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 – firstname.lastname@example.org