Portland’s newest and smallest street is also carfree

Couch Court at Burnside Bridgehead-5.jpg

Carfree Couch Court. Because it just makes sense, that’s why.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

To improve circulation of vehicle traffic through a very fast-growing part of the central city, the Portland Bureau of Transportation decided to expand the road network. With two new lanes, people can now travel on a new road between NE 3rd Avenue and Couch Street.

Typically we’d be skeptical — possibly outraged — if PBOT added new lane-miles in the urban core; but in this case it’s fine because the new street is carfree. It’s the most efficient and humane way to utilize this important space adjacent to three new buildings that tower over the east end of the Burnside Bridge and have a combined 300 residential units and over 100,000 square feet of office and retail space.

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Burnside Bridgehead project includes possible bike-through retail window

burnside bikes rendering

Though it’s a shame that the creators of this image seem to have been unaware of the existence of Couch Street’s bike lane, they do seem to be enthusiastic about serving people who arrive by bike.
(Image: Key Development)

In the latest burst of bike-oriented development on the Burnside Bridgehead, a developer is considering turning the tables on all those drive-through windows that allow cars but not bikes.

Key Development has proposed a 20,000-square-foot, $7 million commercial building on the space immediately west of Couch Street’s southward curve towards the Burnside Bridge. Currently in design review, the project would include a bike-oriented retail plaza, possibly with a bike-through window.

It might also function as a sort of annex that’d create easy bridge-level bike access to residents of the big 21-story tower that’s now in construction right behind it.

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