open house last month.
(Photo: City of Portland)
The City of Portland and the Oregon Department of Transportation have recently embarked on a public outreach process to garner input that will inform their N/NE Quadrant and I-5 Broadway/Weidler Plans. The idea is to integrate land use and urban design planning with freeway planning in the lower Albina and Lloyd Districts.
At the first public open house of the N/NE Quadrant Project (held November 15th), attendees made it clear that the top priority should be improvements to the walking and biking environment. According to the City’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (they’re managing the process), the majority of comments received at the event had to do with transportation. Here’s how the City characterizes the responses:
“Your comments showed a clear interest in making the N/NE Quadrant of Portland’s Central City more pedestrian and bicyclist friendly and making public transit (bus, MAX, streetcar) more accessible. Many of your comments also included suggestions to lower speed limits in the portion of the I-5 freeway that passes through the N/NE Quadrant. Your comments also show sincere concerns about the safety around I-5 on/off ramps that intersect with pedestrian, bicycle and local auto traffic.”
Also at the open house, ODOT representatives asked a specific question about Interstate 5. (As we know, ODOT has some ideas of their own about how to alleviate bottlenecks and lower the amount crashes on I-5 as it passes through the Broadway/Weidler interchange). Interestingly, when they asked, “What issues are the most important to address as we consider improvements to the I‐5 Freeway?” the 22 open house attendees that answered the question put congestion and freeway traffic safety at the bottom of the list.
Here’s how the responses to that question broke down when spread over eight issues and placed in order from highest importance to lowest importance:
- Pedestrian and bike travel improvements: 31%
- Impacts on quality of life: 22%
- Impacts of improvements on adjacent properties: 15%
- Economic impact on local business: 13%
- Regional economic impact: 7%
- Freeway traffic safety: 5%
- Local and street access to freeway: 5%
- Freeway congestion: 3%
With many bike transportation problem spots in this area, there’s a lot at stake in this process. It’s good to know that people are speaking up about bicycling right from the get-go.
Learn more about the N/NE Quadrant Project and read a full summary of the first open house here. You can also take a look at a detailed list of all the comments they received on transportation issues in this PDF document. See the “Get Involved” page for ways you can track this project.