Portion of Esplanade path might have to close due to high water – UPDATED

Posted on March 23rd, 2017 at 4:07 pm.

Current conditions.
(Photos: Portland Parks & Rec)

**The path has been closed as of Saturday 3/25. See below for update and statement from Portland Parks & Recreation bureau.

The City of Portland Parks and Recreation bureau says the floating portions of the Eastbank Esplanade could close if water levels in the Willamette River continue to climb.

Here’s the problem: The section of path just north and south of the Burnside Bridge is tethered to the riverbank. The ramps that lead down to the floating path are fixed. Therefore, as water rises, the path rises above the ramps, creating a sharp incline as seen in the photos above.[Read more…]

45 days later, TriMet still has no estimate for re-opening of Lafayette Street bridge elevator

Posted on March 22nd, 2017 at 5:09 pm.

“Temporarily.”
(Photo via @marneduke on Twitter)

An elevator on a bridge needed for cycling over light rail and railroad lines in southeast Portland has been closed for nearly seven weeks now. And TriMet, the owner of the facility, still isn’t sure when it will re-open.

On February 20th we reported that the elevator at the Rhine-Lafayette Bridge was broken. TriMet said moisture had gotten into the elevator shaft, causing the brakes the fail.

After posting our story we heard from several readers who were frustrated about losing such an important connection. As you can see in the map below, the railyard splits two neighborhoods and there are very few ways to get across it. While there are stairs with a wheel-gutter, the gutter is hard to use and for many people there are too many stairs to manage carrying their bike safely.

“This bridge being out is a significant impediment for those of us who use it to head North-South — makes my quick 15 minute ride from Sellwood to inner Clinton area twice as long and even longer if I’m headed further north,” wrote reader Carrie. “This whole thing is ridiculous. They tore down the old bridge because, well it was sketchy, but because it wasn’t ADA compliant. Then they build this new one, can’t afford(?) to build one at Harold or Reedway, and yet can’t maintain it and so now anyone who can’t do stairs, or can’t carry their bike up/down stairs (and it’s kind of scary to come down the stairs in the dark rain shouldering your bike) are screwed — there’s no where nearby to get from point a to point b.”
[Read more…]

County’s Burnside Bridge project plans put bicycle riders on sidewalk for two years

Posted on March 21st, 2017 at 2:33 pm.

(Graphics: HDR/Multnomah County)

Next month Multnomah County and private contractor will kick off a major rehabilitation project for the Burnside Bridge. The project will nip and tuck the historic span in hopes of getting another 15-20 years of service out of it.

According to construction plans released by HDR (the contractor hired to perform the work), there will be significant changes to bridge operations for two years while the project is completed. From November of this year through November 2019, the plan is to have bicycle users share a sidewalk/sidepath with people walking. The plan will also reduce the number of standard vehicle lanes from five the three.
[Read more…]

Coalition: No freeway expansions without equal funding for active transportation

Posted on March 20th, 2017 at 2:25 pm.

Download the letter (PDF). —

A powerful coalition of advocacy groups says they won’t support a regional funding proposal without “dollar-for-dollar” investment in biking, walking, and transit projects.

In a letter sent last week and addressed to TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane, the TriMet Board of Directors and members of Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT), the leaders of nine groups said the existing proposal — which is being worked on behind-closed-doors — is too focused on freeway expansions.

For several months now, a cabal of regional policymakers and power brokers have cooked up a plan to fund four major projects: expansions to Highway 217, Interstate 5 and Interstate 205; and the SW Corridor transit project.
[Read more…]

Troutdale follows Gresham and now a 40-Mile Loop trail extension is dead

Posted on March 15th, 2017 at 11:10 am.

They said no.
(Photo: Metro)

Fears of crime and of “undesirables doing bad things” have fueled another city in the eastern part of our region to say no to a major multi-use path project.

After tallying public feedback from an open house late last month, Metro has decided to suspend all planning efforts for the Troutdale section of their 40-Mile Loop Master Plan because of local opposition. This is a carbon copy of concerns that fueled opposition from the City of Gresham to the same project back in January.

Now, after a year of planning, public events and committee meetings, Metro will pull the plug and put this project on the shelf.[Read more…]

City of Portland ratchets up their war on speeding

Posted on March 14th, 2017 at 2:58 pm.

Activists with BikeLoudPDX and the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon rejoice at the sight of new — and lower — speed limit signs on SE Division.
(Photo: BikeLoudPDX)

The City of Portland has unleashed a barrage of attacks against a key rival in their fight against speeding.

With Vision Zero firmly planted as a top priority at the highest levels of city government, the Bureau of Transportation has turned their attention to two of our most dangerous streets: SE Division and SE 122nd.

Here are updates on several speed-related items we continue to track…
[Read more…]

A look at how D.C. is building protected bikeways

Posted on March 7th, 2017 at 11:08 am.

Wash DC - First St. protected bikeway-3.jpg

DC has started carving up their downtown streets so that bicycle users get a larger portion.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

If it can happen in D.C., can it happen in Portland?
[Read more…]

Planning commissioner forces City to defend I-5 widening project

Posted on March 2nd, 2017 at 2:53 pm.

N Williams Ave Community Forum.JPG-24

Chris Smith thinks widening I-5 in Portland is a big mistake.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Noted transportation activist and Portland Planning and Sustainability Commissioner Chris Smith made a bold move Tuesday night that could have thrown a wrench in the works the State of Oregon’s top transportation priority.

Smith put forward a motion at a work session meeting of the Planning Commission that would have taken the I-5 Broadway Weidler Facility Plan out of the City of Portland’s Transportation System Plan. The TSP is Portland’s road investment guidebook and any major project that wants funding must be listed in it. As we reported yesterday, this $450 million (estimated) project is one of three freeway mega-projects lined up to receive significant funding in the transportation package currently being negotiated in Salem.

Smith was the sole PSC Commissioner to vote against the project when it was passed as part of the N/NE Quadrant Plan (a component of the Central City 2035 Plan) back in 2012. Judging from his pointed remarks about the project Tuesday night, he still hasn’t warmed up to the idea.
[Read more…]

The skinny on the three Portland-area freeway projects in line for state funding

Posted on March 1st, 2017 at 10:28 am.

traffic on i-5 -1

The projects would add supply to a high-demand system.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

By now you’ve probably heard whispers and/or seen the headlines about the three freeway widening projects in the Portland region that are a top priority of lawmakers statewide. The goal of the projects is to improve driving conditions for motor vehicle users on Interstate 217 south of Beaverton, I-5 adjacent to the Rose Quarter, and I-205 south of Oregon City.

These three projects represent an estimated cost of $1,000,000,000 — that’s a billion with a “b”. Lawmakers won’t be able to fully fund them in their forthcoming transportation package, but it’s expected they’ll get a significant jumpstart.

Because freeway expansions tend to be very controversial in our region (with good reason), these projects have flown under-the-radar of most people (except those working to get them funded). Another reason there hasn’t been a robust public debate about these projects is that — even though they’ve been listed in various plans (like Metro’s Regional Transportation Plan) for many years — they’ve been unfunded and relegated to “wish lists”. But now that real money is on the table, the tone around these projects has quickly gotten a lot more serious. Everyone who cares about the future of transportation in our region should learn more about them.

Like I mentioned above, these three projects alone are estimated to cost about $1 billion. Now that I have your attention, here’s what I’ve found out about each one…
[Read more…]

With $8 million up for grabs, Portland kicks off series of Safe Routes to School open houses tonight

Posted on February 28th, 2017 at 3:24 pm.

Bike to School Day in NoPo-6

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Have traffic safety concerns in your neighborhood that prevent you and your kids from biking to school? Listen up…

Thanks to the voter-approved, 10-cent increase in the local gas tax, the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation expects to raise about $64 million over the next four years. The money will be spent on a wide range of projects between now and 2020. About $8 million of that total amount is set aside specifically for making it safer and easier for people to walk, bike, and roll to school. This is important because safety concerns are a major barrier to people when deciding how they’ll get their kids to school. The most recent City survey of people who live 1-2 miles away from their school found that 51 percent of respondents were concerned about traffic safety — more than any other limiting factor in their travel choice.

Now PBOT wants to hear your feedback to make sure this $8 million helps ameliorate those concerns.[Read more…]