Beyond freeway expansion, here’s how local streets would change with I-5 Rose Quarter project

A visual summary by ODOT of the surface-street changes proposed in the I-5 Rose Quarter Project.
(Images: ODOT and Google Street View)

When they explain their support for spending hundreds of millions to add two new on/off freeway lanes and freeway shoulders to Interstate 5 at the Rose Quarter, Portland city leaders have a go-to answer: better surface streets.

It’s true, Mayor Ted Wheeler conceded last month, that more freeway throughput at this interchange would do “very little to arrest congestion.” Instead, more driving is likely to fill any new space that might open up on the freeway, ultimately leaving cars and trucks as jammed as before (though possibly elsewhere on the road system).

But from Portland’s perspective, Wheeler said, the $450 million Rose Quarter project is “mostly a bicycle and pedestrian play.”

OK. So we wanted to know what, exactly, are taxpayers getting in this location that would improve biking and walking?

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Next week’s ‘Better Broadway’ trial aims for better shopping environment

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
better broadway plan

(Images: Broadway-Weidler Alliance)

Nine months ago, one of the city’s top experts on the Lloyd District predicted to us that any changes to inner Northeast Portland’s main east-west arterial were 10 years away.

“I think people need to realize that Broadway doesn’t know what they want to do yet,” said Rick Williams, the founding director of the Go Lloyd business association, in an interview. “Broadway is kind of where we were 10 years ago: in the planning phase.”

But if an on-street trial next week of improved crosswalks and a protected bike lane do well, the planning phase could move pretty quickly.

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Better Block volunteers prep for Broadway and Burnside demos in May and June

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
3rd Avenue Better Block PDX

A protected bike lane on SE 3rd Avenue in 2014.
(Photo: Greg Raisman)

Dozens of volunteers are now meeting weekly to plan temporary human-friendly makeovers of Northeast Broadway and the Burnside Bridge this spring and summer.

Better Block PDX’s next “work party” is tonight at Pizza Schmizza at NE 7th and Broadway, from 6-7:30 p.m. Next Wednesday it’s the same time at Black Water Bar, NE 9th and Broadway.

The Broadway demo will create a protected bike lane for one week, from May 9-15.

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The four bikeways it’ll take to make the Lloyd District great

lloyd missing links lead image

This is the third in a three-part series about the biking potential of the Lloyd District. Read the first two here.

If 1,597 new homes were about to land in the space where, seven years ago, new homes in the Portland metro area would have been most likely to land, they would be the biggest news story in the area.

In the rural outskirts of east Vancouver (yes, that counts as Portland metro), beloved farms would be shutting down. Work crews would be widening intersections and stripping away street parking to make room for more turn lanes. For miles around, residents and businesses would be bracing themselves for traffic paralysis.

But in the next few years, 1,597 homes are lined up to land somewhere else instead: right in the middle of Portland.

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The $60 million map: Here’s what a street fee’s ‘safety’ money might pay for

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
street fee map

Green for new sidewalks, yellow for neighborhood greenways, teal for protected bike lanes, red for painted bike lanes, blue dots for crossing improvements and purple for other improvements like lighting or frequent buses.
(Graphic by BikePortland using Transitmix.net. Click for an interactive version.)

So far, the public debate about a per-household and per-business street fee has been mostly about the costs: who would pay how much.

While that debate rages on, the city has finally floated some specifics about the possible benefits.

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