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PSU grad students will help plan Green Loop and North Portland Greenway

Posted by on March 10th, 2015 at 9:04 am

green loop options

Examples from (in order) San Francisco, Copenhagen, New York City and New York City in an online survey about preferred ideas for a “green loop” bikeway connecting the South Park Blocks with Tilikum Crossing.
(Screenshot from survey)

Two of Portland’s most visionary long-term biking projects will get a boost this spring from two teams of Portland State University planners-in-training.

One team of Masters in Urban and Regional Planning candidates will be throwing their brains into Southwest Portland’s quadrant of the Green Loop, the concept of a comfortable bikeway circling the central city on both sides of the Willamette River. A second team will work in support of the North Portland Greenway, a citizen-driven plan to create a continuous comfortable bikeway along the east bank of the Willamette between the Rose Quarter and St. Johns.

Brian Gunn, the research lead and community engagement assist for the five-person Green Loop team, said they’ll be conducting stakeholder interviews, an online survey and focus groups with “bike groups, running groups, walking groups, parents, business organizations in town.”

The formal work will wrap up in June.

The Green Loop project is unique in Portland transportation planning at the moment because it emerged from the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability rather than the Bureau of Transportation.

Gunn said the main focus of this spring’s PSU project will be creating a comfortable bicycling connection between the South Park Blocks and Tilikum Crossing.

“Essentially we are looking at separated bike lanes, whether that be through grade or through plantings,” he said. “The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is one of our primary case studies.”


As for the North Portland Greenway team, they’re partnering with the citizen group npGreenway (which is, conveniently, about to hire its first dedicated staffer) to do a similar online survey about the preferences of people interested in that trail.

The North Portland team, which calls its project Grow Willamette Greenway, has put up a website and Facebook page dedicated to their project. Their work will focus less on design details and more on getting more Portlanders excited about the concept of an off-road path to North Portland.

“We’re actually looking at the entire greenway alignment,” said Geena Gastaldi of the North Portland team. “We identified with npGreenway some gaps in their argument. What are the health impacts?”

Gastaldi’s team will be preparing graphic designs and releasing descriptions of the North Portland Greenway in English and Spanish.

Gunn said that although their report will consider the political and financial costs of different options, one of the stakeholders his team had spoken with had advised them to “dream big.”

“As students, we have that chance to do that,” Gunn said.

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  • Adron @ Transit Sleuth March 10, 2015 at 9:16 am

    It’s excellent they’re getting students involved! 🙂

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  • Rick March 10, 2015 at 9:21 am

    Dream big

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  • Adam H. March 10, 2015 at 9:28 am

    This is a great opportunity for PSU students to help design a world-class bicycling facility. It’s great that they are only considering separated, protected cycle lanes.

    How soon after the plan is done is construction supposed to start?

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    • Terry D-M March 10, 2015 at 9:52 am

      LOl….start? Well there is funding, in theory, for the downtown green loop as part of the multi-modal remodel…but the north Portland Greenway trail…..That will require FEDERAL funding…I’m guessing 60 million at least. With the current congress…well….

      Long term though if they get it all the way to Kelly Point Park it would be a major bike tourist attraction, not to mention the transportation benefits.

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  • chasing backon March 10, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Yeah, they can dream big about all the things the city will ever actually do to protect VRU and improve all transit modes. Dream big indeed.

    I saw at least 5 people driving and texting on my way in to work today. I dream big also that some day those people will get hefty fines.

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  • hat March 10, 2015 at 10:36 am

    I think this won’t happen unless we press for incremental baby-step change. Here’s a site that argues for this. The Green Loop can exist next week with very small changes to existing streets, namely the crossing at Burnside and Park.

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  • Rebecca March 10, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Looking forward to following the Grow Willamette Greenway project and the designs that come out of it – having good images of an idea is essential for helping people to understand the vision and get excited about it. And Gena Gastaldi is an excellent designer & one of the sharpest planning students I know, so I’d expect strong work from her team.

    Hope to see a follow-up article on this project when they issue their final report.

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  • Gena Gastaldi March 10, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Thanks to Michael for writing on my team’s workshop project, Grow Willamette Greenway. We are thrilled to be working with npGreenway on this important project and look forward to seeing where the work takes us!

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  • Spiffy March 10, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    just looking at the photos without reading the caption I assumed that #2 and #4 weren’t in the US and I was right…

    I assumed that mostly because the paths are actually physically separated from motor vehicles, meaning that a motor vehicle could not access the bike path due to immobile objects…

    that’s the type of separation that’s needed for the 8-80 crowd…

    trees, curbs, bollards; those things help control cars… flexible plastic poles and empty parking spaces do nothing to make people feel safe…

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    • soren March 10, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      #4 is in NYC.

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    • gutterbunnybikes March 10, 2015 at 8:31 pm

      #2 is Miami. (wish I could say I reconsidered it. I couldn’t butt google image search did a fine job.)

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      • gutterbunnybikes March 10, 2015 at 8:32 pm

        recognized..pretty bad when you gotta spell check the spell check…lol

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  • Joe Adamski March 10, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    The PSU students bring a level of interest,energy,ideas and possibility to a long term project that is need of all of the above. At the same time we are in the midst of a capacity building process looking to take npGreenway organizationally to the next level. While the students work will be completed in May, the organization needs to continue through the completion of the trail We look to take the students work and ours, and bring new members together to see this to completion. Everyone has differing skills,interests ,experiences and bandwidth. We need to learn to capture our supporters assets and bring npGreenway to a new place. Hopefully, some BikePortland readers share that same passion. Contact us through and let us start that conversation.

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