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.
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.
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.
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