PBOT unveils project ideas for North Portland in Motion plan

One of the proposed projects would build a new path on this stretch of Columbia Blvd to connect the Peninsula Crossing Trail to the Columbia Slough. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)
Plan map

The big reveal is here!

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has spent the last 16 months learning about the needs and nuances of our city’s northern peninsula and they just released a list of projects they’d like to build in order to make it nicer for biking, walking, and taking transit.

North Portland in Motion is a planning process that launched in April 2021. After doing a bunch of outreach, PBOT said in a statement today that, “We have consistently heard that North Portlanders would like to see an emphasis on safer speeds, crossings and biking options for community members of all ages.”

Also today, they launched an online open house that shares 38 different projects to accomplish those goals. The projects are broken into four categories: Corridor Improvements, Critical Connections, Neighborhood Greenways, Public Spaces and Mobility Hubs. There’s a map (below) where you can click and learn about each one.

There are several very exciting projects on the list. Imagine if we got:

  • new bike lanes on N Willamette Blvd from the railroad cut to downtown St. Johns;
  • a new north-south neighborhood greenway on N Montana between Alberta and Rosa Parks Way (as an alternative to Interstate Ave);
  • new bike lanes on N Interstate between Killingsworth and Lombard;
  • traffic calming and safer crossings on N Portsmouth between Willamette and Columbia;
  • or a new path along Columbia to (finally!) connect the end of the Peninsula Crossing Trail.

And beyond traditional infrastructure projects, they’ve also included six potential plaza and “mobility hub” locations:

  • Downtown St. Johns Plaza
  • Charleston Street Plaza
  • New Columbia Mobility Hub
  • University of Portland Mobility Hub
  • Downtown Kenton Mobility Hub
  • Arbor Lodge Park Plaza
Slide from PBOT open house.

It’s all possible with this plan. Of course, there won’t be any money directly tied to NPIM; but PBOT has a track record of spending money (as it becomes available) as directed by these “In Motion” plans (*See exciting update below. There is money!). The adoption of a plan like this also helps create the political urgency required for funding to appear — so it’s a positive feedback loop all around.

*UPDATE, 12:20 pm: Turns out, PBOT actually does already have money lined up for this. So far they’ve set aside $500,000 from the Fixing Our Streets (gas tax) program, $100,000 from their Pedestrian Network funding program, and $80,000 from the Missing Links program. That’s $680,000 to jumpstart NPIM. PBOT tells me they plan to spend this money in the first two years after the plan is adopted.

How do we tell PBOT which ones to build first? Visit the online open house and make your priorities and insights known.

PBOT will take this feedback, mesh it with their other core values (like equity, feasibility, and so on), run it all up the political flagpole and come up with a “Top Tier” project list later this fall.

According to their latest timeline, they’ll continue to refine the project list and find funding sources from fall through spring of 2023 and then get the plan passed by council that summer.

If it all goes according to plan, I bet we could see some of the best projects in NPIM get installed early next summer. So get to that open house and help make it happen. The open house closes September 30th.

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nic.cota
1 month ago

As the Overlook liaison on the community advisory group, I’m a huge proponent of (and obviously a little partial to):

Ainsworth
-one of the highest ridership streets already in Portland and I led a pedalpalooza ride about it!

Montana
-low-stress access to groceries for the rapidly densifying Interstate Corridor

Interstate
The biggest hurdle was the hill going up from Greeley, but I see this less of a barrier for some bikers as we see more ebikes in the mix. The interstate corridor really can be the gateway to North Portland and provides direct access to the many businesses. Why there’s still a gap in the corridor and its 2022 is insane.

My big hope is that these Overlook/Arbor Lodge projects get implemented sooner rather than later as the friction to implement them with increasing demand for on-street parking and vehicle access is only getting higher with this massive wave of pending development in the interstate corridor. We need more housing close to transit, but we also need safe, accessible streets for all ages and abilities to bike in these areas to really let new residents live car-free. Overlook/Arbor Lodge/Kenton really is ripe for all of that.

Also if anyone has the time, NoPIM folks at PBOT will be at Movies in the Park at Overlook Park tonight, probably around 6:30-7:30. I think they’d love to hear from folks!

maxD
maxD
1 month ago
Reply to  nic.cota

I agree that the gaps on Interstate are hugely dangerous. Also, thanks for your contributions and advocacy. Unfortunately, PBOT did not take a very holistic approach to this plan. Having a safe and direct network with the portion of North Portland they considered is valuable, but that value is limited without robust connection outside of North Portland. The biggest limiting factor to safe cycling for me, as a resident of North Portland, is the lack of safe, direct connections to other parts of town. The most direct way to access SW, SE, and NW Portland is down Interstate or Williams. each route has gaps that make them useless for anyone except a fearless, experienced rider. Connecting to NE should be easy, but I-5 presents major barrier. Skidmore is an obvious connection, but this study neglects to include the section with the gap in the lanes, from Michigan to Vancouver. This also neglects to make recommendations for improving transportation to the major job centers and recreational destinations on Swan Island and north of Columbia Boulevard. I agree that crosswalks could be safer, and a few bike routes could be improved, but it appears that this plan sidesteps all of the actual pressing transportation issues in North Portland

JG
JG
29 days ago
Reply to  maxD

I agree with much of this, but unfortunately, the major issues you bring up do not fall within the geographic area considered by this plan. Considering North/NE/SE Portland as individual units is going to make it hard to address the lack of safe, direct connections.

Fred
Fred
29 days ago
Reply to  maxD

Also no one from PBOT has ever ridden a bike, so there’s no reason for them to know what it’s like to actually cycle here.

cc_rider
cc_rider
1 month ago

I’m glad that PBOT spent all that time and money to figure out that people want better transit, safer crossings, and traffic calming. Literally no possible way to know that without spending tons of money!

I for one am I excited to see the paint deployment in the neighborhood! Lets Make NoPo ‘Sharrow City, USA’!

Mark in NoPo
Mark in NoPo
1 month ago
Reply to  cc_rider

Cynicism achieves nothing.

cc_rider
cc_rider
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark in NoPo

I’d argue that the pedestrian and bike communities acceptance and support of performative outreach like this and the mediocre/unsafe projects that will result from this has achieved a higher death rate on our streets.

As long as PBOT prioritizes commuter speeds through my neigborhood, nothing will improve. Who cares about ‘greenways’ when PBOT refuses to implement traffic calming on them? Who cares about bike lanes when PBOT refuses to lay down more than paint?

It’s all performative nonsense. Do you think they needed the community to know that N Smith was dangerous? What about “learning” the connection for the PCT to the Slough trail sucked?

We pay a lot of money to get experts. Pointless “outreach” to the community is just to make us feel heard before they ignore actual problems.

maxD
maxD
1 month ago
Reply to  cc_rider

cc_rider- Agreed. Its kind of a bummer to waste the PBOT resources and the community resources on a plan that confirms widely known issues, ignores the most galring issues, and will most likely be ignored anyway.

cc_rider
cc_rider
1 month ago
Reply to  maxD

This has literally been done before. For example, during work for the city’s 2019 Citywide Pedestrian Plan, the city found that “Lack of safe crossings” was the number one barrier to walking for NoPo residents while ‘missing sidewalks’ and ‘driving too fast’ were second and third.

Amazingly, PBOT paid money to find out that their unmarked crosswalks were still terriying to cross, their roads without sidewalks still don’t have sidewalks, and that drivers still drive too fast. Wow!

Don’t get me started on the bike stuff. The 2030 bike plan that is molding on their shelves was full of good stuff for NoPo that CoP never built.

PBOT has dozens of project residents of NoPo have already given feedback on and said they wanted that they haven’t done. There is absolutely no reason to have these regional plans. PBOT knows what roads are dangerous. They know what bike lanes are uncomfortable.

Fix the roads. Stop wasting our money on this performative nonsense.

soren
soren
1 month ago
Reply to  cc_rider

Unfortunately, PBOT’s outreach sometimes transcends pointlessness by unintentionally(?) sabotaging any chance of community support for active transportation infrastructure.

Fred
Fred
29 days ago
Reply to  cc_rider

“Performative outreach” – you nailed it, cc! That’s the best description I’ve yet read of so-called cycling advocacy efforts in Portland.

Lysdestic
Lysdestic
1 month ago

This is exciting stuff! I’ll be moving soon, and while I’ve enjoyed an easy bike commute from where I’m at in Portland currently (begins along Willamette) I’ve been skeeved about the journey from my new place (North of Columbia, near George Middle School) to the known and relatively calm commute I already do along Willamette.

While none of this directly eases the stretch of Marcum crossing Columbia/Columbia Way/Fessenden that I’m concerned about in particular, just the fact that the city is actively working to improve the area gives me hope.

maxD
maxD
1 month ago

Why are Swan Island, all of the major industrial, commercial and recreational destinations north of Columbia Blvd, and all of the North Portland street between N Missiouri and N Vancouver excluded? These areas are critical to transportation in North Portland.

Fred
Fred
29 days ago
Reply to  maxD

I agree, maxD. Whenever I cycle on Swan Island, it’s a white-knuckle ride – a crazy dance with huge trucks and speeding cars with impatient commuters.

maxD
maxD
29 days ago
Reply to  Fred

It is crazy to me that this was excluded form the NPIM planning!

Steve
Steve
1 month ago

Without a doubt, extending bike lanes from the rail cut to St Johns should be priority 1.

Peter
Peter
1 month ago

I’m very interested in prioritizing the following projects which would improve the peninsula crossing trail. The multi-use path has so much potential, but it needs to be realized with much better street crossings

The following projects will improve the PCT connections:
CC.1 N Columbia Blvd ( Critical Connection)
CC.2 N Fessenden St (Critical Connection)
CC.3 N Lombard St (Critical Connection)
NG.5 N Princeton St (Neighborhood Greenway)

Mark Linehan
Mark Linehan
29 days ago

What’s missing from the proposals is a bike crossover I-5 closer to Kenton than the Bryant Street crossing.

Fred
Fred
29 days ago

How surprising to see cycling improvements planned for a part of Portland that is NOT Southwest.

Oh yeah – we got the game-changing Red Electric Bridge, identified on Google Maps as a “hiking area.”

qqq
qqq
29 days ago
Reply to  Fred
Darren W Jackson
Darren W Jackson
29 days ago

Seems with the deteriation of Portland, from lack of existing infrastructure maintenence to needs of those living on our pedestrian or vehicular pathways, this kind of addition and expenditure could be seen as untimely. Makes me think of the homeowner that needs a new roof but chooses to remodel the kitchen.