The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) announced today they will award a $9 million grant for the Portland region allowing us to extend the North Lombard bike lanes to Denver and redesign the Denver intersection. The project will make significant changes to a major Kenton neighborhood intersection and close a key gap in the north Portland bike network.
ODOT added bike lanes to Lombard (aka Highway 30) on a 1.2-mile segment from N Fiske to Delaware last summer as part of a major repaving project. One of the problems with the new lanes is that they stopped short — by about 10 blocks — of the major bikeway on N Denver.
Now ODOT says they’ll use a portion of the $36 million remaining in their Great Streets program budget to fund protected bike lanes between Delaware and Denver. In addition to the bike lanes, the project will close a slip lane at Denver and replace it with a pedestrian plaza. The City of Portland says they’d like to depave the lane and plant trees. Final designs aren’t ready yet, but we shared details of PBOT’s plans back in June (below). They plan rebuild the signals at Denver and Lombard, depave the southwest corner, and fully connect the bike lanes at the intersection.
Portland’s project is one of four selected statewide and will now be further engineered for final design in 2024. Stay tuned for more opportunities to weigh in as they are announced.
ODOT kicked off the Great Streets program (aimed at making their orphan highways less terrible) with $50 million in total funding via the federal infrastructure bill in 2021. Demand for the funds far outstripped supply and a coalition of advocates pushed lawmakers in the 2023 legislative session to add $100 million to the pot. While major freeway expansions received hundreds of millions, the legislature’s last-minute budget bill included a paltry $1 million for Great Streets.
Hopefully the program gets a big budget boost in the 2025 session when a major transportation funding bill is expected to be passed.