Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on October 20th, 2011 at 11:35 am
The Oregon Department of Transportation is set to award $21 million to “non-highway” transportation projects throughout the state as per their Flexible Funds program. Of that amount, Portland officials expect about $2.2 million to be awarded locally and today Mayor Sam Adams sent in his list of project requests.
In the last go ’round of this funding pot, ODOT awarded Portland nearly $3 million for two key biking and walking projects — the “Going to the River” project and the SE 122nd Avenue complete street project.
Here are the seven projects that Mayor Adams has requested funding for:
Sullivan’s Gulch Corridor ($675,000 estimated) – The City wants funds to build what would be the first segment of this five mile long carfree corridor that will someday connect Gateway Regional Center (where I-84 and I-205 meet) in East Portland to the central city. Here’s an excerpt about it from Adams’ request:
“The first segment would be constructed in City owned right of way along the northern edge of the gulch between NE 70th and 82nd avenues, offset 50 feet from the Union Pacific Railroad’s Graham Line.”
This specific request would only build 12 blocks — making it more symbolic than useful in terms of its actual transportation value. Once built, PBOT estimates that there will be 15,000 daily bicycle trips in the Sullivan’s Gulch corridor (based on 6 percent bicycle mode share).
Barbur Blvd Safety – After Barbur was passed over for a recent federal funding request, City Hall heard loud and clear from citizens (and from the media) that it was just another unfair delay in long-needed traffic safety improvements on Barbur. That political reality has been coupled with the amendment to prioritize funding for this and the Sullivan’s Gulch that passed City Council in August.
This Barbur project would focus on crossing improvements at intersections between SW 19th and 26th Avenues. It’s worth noting that one reason the City is tentative about making significant changes to Barbur is because of the ongoing SW Corridor Plan process. The fear is that any changes made to Barbur might end up being torn out once that plan gets implemented.
“The trick will be to find locations [for improvements] that are risky now but can be done without knowing what the Corridor Plan will do,” commented PBOT’s Planning Division Manager Paul Smith at a recent bicycle advisory committee meeting.
East Portland Access to Transit: This request consists of two elements; a major bicycle park and ride facility at Gateway Transit Center (estimated at $450,000) and bus stop access improvements on SE Division Street. There was some disagreement at a recent City Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting about including bus stop access in this request. Some felt the requests should stick to biking and walking only, while others felt that transit activists would be up in arms if the bus stop access was stripped out.
Cully Neighborhood Safe Routes to School: This project would build two north-south bike boulevards, one on NE 54th/55th and one on NE 66th/67th.
The Mayor’s list also includes three other small projects. They include; stairs from McLoughlin Blvd to the Springwater Corridor; money for design of a Wildwood Trail bridge over West Burnside; and funds for a SmartTrips encouragement program along the Portland Eastside Streetcar alignment.
Final decisions on which projects get funded will be made by the Oregon Transportation Commission in February 2012.