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City applies for funding of Flanders bikeway bridge, 70s Bikeway, and more

Posted by on November 13th, 2015 at 2:15 pm


The Red Electric Trail, a dream for southwest neighborhood activists, could get over $600,000 in funding if a city grant request comes through.

City Council voted 5-0 yesterday to authorize grant applications for five major bikeway projects. The $9 million in grant requests would help the Bureau of Transportation fund a host of key projects, some of which have languished on lists and in the hearts of advocates for many years.

PBOT is applying for the funding through two Oregon Department of Transportation sources: The lottery-funded Connect Oregon prgogram and the “Enhance” pot of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). Within ODOT, these are rare pots of money that can fund projects not on the highway right-of-way (in Oregon, gas tax funds are constitutionally required to be spend on “highways”).

PBOT is requesting $6.96 million from Connect Oregon, which will dole out $42 million total statewide, and $5.5 million from STIP Enhance, a program with $30 million available statewide. Both of these programs require substantial “local match” dollars (30% and 10.3% of total project cost respectively) and PBOT has worked with Portland Parks & Recreation to use System Development Charges to come up with most of it.

Here are the projects, descriptions (from PBOT) and requested amounts (Note: These are grant request amounts, not total project cost amounts.):

    I-205 Path to Gateway Green Connector/HOP Neighborhood Greenway – Build a ped/bike undercrossing of I-205 as well as greenway and crossing improvements and provide connections to the I-205 Multi-Use Path and Gateway Green. $3,000,000

    SE 70s Neighborhood Greenway – Develop a critical neighborhood bikeway along the SE 70s corridor between NE Sacamento and SE Flavel and create an over five mile parallel facility to 82nd Ave. $2,500,000

    Flanders City Greenway – Build an active transportation bridge over I-405 and other improvements to provide a much needed east-west walking and bicycling route connecing the dense NW neighborhoods to the Waterfront and Steel bridge, while also relieving congestion on parallel arterial streets and improving vehicle access to and from the interstate freeway system. $2,500,000

    Naito Crossing – Improve the safety of a Naito Parkway Crossing, providing a major central city connection between Flanders to the Steel Bridge and Waterfront Park. $500,000

    Red Electric Trail – This project will complete a section of the regionally significant Red Electric Trail and will provide connections to several schools, parks, libraries, community centers, and natural areas. $609,000

    [The city is also applying for $3.35 million to purchase three new streetcar vehicles from the City of Seattle.]

Four of these projects should look very familiar to many of you. The I-205 undercrossing project is the easternmost segment of the long lost Sullivan’s Gulch project. The “Flanders City Greenway” was first promised to bike advocates over a decade ago. It was resurrected by former Mayor Sam Adams when he tried to re-use the old Sauvie Island Bridge, only to have his plan fall victim to a heated mayoral race. The “Naito Crossing” is none other than the Naito Gap that we’ve reported on many times over the years. And the Red Electric Trail has been a dream of southwest neighborhood advocates for as long as I can remember.

Keep in mind these projects don’t make it onto the list unless they have a good chance at getting funded. At Council yesterday PBOT’s Mark Lear said bluntly, “We want to win.”

Council members were supportive of all the project in their unanimous vote. The only questions Lear fielded came from Commissioner Dan Saltzman who asked about the total cost of the Flanders bikeway bridge (which is estimated to be about $5-7 million). Before her yes vote, Commissioner Amanda Fritz said, “Like Commissioner Saltzman, I’m concerned about the high cost of the Flanders Street Greenway but I recognize that’s a decision that’s been made by the commissioner of transportation.”

This is the first step in what will be a year-long process. Stay tuned for more details about each project and opportunities to weigh in.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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  • Gary B November 13, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    This is incredibly exciting. Fingers crossed.

    JM: are you sure the Naito project is the same as the one you linked to? It’s described here as a Naito crossing (helping Flanders to the Steel). The linked article is about connecting the bike lanes on Naito (not crossing it). Although I can’t access the old project map, and don’t have the current grant application.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 13, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      Hi Gary,

      Fixing the gap between Flanders and the Steel is essentially the Naito Gap. There have been so many projects described and tried for around that general area that it’s hard to keep track of them all! Hopefully this grant comes through and we can make this happen once and for all. Stay tuned next week when I’ll share more details about each project.

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    • Beeblebrox November 13, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      This project would do both. It would add a ped/bike crossing just south of the tracks, fix the Naito bike lanes gap, and would also add new railroad crossing safety features.

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      • Gary B November 16, 2015 at 9:07 am

        I see. Thanks!

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  • chris November 13, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Fantastic news. Conversion of Flanders to a greenway with a bike/ped bridge over 405 is one of the top 3 items on my bike infrastructure wish list, the others being a 7th/8th Ave bike/ped bridge over 84 and a north/south bikeway downtown.

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  • Jake November 13, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Wow, these are all fantastic projects. I would especially love Red Electric to become a reality, but any number of them would be superb.

    I generally like the Everett bike lane but once you’re on the overpass it gets fairly dodgy. Having a dedicated bridge (and making Flanders a bit more accommodating once you’re across it) would be really great. It’d also make a left-hand bike lane restripe of NW Glisan quite logical/convenient, which IIRC was rumored to be in the cards at one point. I suppose maybe they would want to improve the NW Flanders greenway and rely on that as the westbound connection.

    Anyway, hoping for the best!

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    • soren November 13, 2015 at 3:07 pm

      You like the buffered Everett bike lane? You should check out Bike Portland comments for entertainment:


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      • chris November 13, 2015 at 4:52 pm

        I’m a fairly fast and assertive cyclist, but the Everett bike lane seriously freaks me out to ride on.

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    • lop November 13, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      > improve the NW Flanders greenway

      Hopefully they’ll daylight intersections/build ped bulbouts at the minor streets west of 405 (17,20,22) in addition to any work they do to make it easy for cyclists on Flanders to cross the more heavily trafficked streets (18,19,21,23). When I walk down those minor streets Flanders is an easy street to cross. It would be nice if it could stay that way.

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  • Todd Hudson November 13, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    “I-205 Path to Gateway Green Connector/HOP Neighborhood Greenway”

    Yes, this. The connection to that area requires going up Glisan (no bike lanes) or SE Burnside (and the 205-MUP on that stretch is awful) to get to Gateway – neither of which are pleasant routes.

    Potentially, this would connect Gateway Green to Rocky Butte too.

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  • Adam Herstein
    Adam Herstein November 13, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Great news! Looking forward to seeing these projects on the ground!

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  • Gutter Bunny Bikes November 13, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Definitely would be good to get the 205 path all straightened out around Gateway. You think the Clinton to Tilikum is bad…it’s a walk in the park compared to the 205/Gateway path (if you can even really call it that).

    Which 70’s path? There have been a couple different ones floating around over the years, I assume the one in the 30 year plan?

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  • oliver November 13, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    “Active transportation bridge over I-405”

    If only we had one of these things laying around that we no longer needed.

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  • Buzz November 13, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Pretty sad that they have to justify the Flanders Street project by citing ‘improving vehicle access to and from the interstate freeway system’.

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  • wsbob November 14, 2015 at 12:22 am

    I’m looking forward to this Red Electric Trail spoken of, though I’ve not been able to get a good idea of what it’s route would be, east of Oleson Rd. There’s that trail…I guess, a section of the Fanno Creek Trail that runs from Western Ave, east to Oleson. Not fast, but is nice. A continuation of that trail, east to Hillsdale would be excellent.

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  • davemess November 14, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Good work on the 70’s bikeway Terry! Your work coming to fruition!

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    • Terry D-M November 14, 2015 at 11:25 pm

      Thanks, the unanimous endorsement letters are adding up as well! I’m confident it will get funded.

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson November 15, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    A word on the Streetcars PBOT hopes to buy. Seattle is selling these three at a good discount as their system is going to a partially wireless/battery operation, requiring new specially outfitted cars. With additional cars, Portland Streetcar can improve frequency to every 12 minutes and/or be ready to extend the line south toward the Sellwood Bridge or into the new Conway development in NW. Its too good a deal to pass up!

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  • slug November 16, 2015 at 8:43 am

    Does anyone know where the 70s bikeway will run? This is the change I’ve been waiting for to finally start bike commuting again 🙂

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    • David Sweet November 16, 2015 at 5:11 pm

      The more northerly portion of the 70’s greenway Is included in an earlier STIP grant. It is planned to run north from Sandy on 67th, then 68th for a bit and then 70th to Emerson. The City applied for that one in 2012 and construction should be completed sometime in 2018. That’s a typical timeframe for these projects, so don’t hold your breath. I imagine that the grant application has a proposed route, but the final design and engineering won’t happen for a number of years yet.

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  • slug November 17, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Thanks David!

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  • Bc November 22, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Does anyone know what the cost difference is between the new Flanders bridge proposal and the proposed repurposing of the old Sauvie Island bridge? In other words, how much money would have been saved if Adams’s proposal had been adopted then?

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