, PBOT project manager Art Pearce said they’re just now starting to identify pieces of the project that can be cut. While TriMet executives look for additional funding, Pearce and other project partners from around the region are going through the project with a fine-toothed comb to find areas that can be cut back or deferred completely.
As presented by Pearce last night, among the cuts being considered are removing planned viewing areas from the design of the new Willamette River Bridge, not doing planned upgrades to the Rhine Pedestrian Bridge, not replacing the Clinton Station Pedestrian bridge, and taking 20% out of the planned budget for bike parking.
Without improved biking and walking facilities on the Clinton Station and Rhine bridges (which are just a few blocks from one another), non-motorized access to the new light rail line would be negatively impacted. As for bike parking, there are 383 additional spaces proposed in the project. The total loss of spaces would depend on which type — lockers, staples, and so on — are chosen to be part of the 20% budget cut.
In a telephone interview today, Pearce said finding the cuts is a balancing act. “We’ve been working to identify cuts we think we can live without, things we think we might be able to make happen in other ways.” Pearce was referring to his hopes that “at some point… as development happens” they’ll be able to address the Rhine Pedestrian Bridge, which is a dilapidated structure with stairs only that was initially planned to be renovated to include easier access for people on bicycles.
TriMet plans to roll out more details on proposed cuts at a Citizen’s Advisory Committee meeting tomorrow night. Dan Blocher, TriMet’s Executive Director of Capital Projects will address the committee. If you’d like to weigh in on these cuts you should consider attending. The meeting is at St. Philip Neri Parish (2408 SE 16th Ave) from 6:00 – 7:30 pm (agenda and more details here).