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?