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Public strongly favors greenway route on NE 7th, PBOT report finds

PBOT concept drawing of potential design for a neighborhood greenway on NE 7th.

It now appears even more likely that the Portland Bureau of Transportation will develop a new neighborhood greenway route on NE 7th between I-84 and the Woodlawn neighborhood.

As we reported at the end of February, PBOT launched the public process phase of the project with an open house. Now they’ve released a report based on the feedback from that event and an online survey for the project.

The big question with this project is whether to create a cycling priority street on NE 9th or 7th. From a planning and cycling perspective, 7th is considered the better choice because it’s flatter, more direct, and it connects to the existing network. However, 7th also has a higher volume of drivers than 9th and there are fears among some that if people are prevented from using it in their cars, they’ll drive on adjacent neighborhood streets.

Perhaps fearful of yet another controversy surrounding diversion and cut-through traffic, PBOT is being extremely transparent with this project. They’ve published an 11-page Summary Report and a 35-page appendix with every one of the 300 or so pieces of public feedback they’ve received thus far.

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The biggest takeway?

The vast majority of participants were very supportive of building the Neighborhood Greenway on NE 7th with additional monitoring and mitigation of traffic in the area. Supporters for the NE 7th alignment mentioned that it’s a direct connection to Lloyd District, the planned Sullivans Crossing I-84 pedestrian bridge, and other destinations, and addresses traffic issues on NE 7th, i.e. reduces cut-through traffic and speeding drivers.

PBOT heard some support for making the greenway on 9th, but it was “mixed.” Because 9th is so much more quiet and has lower traffic volume, there’s a chance we could end up with something similar to the N Williams Avenue/N Rodney situation. On that project, many people preferred Rodney because it’s quieter and feels safer. In the end, PBOT ended up making Williams the main bikeway route and adding greenway elements to Rodney (like sharrows, fewer stop signs, speed bumps, and diverters).

PBOT says they still haven’t selected a project alignment. “The project team will continue to develop and share design options,” stated project manager Nick Falbo in a recent statement. “The team will bring these more detailed design options to the community for additional discussion and considerations.”

Check the Lloyd to Woodlawn Neighborhood Greenway project page for more details and to stay updated.

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

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