in Gresham. UTF-funded portion is in
green. Blue lines are Powell Blvd
(top) and Springwater Trail (bottom).
The Oregon Department of Transportation is likely to confirm Wednesday the first three projects to be funded through their new Urban Trail Fund (UTF) program. The UTF was established as part of the Jobs and Transportation Act (HB 2001) that passed the state legislature in 2009. There were $970,000 dollars available in the fund this year.
The following three projects have been recommended for funding by the Oregon Transportation Commission, a governor-appointed body that advises ODOT:
$300,000 – Springwater Trail Spur (Gresham)
The grant will fund an informational trail kiosk and 250 linear feet of an off-street trail that will eventually connect E Powell Blvd with the Springwater Corridor Trail through Main City Park in Gresham (total trail is 900 feet). According to Gresham’s grant application, the trail will be 17-feet wide and will be constructed this fall.
$210,000 – Astoria River Trail Extension
This project will extend the existing Astoria River Trail about 1/2 mile, connecting the trail from downtown Astoria into the Alderbrook neighborhood. The City’s grant application states that the completion of the trail will “close a critical gap by enabling residents to walk and bicycle to work, school, or commercials areas in the rest of the City.” The trail will also offer a nice alternative to congested Highway 30 for the legions of bike tourers that pass through Astoria.
$460,000 – Amazon and Willamette River Path Connections (Eugene)
This project consists of “four short connectors paths at key locations to link the Amazon Path and Willamette River Path with the local street network, transit stops, and on-street bikeways.”
ODOT received 15 applications worth $15 million and the projects were scored on a five-part criteria. Factors weighed in scoring each project were how much a project benefits the transportation system, whether it’s technically feasible, how ready the project it, how much support a project has, and how urgently the funds were needed. According to ODOT, the purpose of the grant program is to,
“… develop and maintain multi-use trails non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians—within urban growth boundaries—to supplement or provide links to roads, highways, footpaths, bike trails and public transit.”
The Portland Development Commission applied for $586,000 of UTF funds for the “Bridgeton Promenade” project—a half-mile, multi-use, urban promenade along the Columbia River in the Bridgeton neighborhood—but they did not receive funding.
The official announcement of the grant awards will be made this Wednesday at a meeting of the Oregon Transportation Commission. Learn more about the UTF program on ODOT’s website and read our prior coverage for additional background.