Visualizing the Sullivan’s Gulch corridor

The view of the future Sullivan’s Gulch multi-use path looking east from NE Grand Ave. See how it will look once the facility is built in the images below.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The City of Portland and a group of volunteer stakeholders are hard at work developing a “concept plan” for the Sullivan’s Gulch corridor project (they call it a “trail” but I prefer to avoid that term unless we’re discussing an off-road trail). While this is just the first step in what is likely to be a long process (unless a very powerful person steps up and makes it happen sooner… anyone?!), for fans of this project (and there are many), it’s exciting to see how things are shaping up (sorry for all the parentheses).

Last night, a planner with PBOT shared an update and the first visualizations of what the final facility might actually look like. Here’s how they envision the segment near the Hollywood Transit Center…

(Renderings by Nick Falbo/Alta Planning + Design)

And here it is from another view…

With the path being close to the busy I-84 freeway, many people have brought up concerns about air quality. When asked about that last night, Smith said they estimate it’ll be similar to the I-205 multi-use path. To get a better read on it, the City is looking for someone to do an air quality analysis.

Unlike the I-205 path, the Sullivan’s Gulch won’t have to cross surface streets. Smith says they’ve been able to route the path under all 19 of the streets it crosses. In a major coup, PBOT has gotten an O.K. from ODOT to route the path under I-205 and connect it directly to the existing I-205 path.

Of course, for the City to pull off this project, they’ll eventually have to acquire right-of-way from the Union Pacific Railroad company. At last night’s meeting, Smith said UPRR owns 64% of the property the path would go through (compared to 26% owned by PBOT). Whether or note UPRR is willing to sell (or give away) that property remains to be seen. The good news is, UPRR and PBOT have already sat down to discuss this project several times.

Are they willing to give up the property? “We haven’t asked,” says Smith, “We’re not at that point in the process yet.”

And for those of you salivating that bike traffic will get its own, I-84-like freeway with this project, stakeholder advisory committee member Heather McCarey shared last night that Sullivan’s Gulch, “Is not intended as a bike freeway… We want this to be for everybody, not just a freeway for cyclists.”

Once completed, the project will connect the Eastbank Esplande to I-205 with a 5.6 mile, 12-15 wide path. For more, browse our past coverage and check out the City’s official project page.

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