There’s a pot of gold at the west end of the Broadway Bridge — for someone, at least. (Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)
It looks like inner Northwest Portland is about to get very, very different.
As variousoutlets have reported, the Portland Development Commission on Wednesday authorized the purchase of the downtown U.S. Postal Service headquarters for $88 million.
That means that if the city can clear up some remaining sticking points and find buyers, hundreds of daily truck trips will vanish from the Pearl District area; a major blue-collar downtown employer will probably relocate to a site near the airport, replaced by a mix of market-rate housing, office jobs and affordable housing; and the street grid between the north Pearl and Willamette River will connect for the first time in more than 50 years.
And as we reported in September, it’ll also mean three new or improved bikeway connections to the Broadway Bridge, including the promise of a route that winds straight down to the North Park Blocks.
The biking and walking pathways have been dramatically narrowed to make room for construction scaffolding. Despite flaggers on both ends to ferry users through, we’ve been worried that someone would get hurt. Now we’ve heard about the first (to our knowledge) serious injury caused by this narrow riding environment.
Portlander Terry Barton contacted us yesterday with the bad news: He suffered a broken shoulder on Friday afternoon after a crash caused by trying to navigate through the construction zone. Barton told us he’s been riding through the “mess” since it started and that he’s had several close calls with people both walking and biking. On Friday he was headed downtown when he miscommunicated intentions with someone walking toward him in the narrowed portion of the path. “I clipped him and then flew over my handlebars,” Barton shared with us. [Read more…]
It’s been about 15 weeks since Multnomah County embarked on a major project to repaint and repair large sections of the the Broadway Bridge. And according to what we’re hearing from some of you, despite adjustments and additional measures being taken by the County, the construction zone is still causing significant safety issues. [Read more…]
As redevelopment proposals for Northwest Portland’s big post office have moved forward, some insiders have been talking about an exciting concept for the site: a flyover ramp that could directly connect the bridge’s 30-foot-high Y-shaped west landing with a new north-south bikeway through the Park Blocks.
Envisioned as a key link in a proposed Green Loop biking path around the central city, a well-designed route through what’s supposed to become a major mixed-use employment and residential development would certainly be costly if it took the form of a floating path — but would also seem likely to become one of Portland’s most iconic pieces of bike infrastructure, reminiscent of Copenhagen’s new Bicycle Snake.
Crowding on the Hawthorne sidewalks is already a serious problem and is only likely to increase, advocates say. (Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)
Some or all of Multnomah County’s four busiest bridges across the Willamette River — the Broadway, Burnside, Morrison and Hawthorne — could see major biking and walking upgrades over the next fifteen years.
One possibility being discussed: physically separating bike and foot traffic on the Hawthorne Bridge by moving either biking or walking to one or two of the four auto-dominated lanes on the bridge deck.
A Portland Development Commission map of the “Broadway Corridor.” The PDC is meeting this afternoon to re-up their negotiation to buy the post office site at the base of the Broadway Bridge and fast-track a planning process for the area. (Image: PDC)
If Portland’s main post office signs a deal to relocate, a huge payoff for biking could be hiding between the lines.
As the Portland Development Commission meets this afternoon to consider putting up $500,000 to reboot negotiations over moving the operation from the Pearl District to a new hub near Portland International Airport, advocates and planners are watching with great interest.
Redevelopment of the eight-city-block post office site could create the space and funding for a new built-from-scratch bikeway from the Broadway Bridge straight down into the Park Blocks, across Burnside past Director Park, and into the city’s biggest cultural district and Portland State University.