Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Grassroots campaign blossoms for major bikeway on SE Foster

Posted by on December 7th, 2012 at 12:54 pm

On FosterUnited.org

Citizen activist, transportation planner, and southeast Portland resident Nick Falbo has upped the ante in the grassroots effort to add a high-quality bikeway to SE Foster Road.

As we reported last month, the City of Portland and residents are currently working on an update to the Foster Road Streetscape Plan and a new bikeway on the street has figured largely into initial discussions. Those involved with the project are vying to influence exactly how the cross-section of SE Foster between SE 52nd and 90th ends up. With grant applications in the pipeline and some funding already in hand, the stakes are high. How the lines in the plan divide up Foster — and specifically, how much roadway space is devoted to bicycles — remains an open question.

Falbo, a former video game designer and graduate of Portland State’s Urban Planning program (he’s done work for several local projects (including a series of animated videos explaining the CRC project and visualizations of the Sullivan’s Gulch Corridor he created during a stint with Alta Planning + Design), has been actively engaged in the project for months now. Yesterday, he published an open letter to the leader of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance on the FosterUnited.org neighborhood blog. Falbo wrote the letter in hopes that the BTA would champion the Foster Road Bikeway and make it a “cornerstone project” in their updated Blueprint for Better Bicycling.

Falbo has laid out four main reasons he thinks the Foster Road Bikeway is worthy of a major advocacy push (graphics below are Falbo’s):

“The Foster bikeway would provide a mainline connection from the greater SE area onto the new 50′s Bikeway… offer easy connections to the Central City. The bikeway will encourage more people to bike from Outer SE, and convince neighbors to ride around their own neighborhood for local trips.”

“Foster is identified as a High Crash Corridor. A significant reason for this is the lack of adequate bike/ped facilities and few safe crossing opportunities for pedestrians…”

“Foster’s commercial districts are stable, but are missing the full range of neighborhood supporting services and existing buildings suffer from excessive vacancy. The community development trajectory of Foster has nowhere to go but up, and installing a bikeway to promote and prioritize local and regional bicycle access can be a key part of the revitalization process…”

“Forget the bike backlash, the Foster Bikeway concept has broad neighborhood support. Three neighborhood associations, Southeast Uplift and the corridor-wide Foster Area Business Association have expressed desire for a protected Foster Bikeway. Unlike other commercial districts, the conversation about adding a bikeway is happening now and the neighborhoods are on board in a big way.”

Given how much weight PBOT puts on community support for projects (especially “bike projects”), this proactive and strongly communicated push for a bikeway on Foster could have significant influence. Whether the official streetscape plan reflects it or not, or whether the BTA embraces the project as much as Falbo would like, the cat is out of the bag. The grassroots campaign for the Foster Road Bikeway has begun. Where it goes from here is entirely up to whoever shows up and supports it.

Attend the Stakeholder Advisory Committee meeting on Thursday December 13 at 6:00 PM (SE Works, 7916 SE Foster Rd, Suite 104)

Learn more:
– Learn about the options on the table and stay updated at FosterUnited.org.
– Visit PBOT’s official Foster Rd Streetscape Plan website.
Tell the BTA what projects should prioritize in their Blueprint.

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. Thank you — Jonathan

  • 9watts December 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Nice work, Nick!
    Feet -> Fire

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  • BURR December 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Please, please don’t let them do to SE Foster what they did to SE Hawthorne and SE Division in their streetscape plans, which, for cyclists, was either nothing (SE Hawthorne) or negative (removal of the pro-time lanes on Division for curbside parking rather than a bikeway).

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    • spare_wheel December 8, 2012 at 9:27 am

      pbot’s removal of hawthorne as an official bike route is a terrific symbol of their failure to challenge a car-centric vision. all that is left from the previous bike plan are a few rusted signs. i fervently wish that every time a pbot (or form pbot staffer) drives on hawthorne they are “inconvenienced” by cyclists in their lane.

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      • Andrew Seger December 8, 2012 at 1:54 pm

        Wasn’t Charlie Hales the head of PBOT when the Hawthorne bike sell out went down? Doesn’t inspire confidence for Foster, unfortunately.

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      • BURR December 8, 2012 at 11:15 pm

        The final Hawthorne plan actually called for sharrows to be installed on SE Hawthorne once they were officially approved by the feds and incorporated into the MUTCD, which by my count happened something like five years ago now….

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  • SilkySlim December 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    I dig it. I hadn’t swung by that area for a while, and was amazed at all new businesses popping up when I passed by a couple weeks back. Really, within the past year or two, tons of new activity in that strip.

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    • davemess December 7, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      no joke. This area (esp. around 65th and Holgate) is ready for an explosion of growth and development. And this street revamp is going to be the corner stone of it all. I urge anyone who lives in outer SE to come to the meeting next week, and show your support for bike facilities on Foster.
      While you won’t have an offical “say” in the general public audience we need to flood the committee with support for bike infrastructre on Foster. There are very pro biking people on the committee (and a few who seem adamant about not removing any lanes of auto traffic).

      PS. the streetcar issue is not even on the table. The only relevance it has is deciding if it is important to make auto lanes wide enough to eventually some time in the future think about adding a street car.

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  • Andrew K December 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Excellent. Putting pressure on influencial parties is key. Great job.

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  • Steve B. December 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Yes! Yes! Yes!

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  • Reza December 7, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Awesome job, Nick! Now how about that streetcar?

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  • Granpa December 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Awesome job, Nick! Now how about that streetcar?
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    Yea on Foster bikeway, big no on streetcar and bikeway sharing space!

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  • q`Tzal December 7, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    #3 has some readability issues; lack of text color contrast with background colors. #1 a little bit as well.

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    • Spiffy December 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      I think a one pixel outline in black or grey would help all the letters stand out better…

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  • Michael P. December 7, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    In light of your recent “Portland Talks/Chicago Does” post, if a protected bike lane/cycle track actually comes to fruition, it could have huge implications for “Portland Did It” campaign.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm

      “if” and “actually” being the key phrases in your comment.

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      • q`Tzal December 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm

        Are you allowed to be cynical?

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    • spare_wheel December 8, 2012 at 9:37 am

      just because a bunch of human beings have died on foster does not mean we should lose sight of the safety cluster-f*** that is williams. i mean just the other day, someone in a subaru scowled at me on williams. i felt like my life was threatened! we need protected bike ways on williams now! foster can wait.

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      • naess December 8, 2012 at 3:19 pm

        oh, right. all cycling improvements are only supposed to happen in the inner core. since this is happening in outer s.e. screw any attempt at making cycling safer.

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        • davemess December 9, 2012 at 10:42 am

          And we should be focusing on areas that already have bike infrastructure. Obviously…….

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        • spare_wheel December 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm

          i *thought* the scowling subaru-er bit made a sarcasm tag superfluous…

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        • spare_wheel December 9, 2012 at 12:39 pm

          the scowling subaru-er bit was supposed to make the sarcasm tags superfluous…

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  • Robert Spurlock December 7, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Nick does it again! Go Nick! And by the way, Foster is where it’s at.

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  • gutterbunny December 7, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    This should easily be one of the highest priorities for new bike infrastructure for the greater Portland area. It’d be a huge improvement for cycling in the SE. Much more so than a tunnel under Division on the 205 path, or even the Woodstock to Hollywood bike highway (which personally should really go from Springwater to Cully to be really impressive. I really don’t see the need for connecting three shopping districts that are relatively the same. And it would absolutely have a greater effect than any of the improvements going in on NE Mult.

    I do feel like a broken record saying it again….but SE Portland between 39th and 205, Mt Tabor to Springwater (which doesn’t really help anyone trying to ride between say SE Duke and Mt. Tabor) has been overlooked for way too long, despite being perhaps one of the best areas for bike projects in the metro area in terms of long term effects. And really I don’t think there is a better road in the Portland area for doing a big bike project since the space is already there (except perhaps Division between 50th and 82nd). Just just a little more than some new paint and few more lights/cross walks perhaps a few bollards and SE Foster would be amazing, and a perfect compliment to the neighborhood that is scratching its way out of the gutter.

    The added bonus to a project like this is that unlike close in SE/NE. This would effect a wider demographic of people. More access for different ethic groups, more families and children, greater age ranges and more economic variety than most those that live in the inner core.

    It could be a huge economic boost to the ever struggling Lents neighborhood which has defied nearly every improvement effort by the city to for well over the 20 years I’ve lived and ridden in this town.

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    • davemess December 9, 2012 at 10:45 am

      SE 52nd, already has bike infrastructure from Woodstock to the Springwater. So the 50s bike way would reach the springwater
      Regardless, you make good points.

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  • Cora Potter December 7, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    It could be a huge economic boost to the ever struggling Lents neighborhood which has defied nearly every improvement effort by the city to for well over the 20 years I’ve lived and ridden in this town.
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    I’m sorry what? The problem with the (perceived) loss of momentum in Lents is the city doesn’t follow through on efforts that the residents of Lents have been advocating for for over 2 decades. The reason Lents is “struggling” right now is because the focus of the urban renewal is being shifted from Lents to areas further west on Foster, even though the primary and ultimate purpose of the Lents URA is to spur development and revitalization in Lents Town Center.

    We’re not “defying” city efforts. In fact, nothing would have or will ever been followed through on in Lents without practically Herculean efforts to nag and dog and shame city hall and the PDC into making good on their promises. And they wonder why we’re all so burnt out – a poster child neighborhood for planning fatigue…

    I’d like to invite you all to come to 92nd and Foster tonight to enjoy a Karaoke fund raiser at the Eagle Eye Tavern (in a building that’s currently undergoing a major historic facade restoration) for Green Lents – the grassroots non-profit that operates the Community Tool Library just a block north of the Eagle Eye on Ramona street. You’ll also get a glimpse of the beginnings of the Foster/Woodstock streetscape construction that just started last month. Also, check out the monumental public art piece that was installed at the end of the Ramon cul de sac – by the stairs to the light rail station. Then, come back next week and see the historic photo display that’s being added to the windows of the currently vacant Architectural Iron Products building and after that stop by our new community acupuncture clinic for a treatment, and maybe shop for some toys for your kids or nieces and nephews at Portland Natural Baby – located in the tidee didee building. If you need a bite Oliver’s cafe is open until 2 and after that there’s El Pato Feliz. All of this is the result of hundreds of hours of community involvement and dedicated volunteerism on the part of Lents residents.

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    • gutterbunny December 7, 2012 at 9:36 pm

      My intent with my comment wasn’t to put down the Lents neighborhood. Though looking back I can see where my comment might be taken that way. And again I am sorry.

      Not to sound like a bad cliche but….I currently reside in the South Tabor neighborhood . And I have always liked the Lents neighborhood area a lot. And I see a huge amount of potential for the area. Likewise I have many friends in Lents. Often I shop there, and ride through there often. Even when I lived farther away in my younger days I drove a taxi cab and it was one of my favorite zones to work, and before that was the ice cream man for many years too.

      I’m more than aware that the city has constantly short changed the area, but of all the ideas that I have heard over the years this one is perhaps one of the best. Both in impact for the area and for the cost of the improvements. And I’d be willing to fight for this project as much if not even more than getting the improvements that I’d like to see on SE Divsion which would actually be in my best interest.

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  • Hart Noecker December 7, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Best of luck getting the BTA to get behind a truly radical project like this. Here’s hoping they do.

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  • Bridger December 7, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Nice work Nick! I have a soft spot for Foster, and this could make it so much better. Well communicated too. Keep it up, buddy.

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  • Spencer Boomhower December 8, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Go, Nick! Planning expertise, combined with an ability to produce compelling graphics at will? Look out.

    That neighborhood has a lot of promise, that street has a lot of space, and I think there’s a good efficiency argument for giving active transportation better access to that, one of the few diagonal routes through the city grid. And if there’s a desire to make that street anything other than the unofficial freeway it is now, a complete streets approach is the way to do it.

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  • Aaron December 9, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    If you follow this thread, I’d be interested in talking to you about it. I live south of Foster and travel either along it or on neighboring streets.
    I know some people who may be willing to offer support.
    aaron [at] tarfman [dot] net

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  • Gregory Davis (Vietnam) December 10, 2012 at 6:13 am

    Ohh Nick, excellent work. Reading this from Vietnam makes me want to come back sooner and be in Portland on my bike. Thanks for the inspiration. Keep it up. You is the change from within.

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