(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.