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BTA throws weight behind five new greenways east of 205

Posted by on August 29th, 2014 at 11:34 am

elizabeth pedal pt

BTA advocate Elizabeth Quiroz talks greenways at the BTA members meeting this month.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Fourth in a week-long series about the BTA’s five new advocacy campaigns.

Of the five new Bicycle Transportation Alliance advocacy campaigns we’re examining this week, the only one that’s almost certain to succeed is east of Interstate 205.

That’s because it represents official BTA backing for five new stretches of a relatively cheap, uncontroversial type of bikeway — neighborhood greenways, the low-traffic side streets that have sharrows, speed bumps, 20 mph limits, wayfinding and comfortable crossings of major streets — that are already enshrined in the city’s popular East Portland in Motion plan and already have the support of the extremely effective advocates at the East Portland Action Plan.

That’s not to say East Portland advocates aren’t glad to have the BTA’s help improving these 12 miles of streets.

“We’re just really pleased that it is on their top agenda,” EPAP Advocate Lore Wintergreen said in an interview.

Wintergreen, who managed the city’s Safe Routes to School program before becoming a full-time advocate for East Portland, said she’d been reminded of the importance of basic, safe bikeways east of I-205 when she’d been headed home via Northeast Halsey, a key east/west freeway crossing that has no bike lanes.

“In midday, so we’re talking about 3:30, I counted 15 bike riders,” she said. “And looking at the faces of those bike riders, they were diverse people.”

Five connections to the spine: I-205

east portland neighborhood greenways

The BTA’s map of its top-priority greenways for East Portland, marked in green.

All five greenways in the BTA’s and EPIM’s sights all plug into the I-205 path and therefore the TriMet Green MAX Line. Here are the descriptions, taken from the city’s East Portland in Motion document:

Parkrose: Connecting the 205 path and Gateway Green (between I-205 and I-84) to NE Sandy and 115th, including a new multi-use path on the south side of Fremont between 102nd and 112th.

Knott/Russell: Connecting NE Knott and 102nd to NE 162nd and Russell, past the University of Western States, Margaret Scott Elementary and the Summerplace assisted living community. This would include crossing improvements at 102nd, 122nd and 148th.

Woodland Park: Connecting NE 99th and Multnomah, near Gateway Transit Center, north-northeast through the currently auto-oriented commercial area to NE Tillamook and 108th, including two short protected bike lane connections and an offset crossing improvement at 102nd.

4M: One of the biggest missing pieces in East Portland infrastructure, this 4.2-mile greenway would run along Market, Mill, Millmain and Main from the I-205 path past David Douglas high school to the city limit just past SE 174th.

Holladay Oregon Pacific: This route weaves from Gateway Transit Center, past Winco, on the neighborhood streets south of Halsey east to the 130s Greenway and Holladay Park East. It’d include crossing improvements at Pacific and 102nd and Holladay and 122nd.

Thanks to years of advocacy from East Portlanders, the city seems to be strongly behind all these improvements: when the Portland Bureau of Transportation released a list of possible projects to be associated with its proposed street fee, these five were the top of the list.

Elizabeth Quiroz, the BTA’s lead staffer on this project, said this month that getting these projects done is mostly a matter of finding the money. She expects a wave of state support to greatly improve biking and walking along Southeast Powell; for the moment, these greenways are the counterpart to that work on the north side of East Portland.

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Quick take: BikePortland’s summary of the project

BTA_BluePrint_Monroe_v4-1024x682

A BTA illustration of a neighborhood greenway.

Where the idea came from: East Portland neighborhood advocates wrestled these routes into Portland’s 2010 bike plan, but they’ve been delayed by the city’s decision to slice funding for neighborhood greenways. Wintergreen, the city-paid advocate for East Portland investments, has coordinated volunteers and coalition partners including the BTA to get them funded.

What it might cost: Quiroz estimates the total cost at $2,290.000.

Obstacles: If Mayor Hales and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick can find a third vote on Portland City Council for a street fee or similar revenue proposal that includes “safety” as well as “maintenance” improvements, these look like a shoo-in sometime in the next few years. If not, they’ll join the ongoing scramble for state and federal grants. But Wintergreen predicts that there’s a “100 percent” chance that these will all be complete within five years, one way or another.

How you could help: Contact Quiroz: 971-231-5686, elizabeth@btaoregon.org, or the EPAPbike Subcommittee.

Check back next week for the final post in our series about new advocacy campaigns.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Terry D-M
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Terry D-M

Once these are complete, combined with the 130’s and 150’s and 100teens’s, the face of east Portland biking will be changed.

The next step of course will be to modernize the bikelane street grid with buffers and separation, but that will require road redesigns, lane or parking removal and MONEY.

So by all means, build the cheap stuff first. I definitely hope though that there is some form of DIVERSION on the “Three M’s”…..

And yes, I decided to add the “-M” to Terry D as I got married last may. I did not realize until after the fact my initials are now TDM. I like it.

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

Fantastic! 5 greenways for just over $2M? Let’s get this done. I realize projects like this have been in progress for some time, but somehow it feels like the formation of Bike Loud PDX has lit a fire under the BTA. As I’ve said before, there’s room for two groups – one pushing the envelope, and one getting the nuts-and-bolts stuff like this done.

Dan G
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Dan G

A couple gripes:
We also need better connections between I-205 and Greenways westward. I wouldn’t take much, just a few wayfinding signs/sharrows. Right now there’s almost nothing.
Also, drinking fountains along the I-205 would be nice. Preferably at the Green line MAX stops.

CaptainKarma
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CaptainKarma

Is there a PDF for that map? I can’t seem to find one (blame it on my little tablet computer).

Carl (BTA)
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Carl (BTA)

Quick note: the rendering at the bottom of the article (by the talented Owen Walz) isn’t really a “model neighborhood greenway.” It’s actually Monroe St. — a street with no sidewalks that we are currently working with the city of Milwaukie to transform into the city’s first neighborhood greenway. So: although the image shows a big improvement from its current state, a street with no sidewalks is not ideal.

John Liu
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John Liu

I don’t know much about those specific routes (yes, I’m one of those central city types), but more and safer bike routes out east would be great. Are north-south routes also needed? Maybe these bike routes, when built, will attract more bike shops to the area?

Chet
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Chet

I’m glad these are happening as east of 205 is in dire need of improvements.

Where does this put the 20’s and 70’s bikeways? I know the 20’s is fairly controversial for the route, but as the fifties goes in, from what I’ve seen it’s just a bike lane in some places. Hardly can be called a ‘greenway’. Can anyone give me a rundown of the status of other greenways? I know they are in the 2035 plan but where are they prioritized and who makes the decisions to implement?

Chris I
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Chris I

This really needs to happen. Maybe they can get Fritz to vote for it?

spare_wheel
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spare_wheel

The parkrose greenway should be prioritized. While other east portland neighborhoods have bike lanes on E-W arterials there is little bike or ped infrastructure in this diverse neighborhood.

TonyT
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TonyT

I’m feeling a bit cynical about Greenways right now. Currently Portland is utterly unwilling to do enforcement. What is the point of 20mph signs and diverters if there aren’t any teeth behind them?

For years now, my neighbors and I have been requesting enforcement to deal with rush hour speeders and drivers ignoring diverters on our Greenway. I have pursued every avenue imaginable. Nothing. Total silence.