Open house set for “transformation” of NE Multnomah Blvd in Lloyd District

Going on a diet.

On May 15th, the Lloyd Transportation Management Assocation (TMA) and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) will unveil their plans to significantly alter the roadway design on NE Multnomah Street. Or in their words, give it a “transportation transformation.”

The open house announcement for this project — which we first reported on back in December — was sent out to stakeholders today. Here’s a snip from the invite:

Portland Bureau of Transportation staff and the Lloyd TMA will host a public open house to present concepts and receive public comment on a proposal to make transportation changes on NE Multnomah Street. Concepts include a reduction of motor vehicle travel lanes, introduction of on-street parking, and enhancements to bikeways and pedestrian crossings.

A road diet project for Multnomah Blvd emerged from a public process designed to develop a high-quality east-west bikeway through the Lloyd District on NE Holladay. When a representative from powerful real estate development firm Ashforth Pacific was the sole dissenting vote on a citizen committee for the Holladay project, PBOT decided to hit the pause button and focus on Multnomah instead. Now PBOT is promising putting the pieces in place to make Multnomah a more vibrant and popular street. [Note: This sentence originally said that PBOT Director Tom Miller had promised to make Multnomah the “coolest street in Portland,” but that characterization over-simplified Miller’s quote and failed to put it into context. – Editor]

Multnomah currently has five standard vehicle lanes and standard bike-only lanes. It’s the classic, auto-centric thoroughfare. The road diet will turn the road into a three standard vehicle lane cross-section, giving more room to bike lanes, crossing features, and perhaps tiny “parklets.” This, along with major residential and retail development in the works, could significantly liven up the streetscape.

So far, the Multnomah project has moved from idea to fully developed concepts without any input from the public. The planning has taken place behind closed doors with a select group of Lloyd District stakeholders. This open house will be the first time the public is allowed to see what they’ve been working on and offer feedback.

Heather McCarey, a former employee of the Lloyd TMA who sat on the Holladay project advisory committee, commented at the April 10th meeting of the PBOT Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting that she’s excited about the potential on Multnomah, but the process, “Bulldozed the [Bike Advisory] committee,” adding that, “We weren’t asked to be a part of this.”

McCarey also reported to the BAC that the changes to Multnomah could be on the ground by this summer and they will be considered a one-year pilot demonstration. More details on the open house below:

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