Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 23rd, 2021 at 9:31 am
Many of you recall the big hullabaloo last December as advocates debated and lobbied the Oregon Transportation Commission around the passage of ODOT’s $2.1 billion Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP). When the dust finally settled on the 2024-2027 STIP commissioners approved a record $255 million for the Public and Active Transportation Program (formerly “Non-Highway) funding pot.
While not as much as advocates pushed for, the $255 million is 60% higher than the non-highway funding level in the current STIP. And $55 million of that total was set-aside for cycling and walking projects.
Now it’s time to tell ODOT what to spend that money on.
This past spring and summer ODOT staff analyzed safety and crash data and worked with regional advisory committees to come up with a list of candidate projects to build via the new Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategic Funding Program. The list was further refined by using a tool developed by ODOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Program called the Active Transportation Needs Inventory (ATNI). The ATNI helps establish project priority by taking into account factors (below) including Census demographic data, safety risks, existing conditions (Safe Routes to School needs, connectivity gaps, shoulder width, sidewalk quality), and so on.
The type of projects that local agencies can spend this state funding on include: sidewalks, protected or buffered bike lanes, crosswalks, multiuse paths (as long as they parallel an ODOT highway), and lighting.
The current list is a 150% list which is ODOT’s way of saying they still need to cut many projects before a final, 100% list can be adopted by the OTC. That’s where you can influence this process. At ODOT’s online open house, you can zoom into your city/region to find out which projects are under consideration. In the Portland area, three major projects are currently on the list:
Lombard St (US 30BY) Ped/Bike Improvements: Evaluate ability to reconfigure/restripe lanes to improve safety and add bike lanes (Delaware to Denver). Evaluate locations for improved crossings (Mississippi, Rodney).
82nd Ave Jurisdictional Transfer: Fund a portion of the cost to of ped/bike and safety improvements needed to transfer ownership of 82nd Ave from ODOT to City of Portland.
Barbur Blvd (OR 99W) Ped/Bike Improvements: Fill sidewalk gaps, fill bike lane gaps and stripe bike lane buffer, improve crossings. Locations to be determined.
There’s also a safe routes to school project on Hall Blvd in Tigard and bike/ped improvements to McLaughlin Blvd (Hwy 99E) in the Gladstone/Oregon City area on the list. Keep in mind these projects are competing with dozens of others statewide, so you can bet there will be advocates and interest groups lobbying hard for money to come to their communities.
On the survey you can let ODOT know how much you support each project. The open house is open October 31st. Go check it out and don’t miss this opportunity to influence ODOT.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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