Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

State will likely fund Flanders Crossing of 405, spurring thousands of bike trips in NW

Posted by on June 15th, 2016 at 5:28 pm

flanders bridge span

The long-proposed span would connect downtown Portland and the Pearl District with the Northwest District.
(Photos: M. Andersen/BikePortland)

A new biking-walking bridge across Interstate 405 at Northwest Flanders has probably made the cut for funding, a state official said Wednesday.

The approximately 250-foot-long, 24-foot-wide bridge would become by far the most comfortable crossing of Interstate 405, an alternative to the existing crossings at Everett, Glisan and Couch. Paired with a proposed neighborhood greenway on Flanders from the Steel Bridge west to 24th Avenue, the span is expected to carry 9,100 trips per day.

That figure, which includes both biking and walking trips, is higher than the summertime bike counts across the Hawthorne Bridge and about five times the daily bike ridership so far on Tilikum Crossing.

X Section C-2

A possible cross-section for the 24-foot-wide bridge.
(Image: Portland Bureau of Transportation)

We wrote yesterday that the bridge would be an important connection for Biketown riders in part of the city that is about to become one of North America’s best-served neighborhoods for public bike sharing.

Barring unforseen events, construction of the new bridge could begin in April 2018 and finish by May 2019.

Final statewide committee scored bridge highly

pbotbridge2

The bridge would require new crossings of NW 16th and 15th avenues.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has pledged $3 million of its revenue from development fees for the crossing. It’s been looking to the state’s lottery-funded Connect Oregon program for the remaining $2.9 million.

In March, a committee of biking-walking experts from around the state ranked Flanders Crossing third of 22 such projects statewide. But in May, a Portland-area committee scored it more poorly, leaving its fate largely up to Connect Oregon’s final review committee, which met Tuesday to create a scoring of its own.

Oregon Department of Transportation staffer Scott Turnoy, the staffer managing Connect Oregon, said Wednesday that the final review committee had scored Flanders “in the top half” of projects and that it would likely make the cut for state funding.

Advertisement

“I was a bit surprised and very happy,” said Aaron Deas, a lobbyist for TriMet who represented transit interests on the final review committee, in a text message Wednesday. “What was surprising about the Flanders bridge was that there were no questions, even with the big price tag. But it did rank highly.”

The Oregon Transportation Commission must still make the final funding decision at its July 21 meeting. But barring an unexpected turn of events, that board is likely to defer to the Connect Oregon committee’s list.

Turnoy said he couldn’t release the final review committee’s full ranking yet and wouldn’t know until tomorrow when it’ll be made public. Also competing for funds are a fix for the Naito Gap in inner northwest Portland and trail segments in southwest Portland, Wilsonville, Milwaukie, Gresham and Tigard.

If it’s funded as expected by the Oregon Transportation Commission, Flanders Crossing will be Portland’s biggest payoff yet from a state law, unexpectedly won by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance in 2013, that made biking and walking projects eligible for the Connect Oregon program.

Project drew endorsements from many nearby employers

coming office space

A nearby billboard for a new real estate development.

City transportation spokesman Dylan Rivera called the apparent success of the bridge a “game-changing boost” for biking in northwest Portland, which has been rapidly adding both jobs and homes.

“Every week we read another report of a tech company moving to the downtown area saying bike lanes, food carts and public transit service are a key reason they can attract talented people.”
— Dylan Rivera, Portland Bureau of Transportation

“Every week we read another report of a tech company moving to the downtown area saying bike lanes, food carts and public transit service are a key reason they can attract talented people,” Rivera said. “We think that’s a testament to the investment Portland has made over the decades to bike access.”

To support its application to Connect Oregon, which has a mandate to invest in non-automotive projects that grow the state’s economy, the city transportation bureau gathered letters of support from nearby employers like Vestas, Gerding Edlen and Airbnb.

The city also had to overcome comments from state staffers, who observed that the city has a backlog of transportation projects funded by the state and Metro but not yet on the ground. Those comments prompted a response letter from Portland Transportation Director Leah Treat, who said the city would be able to start work promptly on Flanders Crossing.

“We’d like to thank the statewide bike-ped committee for their deep understanding of the importance of key active transportation investments in Portland that can benefit the entire state,” Rivera said Wednesday. “This is a testament to the strong business support for bicycling in Portland and the importance of bike access to grow our economy in the coming decades.”

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

Our work is supported by subscribers. Please become one today.

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

135
Leave a Reply

avatar
32 Comment threads
103 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
48 Comment authors
Eric LeifsdadDan ApaikialaTJlop Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
maccoinnich
Subscriber

I’m equally surprised and delighted.

Social Engineer
Guest
Social Engineer

The potential for this bridge to serve as an emergency lifeline route to Good Sam hospital in the event of a major quake cannot be overstated enough. This project deserves to get built on that merit alone.

Emily Guise (Contributor)
Subscriber

This is great news! Fingers crossed that the bridge makes the final list.

John Liu
Subscriber

Will the bridge be rated for vehicles?

gretchin
Subscriber
gretchin

fingers crossed!

Adam
Subscriber

Great news!

rick
Guest
rick

The first pedestrian / bike bridge over highway or busy Blvd in NW Portland? Put a cap on the 405 !

Champs
Guest
Champs

If they called it a “slam dunk” I’d watch out.

rick
Guest
rick

SW Park Way ends is a dead-end overpass and a quiet bike route.

andrew
Guest
andrew

Hopefully signals at 16th and 14th will be part of the project.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

14th, 16th, 18th, and 19th a must. Otherwise Flanders is a dead end at 18th. Even then it is a dead end at 19th.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

I am sticking to Glisen and Johnson anyway.

yashardonnay
Guest
yashardonnay

Let’s get “GO BY BIKE” sign on this bridge for those folks stuck in congestion 🙂

Mikier
Guest
Mikier

Timing is everything. When the new Sauvie Island bridge was built, the old center span was offered for this project.

Adam
Guest
Adam

Yes!!!

We live in the Pearl, but run many errands west of I-205 by bike – pet store, Fred Meyer, Dollar Tree etc, as well as needing to cross it to get to many of our recreation options – gym, Washington Park, Forest Park etc.

Glisan and Everett still make me nervous as an experienced cyclist. Flanders by foot or bike bridge would be phenomenal.

A diverter would definitely be needed to tame cut-through traffic that currently uses Flanders to get to downtown Pdx from the West Hills, Uptown Shopping Precinct, Trader Joe’s parking lot etc.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Fabulous! Just great. It’s fitting that this is getting built after the first attempt was perhaps the very first “bikelash” victim, something that then mayor-elect Sam Adams chose to drop like a hot potato after meeting minor resistance at City Council.

A minor note, PBOT would be well served by updating their architectural rendering of a person on a bike. Either that, or they’re signaling that PDX will be hosting a major bike race after the bridge is completed!

RF
Guest
RF

It’s a solution to a problem that should never of been allowed to happen. 405 should of been a tunnel. Now they’ll spend 3 million for a bridge?

ethan
Guest
ethan

Can we get a buy-one-get-one-free bridge deal and get a NE 7th Ave bridge too?

Eric
Guest
Eric

The stats in this article are misleading. There’s no reason to compare estimated biking + walking counts on the proposed bridge with biking counts on other bridges, as the comparison isn’t meaningful. (sentence in reference: That figure, which includes both biking and walking trips, is higher than the summertime bike counts across the Hawthorne Bridge and about five times the daily bike ridership so far on Tilikum Crossing)

TJ
Guest
TJ

I have lived and still work blocks from the crossing. I won’t say this isn’t great. But there is so much opportunity for close-in infrastructure that has long been ignored.

Frank Selker
Guest
Frank Selker

Maybe just me, but existing bridges seem fine and better aligned with direct routes (Everett and Glisan) without adding jogs that will have risks.
I’d rather see money spent on shoulders where lots of pedestrians and cyclists are too close to traffic, like Fairmount or Skyline.

Michelle Poyourow
Guest
Michelle Poyourow

Wow, this is such great news!

A lot of people have been working hard, for years, to conceive of and advocate for this bridge. Congratulations, and thank you, to them!

Ted Buehler
Guest

Congrats to all who worked hard to make this happen.

Including those who worked on the Sauvie => Flanders plan in 2008 or so…

Ted Buehler

Andy K
Guest
Andy K

Yes its a safety upgrade and an expansion of our current bike/ped network, but the “placemaking” potential for this project is off the charts.

oliver
Guest
oliver

If only we had an old bridge lying around somewhere we could use for this.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

And ODoT project designers…please consider adding a belvedere to the bridge (assist with ADA pens need for a resting place – who knows what 405 will look like in 2066?) and also consider adding space on the two ends for social space such as a food cart/ Breakfast on the Bridges and a repair stand…all these amenities may help with security in the off hours (CPTED: “eyes on the street”)…and add some public space back into this section of Slab Town-NW/ Pearl that would help mitigate for areas lost when 405 was built.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

This is going to be awesome. For several years I commuted daily across 405 on Everett, and had numerous conflicts with turning vehicles, not to mention a less-than-ideal trip down Everett through the Pearl. Sorry we couldn’t repurpose the old Sauvie bridge to do it, but glad this looks likely to happen.

And the depiction at the top of the thread looks like a covered bridge. How romantic! Better make sure to include some bumpouts in the middle so lovers can stop and kiss. 😉

jeff
Guest
jeff

how dare anyone be asked to travel 2 blocks out of their way to NW Glisan, right?

Mike D in the house
Guest
Mike D in the house

Great news — and a great victory for pedestrians and Oregon Walks.

A safe, direct connection between Flanders and the Waterfront/Steel Br across Naito is the other critical piece to this that folks are working hard to make happen, including PNCA, Old Town/Chinatown, and many many others.

BTW would love to see frmr Portlander Matt Groening’s Ned Flanders a part of greenway concept and design.

Bike Guy
Guest
Bike Guy

Burnside. Couch. Everett. Glisan. These are just some of the streets that come to mind that have bridges crossing 405. Perhaps it takes a little ingenuity to cross them on a bike or on foot, but I’ve been doing it for the last five years without major issues. I’m sure blowing a wad of cash on a bridge is just what we need.

Bike Guy
Guest
Bike Guy

Or go under at Johnson.

Mike Sanders
Guest
Mike Sanders

And this crossing could open the door for ped / bike connections to the west, NW, and SW. An alternate way to get to the zoo and Washington Park, connections to Beaverton, Banks, and the coast, and points south could be possible if the Flanders Bridge gets built. Let’s do this.