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City releases $8 million list of Safe Routes to School projects

Posted by on June 6th, 2018 at 4:18 pm

Projects in all 11 school clusters in Portland. See the interactive map here.

In what they’re calling a “major milestone,” and for the first time since the program began in 2006, the City of Portland has identified and published a list of Safe Routes to School projects that are funded and queued up for construction.

A neighborhood walk in north Portland organized by Oregon Walks helped PBOT gather local knowledge about what projects to fund.
(Photo: Oregon Walks)

With $8 million from the Fixing Our Streets program (funded by a local gas tax and a heavy vehicle use tax), PBOT will start building 88 projects this summer aimed at making it easier for people to access schools. The projects — whittled down from a list of over 1,200 — will be built around schools throughout the city, from Sitton Elementary in St. Johns to Patrick Lynch Elementary on our eastern border with Gresham.

PBOT worked with school communities and an advisory committee in a year-long public outreach process to find “priority investment routes” leading to every one of the over 100 public elementary, K-8 and middle school campuses in the city. Criteria that helped projects score higher included equity, safety impact, and student/route density. For the hundreds of other projects that didn’t make the first phase construction list, PBOT will identify other city, regional, state, and federal funds to build them. The recently passed, $5.3 billion statewide transportation package passed last year includes $10 million per year for Safe Routes projects and rules for spending those funds are currently in draft form.

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During public outreach PBOT says the top concern they heard was unsafe crossings. Missing sidewalks and traffic speed were also cited as major concerns. A PBOT website that includes the interactive map of all the projects says, “Students and families consistently said they prefer not to walk more than one or two blocks out of their way to use a better route or crossing.”

The online map lists projects by the 11 school “clusters”.

Check out the map that lists both funded and unfunded projects here.

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

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. 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

  • matchupancakes June 6, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    I have not been able to access the map within the article itself from either Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome. Has anyone else had success?

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    • Bella Bici June 6, 2018 at 6:49 pm

      Looks good to me! Using Firefox 60.0.1 on Fedora linux. (w/uMatrix, of course)

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  • Stephan June 6, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    This is a great start! Now we only need 13 years of tackling 90 projects every year to get through all 1,200 projects … That just shows the scope of the problem.

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  • David Hampsten June 6, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    I can access the city website for all 1.200 projects, but how do you find the map of what has been funded with the first $8 million? The projects just in David Douglas will eat up $8 million in just a small corner of it.

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    • Momo June 7, 2018 at 7:06 am

      Funded dots are highlighted, whereas unfunded are faded in the background.

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    • John Liu June 7, 2018 at 7:24 am

      It looks like the solid green dots are projects funded by Fixing our Streets (FOS). The shaded dots are projects funded from other sources. The outlined dots are unfunded.

      In David Douglas cluster, there appear to be 4 or 5 projects funded by FOS, and 10-15 (just eyeballed, didn’t count carefully) projects funded by other sources.

      I haven’t found an actual list in tabular or Excel form.

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      • David Hampsten June 8, 2018 at 9:15 am

        Momo & John Liu, thank you, that’s very helpful. Apparently if you are using the citywide map and click on a district, you can get the overall number of project and projected costs (David Douglas has 189 projects for $61.8 million.)

        It is odd the Jonathan should have a headline about “releasing a list” when the list has not in fact been released, nor is it available yet even on the PBOT website.

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  • m June 7, 2018 at 9:42 am

    “How did you decide which projects to build first? SAC members chose to use the following values: 60% Equity, 30% Safety, 10% Student Route Density”

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  • m June 7, 2018 at 9:46 am

    “How did you decide which projects to build first? SAC members chose to use the following values: 60% Equity, 30% Safety, 10% Student/route density”

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  • Eric Leifsdad June 7, 2018 at 10:52 am

    If we can only fund such a small fraction of projects, maybe the projects are the wrong solution. Most of the ones I’ve looked at in southwest are sidewalks on Local Service streets (designated in our Transportation Systems Plan to carry local traffic.) A neighborhood worth of diverters would eliminate most of the traffic for the cost of 1 block of sidewalks — while kids are more likely to be killed at intersections… with cars. Cars are the problem and sidewalks only move people “out of the way” for more and faster cars, which we clearly cannot afford.

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    • John June 7, 2018 at 11:28 am

      But adding a diverter is still a project

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  • I wear many hats June 7, 2018 at 11:18 am

    8 million out of 600 million identified. I wouldn’t even bet that our grandchildren will have safe routes to ride on. Ironically, PPS stated position does not utilize any SW trails ROW trails that keeps kids off the streets (even when sidewalks are nonexistent).

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    • Kate June 7, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      I think that’s because any ‘designated safe route’ by the school or City has to be ADA accessible and the SW trails are not. In practicality, they do seem to be an important and vital backbone for walking routes to school for able-bodied kids.

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      • I wear many hats June 8, 2018 at 10:02 am

        So directing kids to walk in traffic is safe?

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        • Kate June 8, 2018 at 10:45 am

          Yes. That is clearly what i meant. Or it could be why SW projects are mostly about building sidewalks

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  • Mike Shear September 25, 2018 at 8:46 am

    What’s going on with Brentwood Darlington? I see a bunch of progress in Lents but not one thing has been done west of 82nd. Brentwood has some of the most unsafe roads in Portland .

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