After severe storms unleashed havoc on our roads and heaps of criticism on the City of Portland’s response, Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman laid out a new plan at a city hall press conference a few hours ago.
PBOT Director Leah Treat told us last week the City was, “Specifically going to look at expanding our de-icing and plow routes to include neighborhood greenways.”
Unfortunately, this new plan doesn’t do that. Instead of plowing residential streets that are the backbone of our biking network, Commissioner Saltzman announced two other changes to the City’s storm response plan. After resisting the use of salt due to environmental concerns, PBOT now says they plan to use up to 100 tons of it on at least three major roads during upcoming storms. This “largest use of road salt in the modern history of Portland,” will be a test to see how effective salt is at keeping roads free of ice and snow. In addition, they’ve announced an 30 percent expansion in the number of lane miles that will be plowed.
We knew the salt decision was coming; but it’s the plow route we were most curious about going into today’s press conference. As we reported last week, not only were bike lanes and bikeways left piled with snow during the storm, they’ve been covered in gravel for weeks.