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New carfree ‘Reedway’ bridge over railyard and McLoughlin makes city priority list


Images from Reedway.org.

Six neighborhood associations in southeast Portland have come together to lobby for construction of a new bridge that would close a glaring gap between Sellwood and Westmoreland near Reed College.

The Reedway Overcrossing would rise up from SE Reedway Street at 23rd, go over the Brooklyn Railyard and McLoughlin Blvd (Hwy 99E) and then connect to 26th. The location of this bridge would be about 1.5 miles south of the Gideon Street – Brooklyn overcrossing TriMet plans to complete by mid-2019.

And there’s good news: the City of Portland has placed the project on their Transportation System Development Charge (TSDC) priority list. Given the rapid pace of development in adjacent neighborhoods (an estimated 1,200 residential units are in the development pipeline), the TSDC program is slated to fund 100 percent of the estimated $5 million to complete the bridge.

Nearby residents can’t wait.

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Map from neighborhood advocates cleverly shows the existing gap.

Back in March, five neighborhood associations and Southeast Uplift (the neighborhood coalition group) sent a letter to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and PBOT Commissioner Dan Saltzman. They wrote that the bridge would, “solve one of the worst connectivity problems in the entire city.” Currently there’s a 1.1 mile gap in crossings over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks between SE Holgate and Bybee boulevards. This is despite what the letter pointed out as, “a plentitude of destinations in the area including Reed College, Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, hundreds of family wage jobs in the Brooklyn Industrial Area and thousands of homes and apartments in the Westmoreland, Brooklyn, Reed and Eastmoreland neighborhoods.”

“This poor connectivity results in lengthy, out-of-direction travel and encourages driving instead of walking and biking,” the letter continues. “For example, a resident of the new apartment building at 22nd & Reedway would have to travel 1.7 miles to reach a job at industrial employer Wayne-Dalton on 26th Avenue. With a Reedway Ped/Bike Bridge, that person could walk a quarter mile to work.”

With construction green-lighted for the new bridge at Gideon as well as a new carfree bridge at NE 7th over I-84 and at NW Flanders over I-405, neighbors say it’s “only a matter of fairness” to move ahead with the Reedway project too.

The project is currently on the 1-10 year TSDC priority list. Neighborhood groups are encouraging their members to testify in support of this project when Council acts to adopt an update of the TSDC list on September 13th.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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