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Mayor Adams requests state funding for 7 ‘non-highway’ projects

Posted by 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.

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • David Hoch October 20, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Meanwhile on Capitol Hwy…

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    • are October 20, 2011 at 3:19 pm

      i don’t see how a striped bike lane would improve that situation, unless you had a hell of a lot more right of way

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      • Joseph E October 22, 2011 at 9:09 am

        The right-of-way is plenty wide; that’s the space between buildings on each side.

        The paved roadway IS narrow, and there are no sidewalks, but with some money and concrete, there would be plenty of room to add bike lanes or cycletracks and sidewalks on each side.

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  • BURR October 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    We’re going to need a better connection from downtown to the west end of the new Caruthers Bridge in a few years also.

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  • Neighbor Gregg October 20, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    These all seem like great ideas.
    It’s too bad that we can’t take the hundreds of millions that go to highway projects for one year and build out all of the active transportation projects statewide that communities want. It sure would be a better use of funds and would have an amazing ripple effect in the communities.

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  • Mindful Cyclist October 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Glad to see Barbur made the list. I used to travel that frequently and it wasn’t all that much fun.

    And, hoping that the Sullivan’s gulch trail gets built. Only a half mile from my house!

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  • John Mulvey October 20, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    I’m a big fan of the Sullivan Gulch trail concept, but I wonder about the issue of phasing. A couple months ago, we were told that there were engineering issues around building a trail on the steep hillsides, plus lots of question marks regarding acquiring the necessary rights-of-way.

    So does it make sense to build 12 blocks when you don’t yet have any engineering studies for the difficult parts of the route? Shouldn’t there be a comprehensive plan for the whole thing –including whether it’s even feasible? Without that, isn’t this a trail to nowhere?

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    • Art Fuldodger October 21, 2011 at 11:04 am

      yes, that was my thought – building this short segment only makes sense if the whole Gulch Trail can happen, and that seems to be far from assure thing.

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  • J_R October 20, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    I hope they don’t fund the Eastside Streetcar encouragement project until it is ready to operate. That’s been delayed until the end of September 2012. I predict that it will be delayed even longer. I’m not certain spending money for “encouragement,” which is mostly advertising and staff costs is as worthwhile as actually building something – like any of the other items on the list.

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  • Art Fuldodger October 21, 2011 at 11:08 am

    hey, Jonathan – where are the stairs from McLoughlin to the Springwater proposed?

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