The plan (download PDF) — which would bury I-5 between the Marquam Bridge and the Rose Quarter — is just at “concept level” and Adams says he wants to hear public feedback.
In a blog post titled, Envisioning a Future Central Eastside, Free of a Freeway, Adams said he’s releasing it for two main reasons: because the Central Eastside Industrial District is impacted by the City’s current N/NE Quadrant Central City 2035 planning process (which will likely come with widening I-5 through the Rose Quarter); and because as Transportation Commissioner back in 2004 he promised he, “would provide greater certainty to business and property owners in the Central Eastside Industrial District about the alignment for a buried east bank 1-5 freeway.”
Now Adams says, “We have identified a route that buries I-5 in place, and leaves the rest of the district intact.” Here are some bullet points of the plan, which he says “builds on earlier work” (done by former mayor Vera Katz and community groups):
- Could maintain existing on- and off-ramps
- Allows for a southbound on-ramp to be added in the Central Eastside Industrial District (shown at Stark St.)
- Separates through traffic from local traffic; improves safety by reducing weaving movements
- Rebuilds Water Avenue as functional, local-serving arterial.
While Adams’ plan does tunnel the freeway portion of I-5, it adds an above-ground arterial along the riverfront.
Adams says this could take decades for this to occur, the “future that the new concept plan portrays is undeniably appealing.” I agree!
Obviously with nine months left in his term, Adams knows he won’t be pushing this project along, but he at least wants to make some headway and keep the idea alive. “In final form, this reference document will hold the city to a single alignment should future decision makers seek to pursue a buried I-5.”
And of course, his release of the plan will be welcome fodder for many people in the community who want to see this happen – should future decision makers choose to listen to them.
Learn more on Adams’ blog.