The Portland Bureau of Transportation says pushback from local residents on their 70s Neighborhood Greenway plan have put a key element of the project on hold.
The five mile, $4.5 million project is fully funded and construction of some elements has already begun.
One piece of this project many bicycle riders are looking forward to is the conversion of a two-way road through Rose City Park Golf Course between NE Tillamook and NE Sacramento into a one-way only for car users. This would mean bicycle riders and pedestrians would have half the road width to roll freely and much more safely without being disturbed by drivers. The design was planned by PBOT as a way to improve safety on the neighborhood greenways. Greenways by definition are “family-friendly, low stress” streets where bicycle riders and walkers are prioritized.
Earlier this month however, we shared news that some Roseway Neighborhood residents are very opposed to the idea. They felt it was unfair to have to drive a longer distance. One person encouraged others to try and sabotage a PBOT traffic counter to make it seem like this stretch of 72nd had more car traffic than it actually does. Their thinking was that if PBOT saw a high car volume number, they’d scrap the plan.
The local media even picked up on the opposition. Local resident (and noted ant-bike advocate) Terry Parker told KATU News that, “People are going to have to go around the golf course, cut through more residential areas, or go down to 82nd, which is already somewhat congested, and they’ll be going into school zones.”
But despite this, we got word that PBOT pressed on and decided to enact their plan. After all, traffic counts and greenway policies are in their favor, as data collected in May shows that only 831 people per day drive cars northbound on 72nd — and 65% of the drivers were exceeding the speed limit.
So when I heard PBOT had already mailed postcards to residents around the golf course announcing the project was on its way, I put the story out of my mind. Then something changed. Now the project is on hold.
A reader who lives nearby asked PBOT for an update the project on Tuesday and was told by a project manager that,
“We are currently on hold to do that work… After hearing concerns from the neighboring community, the decision was made to pause this planned work until a more robust engagement process can occur as it relates to this portion of the project specifically. This is to ensure that we are getting direct feedback and exploring potential options with the neighboring community.”
The reader who shared that email with me said he’s very disappointed by the news. “This section [of the project] would have been superbly transformative infrastructure and was arguably the most thrilling concept in the entire greenway,” he wrote.
PBOT says all other work on the 70s greenway will continue as planned.
“Coming on the heels of the threat to Broadway’s protected bike infrastructure,” our reader who lives nearby laments, “this development raises serious concerns about PBOT’s support of sensible and secure bike (and pedestrian) projects.”
UPDATE, 9/22: PBOT Director Williams has decided that the project will move forward without a pause. Read more here.
— PBOT has updated the 70s greenway project page. Stay tuned for information about the public outreach on this.