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BTA’s new ‘Blueprint’ prioritizes 16 bike projects for Portland region

Posted by on June 4th, 2013 at 6:30 pm

The state’s bike advocacy group chose 16 “almost metaphorical” projects in four categories.

Oregon’s leading bike advocacy group has named sixteen projects in four categories as their top bike infrastructure priorities for the region.

Released Tuesday, it’s the first update of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance‘s “Blueprint for World-Class Bicycling” since 2005, when the organization named 40 such projects. This time around, the group sought to focus on a smaller number in an effort to increase the pressure on behalf of the selected projects.

The BTA sorted the projects on its list into four key concepts:

  • Make Big Streets Safe, which focuses on protected facilities that could make bicyclists comfortable on high-traffic commercial roads: North and Northeast Broadway, downtown Portland in general, Southeast Foster Road and the Tualatin Valley Highway.
  • Let’s Fix It, which includes, for example, “the bike lane that goes nowhere”: Barbur Boulevard, Sullivan’s Gulch crossings of Interstate 84, the crossings of Highway 26 in Washington County and the Interstate 205 Path Gap.
  • Create Neighborhood Greenways, calling for “a region-wide approach” to the network of multimodal side streets that are bike-friendly thanks to 20 mph speed limits, speed humps and traffic diverters: Monroe Street in Milwaukie, the Northeast 7th to Southeast 9th Avenue corridor in Portland, and Washington County and East Portland in general.
  • Build Inspiring Trails, which uses the Springwater Trail from Southeast Portland to Gresham and Boring as a model for other long routes that combine recreation and transportation: the North Portland Greenway, a Portland to Lake Oswego path, the Gresham-Fairview Trail and a Westside Trail that would connect the Tualatin River to the St. John’s Bridge in Portland.
  • The BTA also called out the potential for a “Hood to Coast Trail Network” that could one day become a major tourist and recreation destination by linking Portland and Mount Hood to the Pacific Ocean.

    You can check out the BTA’s description of all its priority projects here, and also sign up to receive BTA alerts about the projects. You can also download the full Blueprint as a PDF.

    The BTA’s selection of these projects was based on input from 900 people who responded to an online survey, plus another 120 who attended 16 community meetings across the metro area over the course of about three months.

    In all, the work required more than 1,000 hours of staff time. It was completed with support from the Bullitt Foundation, Bikes Belong, Nike and multiple in-kind donors.

    In an interview last week, BTA Director Rob Sadowsky said the organization was forced to leave important projects out of the Blueprint, but plans to share research and advocacy on behalf of its Blueprint projects with other organizations that may have different priorities.

    “We see the 16 projects as being almost metaphorical,” Sadowsky said. “You can plug and play: you can take out North Broadway, for example, and plug in North Williams. … You can take out Foster and put in Sandy.”

    Sadowsky said they’d tried to select projects that they felt wouldn’t happen without a clear push from the BTA.

    When projects are completed, Sadowsky said, the BTA plans to swap in other priorities to replace them.

    “We don’t want to make this static,” Sadowsky said. “We’ll make sure that there’s always 16.”

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    Alex Reed
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    Alex Reed

    Good news for the Foster Road project! The three-auto-lane option with buffered bike lane (parking protected in most of the way) was ahead in comments on the bulletin board at the ‘Super Open House’ today! Three auto lanes with non-buffered bike lane was a tick behind and both the four-auto-lane options were well behind. Yay, keep it up, Foster citizens!

    Hart Noecker
    Guest

    Just imagine how many bike projects could be funded with $450million dollars.

    Andrew N
    Guest
    Andrew N

    A big “YES” to the NE 7th/SE 9th proposal with a new bike/ped bridge over 84 in the middle. Talk about a project whose time has come after so many years of talk and study.

    i ride my bike
    Guest
    i ride my bike

    Why so much emphasis on Washington County? That place is fundamentally unbikeable (forget infrastructure, just look at land uses, block structure, roads, distances), its like trying to turn the Arctic into the Sahara. If you are into biking and want to get around by bike, move somewhere in the region designed for it or that at least actually has potential with improvements (which would still be a huge feat). Even East Portland has way more potential than WaCo.

    Rob
    Guest
    Rob

    The report needs improvement on North Barbur. There, because of speeds the solution should be physically separated bikeways. If cost is an issue, make a single bikeway combining North and Southbound in one path.

    That route serves huge numbers of reasonable cost apartments supporting PSU and downtown employment. With safe bike and pedestrian access, more could be built.

    AndyC of Linnton
    Guest
    AndyC of Linnton

    So does this have teeth? By whittling down the number of projects, does that mean these projects are in fact going to be implemented faster?

    I’m all for increasing the pressure on key projects to get them done, and they very well should be, but are we going to come back here in 2021 and read a report that the BTA is putting pressure on like 6 of these 16 projects?

    Lynne
    Guest

    I also disagree that Washington County is unbikeable. I bicycle all over it 🙂 Seriously, my commute is 10 mi each way; approx Hwy 217 to Intel Ronler Acres. There’s even grocery stores and places to eat if I want to stop along the way and pick something up. But I would like safer Hwy 26 crossings. That one over Cornelius Pass – 5 ways to die, there.

    Ted Buehler
    Guest

    Good start, I would have liked to have seen “Kenton To The River” get included. New I-5 bridge or not.

    Ted Buehler

    Jim Labbe
    Guest
    Jim Labbe

    Congrats to the BTA! This looks like a very solid set of priorities.

    However, not to nit-pick (the comment section of Bikeportland is where we do it!) but I was bummed that in mentioning the Sullivan Gulch trail priorities they did not include the proposed undercrossing at I-205. This key section of the Sullivan’s Gulch Trail would connect to Gateway Green and East Portland neighborhoods. It is significant not just for the Sullivan Gulch Trail and the Gateway Green project but also in restoring a human-scale connection between neighborhoods historically severed by I-84 and I-205 and- in the case of Parkrose Heights and Hazelwood- lacking good access to parks and trails.

    Jim

    TrailLover
    Guest
    TrailLover

    I love the work that BTA does but BTA is missing a big piece of the local cycling constituency by once again failing to prioritize the expansion of singletrack trail opportunities for mountain biking. BTA needs to get front and center on the topic of trail access in Forest Park. Without it, the region will never be “World Class.”

    Bike Milwaukie
    Guest

    Big thank you to the BTA for focusing on projects beyond the Portland city limits. 6 years ago when Milwaukie created it’s TSP it seemed like the BTA was inwardly focused on Portland centric projects. Nice to see you spread your wings. Thanks for sending some energy our way!

    Rob Sadowsky
    Guest

    Just an FYI for folks who wanted to see Sullivan’s Gulch. It is a longer term project (we focused on projects that can be implemented in 5 years or less) and is an essential part of our call out for a trail network from Mt. Hood to the Coast. This allows us to advocate for the trail within the current framework of the Blueprint.

    Greeley Rider
    Guest
    Greeley Rider

    Speaking of Inspiring Trails (see BTA Blueprint), how about an eastward extension of the wonderful trail that runs on the north bank of the Columbia Slough, between Portland Road and Denver?

    gutterbunny
    Guest

    Very nice…on the whole I like all the projects. I really like the fact that most the projects lack the whole “all roads lead to downtown” mentalitly that has perservered over the last decade.

    Not that core doesn’t need more attention, but honestly looking at some of the recently published information there has been great increases in ridership in areas that have recieved little to no attention and things like improved outter core NE/SE, Washington County, and SW will do alot more for ridership numbers than improvements to the inner East side core.

    Keep up the good work

    Lenny Anderson
    Guest
    Lenny Anderson

    NE Broadway, the 7th Avenue Bridge, North Portland Greenway!!! Yes, Yes, Yes. Thanks BTA for putting your shoulder to these heavy lifts.