While the fact that the Oregon Department of Transportation wants to widen I-5 through our central city gets most of the attention (reasonably so), an estimated half of the project’s $500 million price tag will be spent on surface streets and non-freeway infrastructure.
If the I-5 Rose Quarter project ever gets built, what does ODOT and the Portland Bureau of Transportation have in mind for people who use this area on foot, on bikes, and other low-impact mobility devices? What can we do as a community to make sure that if we make a big investment in the Rose Quarter, we get the most possible bang for our buck? What can you do to influence this project?
If you have questions, are maybe feeling a bit overwhelmed by ODOT’s environmental assessment (EA) documents, and want to learn more about where things stand on this mega-project, we’d like to invite you to a special Wonk Night next week.
Join us this Wednesday (3/6) at 6:00pm in the offices of Lancaster Engineering (321 SW 4th Avenue, 4th Floor). We’ll have Q & As with smart people, break into groups and delve more deeply into the EA, learn from each others perspectives, and ultimately — set ourselves up to have a strong influence on the project.
On Wednesday night we’ll be joined by leaders from the community including volunteers from Bike Loud PDX, engineers and planners from Lancaster Engineering (our host), reps from No More Freeways PDX, Planning & Sustainability Commissioner Chris Smith, City Observatory economist and writer Joe Cortright, Iain MacKenzie from Next Portland, and others.
Everyone is welcome (agency staff too!). The goal of the event is to connect with each other, raise awareness about the project, and help us all make well-informed comments about the EA. And you’ll note that our event is the night before ODOT’s big public open house on the project (that was no accident).
In conclusion, I’ll leave you with comments about the project made by PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly earlier this month:
“We are prioritizing public engagement because this project is one of the most significant transportation efforts in recent years. It will have an enormous impact on how people from across the region and even across the state travel to, through, and around Portland. I want to ensure that this project reflects our values, particularly our commitment to equity, sustainability, and safety.
ODOT and other state transportation leaders need to hear that the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project must do more than make it easier to merge on highways in the Rose Quarter. Consistent with Central City 2035 (adopted by City Council in May 2018), a project that focuses exclusively on the comfort of highway drivers is unacceptable. This is why the City partnered with ODOT to ensure that this venture prioritizes the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. It should make it dramatically easier and safer for people walking, biking, taking transit, and driving in the Rose Quarter.”
Bring your questions, some snacks and some drinks to share (we’re trying to roust some donations but not sure if anything will come through in time), and please consider joining us.
Wonk Night: I-5 Rose Quarter project
Wednesday, March 6th, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
Lancaster Engineering – 321 SW 4th Avenue, 4th Floor)
(If you’ve never been to a Wonk Night, read the recaps below to get a sense of how they go.)
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