If you’re a fan of the Sullivan’s Gulch Mobility Corridor (a.k.a. the Sullivan’s Gulch Trail), than any news from the City of Portland is worth getting excited about (the project has been talked about since 1996!). When complete, the project will result in a five mile non-motorized transportation corridor connecting the Eastbank Esplanade to Rocky Butte and the Gateway District in East Portland.
“… It would be the only exclusive east-west bicycle and pedestrian corridor between Marine Drive and the Springwater Corridor… provide an active transportation route separated from heavy motor vehicle traffic for thousands of Portlanders.”
Yesterday at City Council, the Bureau of Transportation officially accepted a $224,000 grant (which they won from Metro in 2008) to develop a concept plan for the project. With the money now officially in PBOT’s hands, the City has taken some key steps in making the planning portion of the project a priority.
A project advisory committee has been formed and both PBOT and Portland Parks & Recreation (it will be a dual effort, although PP&R will take the lead) have assigned a staff person to oversee the process. A one-sheet has been developed for the Concept Plan process, which gives the community a sense of how PBOT/PP&R are framing the project. Here’s a snip from the one-sheet (emphasis mine):
“The Sullivan’s Gulch Trail would serve as a safe, comfortable, and direct transportation and recreation option for people to walk, bike or roll. It would be the only exclusive east-west bicycle and pedestrian corridor between Marine Drive and the Springwater Corridor…
This trail would link East Portland to the Central City and provide an active transportation route separated from heavy motor vehicle traffic for thousands of Portlanders.”
But don’t get too excited just yet. This current effort is just a planning exercise which is being done to “establish the feasibility of the concept to locate a significant pedestrian and bike facility within the corridor.”
Concept Plan development will be a nine-month process to identify and recommend a potential route, address concerns from property owners along the corridor, and establish some cost estimates for the trail (estimates I’ve heard range from $25-50 million).
If you care about this project, this planning effort is the first time you’ll be able to officially engage, weigh in, and let the City now what you think about it. There’s already a citizen’s group established for the project and we can expect them to be making a lot more noise in the coming months.
While some might be crestfallen at the sheer scope of this project (one reader referred to it as a “long, slow, slog”), it doesn’t have to be that way. If momentum builds,, if a major political figure or community leader throws their weight behind it, if we get our mobility priorities in order sooner rather than later, we could see it come to fruition much quicker.
— For more information, browse our “Sullivan’s Gulch Corridor” story archives, check out SullivansGulchTrail.org, and stay tuned for opportunities to get involved with this exciting project.