On Thursday the Metro Council unanimously adopted $30 million in grants for 12 transportation projects around the region. Portland won big by garnering $12.8 million of the total awarded. The funds will go toward five different projects — four of which ($10 million worth) are focused specifically on making it easier and safer to bike and walk.
Yesterday’s decision comes after a year of public feedback and analysis of dozens of projects that vied for the money. It’s part of Metro’s regional flexible funding process that happens every three years. Out of this pot of around $130 million, $33 was up for grabs in a suballocation that Metro decided to split 75/25 between “active transportation/complete streets” projects and freight projects respectively.
Although one of Portland’s projects was in the freight category, it also includes several elements that will improve biking and overall traffic safety.
Here are more details on the five projects (taken from PBOT project applications):
Brentwood-Darlington Safe Routes to School – $2.2 million ($6.6 total project cost)
PBOT says the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood has numerous sidewalk gaps and “substandard” bicycle facilities. This project will remedy that by building sidewalks on SE Duke and Flavel from 52nd to 82nd. It will also create a neighborhood greenway on SE Knapp and Ogden from
32nd 52nd to 87th. Of particular note is a major crossing upgrade of SE 82nd between Ogden and Knapp. PBOT will construct a multi-use path on the west side of 82nd. Also at Knapp/82nd, a traffic island will be placed in the center turn lane and there will be a rapid-flashing beacon. At the crossing of SE 52nd and Knapp there will be new curb extensions at the NW and SE corners and island-protected bike lanes at the NE and SW corners. (Note: This project was originally conceived with a multi-use path connecting 87th/Flavel to the Springwater Corridor. PBOT is working with Portland Parks to reinstate that element. The scope was changed prior to the final grant award decision.)
Cully Walking and Biking Parkway – $2.2 million ($5.9 million total project cost)
Several blocks east of the City’s first-ever cycle track on NE Cully Blvd, this project will build a new bikeway on one mile of NE 72nd “through the heart of the Cully neighborhood.” Here’s more from PBOT’s application: “It will help to break down historical barriers in the form of freeways and busy streets and create a major network connection that serves multiple neighborhoods that have been traditionally left out of active transportation infrastructure investments.” We can expect new sidewalks and crossing treatments the length of the corridor. On the bicycling side, this project will build a separated multi-use path parallel to the roadway from Killingsworth to Prescott. The middle section from Prescott to Sumner has sufficient right-of-way to construct separate pedestrian and bicycle facilities, so that section will feature a two-way raised bikeway with a 4-foot planting strip as a buffer from the roadway. South of Prescott (to Sandy) PBOT will use a neighborhood greenway treatment. (The project was initially concieved with a path the entire length, but the scope was changed prior to the grant award.) The project will also include new lighting, street trees and “place-making elements.”
Halsey Street Safety and Access to Transit – $2.4 million ($5.1 million total project cost)
The idea behind this project is to improve access to the very busy 82nd Ave MAX station and bus stops and improve safety along NE Halsey. On the Halsey overpass of I-84 PBOT will build a two-way protected bike lane and between 82nd and 92nd they’ll build a new 12-foot wide path separated by a planted buffer on the south side of Halsey (that will ultimately connect to the forthcoming undercrossing of the I-205 path at Gateway Green which is part of the Sullivan’s Gulch project). PBOT says the project will, “provide a dramatically improved user experience.”
Jade District and Montavilla Connected Centers – $3.2 million ($7.8 million total project cost)
This project includes eight key pieces of new infrastructure that will make biking and walking in the Jade District and in the Montavilla commercial district easier and safer. Highlights include a separated and protected bike lane on SE Washington from 72nd to I-205 that will include a 16-inch wide raised curb between the standard vehicle lane and the bike lane. To get the space for this PBOT will remove on-street auto parking on one side of the street. West of 76th, on a curved section where Washington becomes Thorburn, the new bike/walk path will replace an existing standard vehicle lane and be separated from other traffic by a jersey barrier (PBOT says this lane space reallocation can be done, “without significant traffic impact.”) In the Jade District, PBOT will improve several arterial crossings as well as add traffic calming and bikeway upgrades on SE 85th.
Project Elements (numbers refer to map):
1. Street, sidewalk and lighting on SE Clinton between 82nd Ave and 87th Ave.
2. Sidewalks on portions of SE 85th between Powell and Division to fill gaps of missing sidewalk. Add lighting at Division. Minor improvements to the 80’s Neighborhood Greenway on SE 85th Ave between Division and Powell to address segments exceeding recommended volumes or speed per the 2015 PBOT Neighborhood Greenway Guidelines.
3. (3 and 4, or 5) SE Woodward Neighborhood Greenway improvements from approximately 75th/78th to 85th Ave. Either improve the route along SE Tibbetts to SE Brooklyn (5) or SE Woodward to SE Brooklyn (3 and 4). Either includes a jog on 82nd Ave for roughly half a block with a two-way bike path combined with the sidewalk behind existing curb. Enhanced crossings of arterials, locations to be determined.
6. Add Separated Bike Lane with physical protection on SE Washington from 72nd to 92nd Ave/ I-205 multi-use path.
7. Reconfigure left turn movements from 82nd to the Stark/Washington couplet to reduce neighborhood cut-through traffic impacts on local streets.
8. Enhanced crossings of arterials, including SE Washington and Stark at 84th and 86th.
Central Eastside Access and Circulation Improvements – $2.8 million ($5.4 million total project cost)
While funded in the freight category, this project will also improve cycling on the central eastside. Of particular note is the repaving of SE Clay (a major east-west bike route to the Esplanade and Hawthorne Bridge) and a new traffic signal on Ankeny (a popular bike route) at the tricky intersection of SE 11th/Sandy. Here’s more from PBOT:
The project will improve freight access and circulation and reduce conflicts in the Central Eastside by adding new traffic signals and beacons, and modifying existing traffic signals, consistent with the adopted SE Quadrant Plan. New traffic signals will be added at 16th/Irving (serving the freeway ramp entrance), Ankeny/MLK, Ankeny/11th, Washington/Grand, Washington/MLK, and the Hawthorne ramp to MLK/Clay. Pedestrian hybrid beacons will be added at Salmon/Grand and Salmon/MLK. Signals will be modified to allow protected left turns from Stark to Grand, Washington to MLK, Clay to Grand, and Mill to MLK. The project also includes roadway reconstruction on SE Clay St from Water to Grand to improve freight operations.
This is a very exciting slate of projects and PBOT deserves major kudos for getting them all lined up. The focus on east Portland and areas with major safety and access needs means these projects just might entice a new segment of our population out onto the streets.
With local (city) funding through a mix of system development charges, gas tax money, and general transportation revenue, all of these projects are now fully funded. Keep in mind though, that the Metro (federal) portion won’t get paid out until 2019, although it’s possible construction could begin prior to that date. Stay tuned for more information on each project as they get closer to breaking ground.