More criticism leveled at proposed Greenway Trail route

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

“N. Greeley as an alternative to the Cement Road is unacceptable. The trail is to be a Willamette River Greenway Trail, not a tour of a truck route.”
— NPGreenway statement

The alignment for the North Portland Greenway Trail project being proposed by the Portland Parks & Recreation bureau is continuing to draw sharp criticism from activists and advocacy groups.

PP&R is hosting an online comment form to get feedback, and — as the comments to our story yesterday make clear — many people are not impressed that several segments of the proposed alignment use heavily trafficked streets and conventional bike lanes. The idea of a “trail” — or what I prefer to call a path — is that people can expect a dedicated, non-motorized facility away form the dangers and stresses of automobiles.

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Check the maps and comment on proposed North Portland Greenway Trail alignment

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Detail of proposed NP Greenway Trail alignment.

Portland Parks and Recreation has posted maps of the proposed alignment (PDF) of the North Portland Greenway Trail along with an online comment form to gauge public feedback about the routes. The City has been working with an advisory committee since January to come up with the precise alignment for the future 10-mile path that will connect the north end of the Eastbank Esplanade (near the Steel Bridge) to Kelley Point Park.

Reviews on the proposed alignment are coming back mixed. While there’s excitement to see progress on this project, I’ve gotten several emails of concern about the path’s southern segments. Below I’ll take you through the alignment maps and then share the concerns I’ve heard. (Please note: The orange dotted line is for a different trail project.)

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City begins public process to design North Portland Greenway corridor

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Bike Fashion Show_ride and afterparty-71

One of the few paved segments
of the corridor on
Swan Island.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The City of Portland is ready to start the public process on the North Portland Willamette Greenway Trail, a shared-use path that will someday extend the Eastbank Esplanade 10 miles — all the way to the St. Johns Bridge.

Citizen activists first came together to advocate for the project nearly six years ago. In May 2009, Metro ponied up $450,000 to help plan the route. Now, the City of Portland Parks & Recreation is looking for people to serve on the official Project Advisory Committee (PAC).

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Advocates celebrate a new path onto Swan Island

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Going Street Bridge to Swan Island-2

A Breakfast on the Bridge was held
Wednesday to celebrate the newly revamped
path on the Going Street Bridge.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Yesterday was a good day for Lenny Anderson. For a man well-known to local politicians and city employees as a persistently unsatisfied advocate, he was smiling and singing the Bureau of Transportation’s praises.

“I’ve got to give them credit, the city really came through this time.”

The reason for Anderson’s happiness (besides the presence of friends, coffee, and pastries) is an improved connection for biking and walking traffic to the Swan Island industrial area on its main artery, N. Going Street.

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River Plan hearing a big moment for Greenway Trail backers

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Freightliner and Swan Island

Looking south at start of “Cement Road”
connection between Swan Island
and Lower Albina.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Tonight at 6:00 pm the Portland City Council will host a hearing and vote on the River Plan/North Reach project. The plan includes the first update to the alignment of the North Willamette Greenway Trail in over three decades.

The North Willamette Greenway Trail would connect the Eastbank Esplanade to Cathedral Park in St. Johns with a biking and walking path along the river. The project is still in the planning stages, but supporters of the trail — including the newly formed Swan Island Bike Commuters Group and the established non-profit NP Greenway — say inclusion of the trail in the River Plan is a major step forward.

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Greenway Trail gets boost from The Oregonian; but it needs more

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Riding along the river on what
should be a fully connected and
developed trail.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The North Portland Greenway Trail is on the cover of the “InPortland” section of The Oregonian today. The exposure for the project is an important boost to the project — whose backers need more political support to make it a reality.

The story lays out how the trail has made some small steps of progress, but that its actual construction is still far off (the advocacy effort behind the trail is already four years old):

“Even its lead advocate, however, sets 10 years as an optimistic timetable for the Greenway to receive funding and be fully constructed.”

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Workshop will focus on North Portland Greenway trail design

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Bike Fashion Show_ride and afterparty-73

Riders pass newly dedicated public
art on an existing piece of
Willamette Greenway Trail.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Volunteer planners working on the the North Portland Greenway Trail will host a design workshop this weekend. The trail, which was first envisioned back in 2005 and won a $448,000 planning study grant from Metro back in March, will someday connect Cathedral Park in St. Johns with the Eastbank Esplanade near the Steel Bridge.

Saturday’s design workshop is being organized by Kelly Rogers, a freelance consultant who specializes in sustainable city planning. Rogers is a volunteer on the project and says the event is a way for them to get the community excited about the trail and come up with creative design solutions.

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Willamette Greenway Trail gets boost from Metro

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Once built, the trail would
connect St. Johns to the
Steel Bridge.

The Willamette Greenway Trail project, that would connect the Eastbank Esplanade at the Steel Bridge with Cathedral Park in St. Johns, was approved for $444,800 in funding by Metro this morning.

The funds, awarded as part of $68 million available in “Regional Flexible Funds” through the Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program (MTIP), will go toward a planning study. According to a Metro summary of the project:

“…The study will focus on sites that have challenging topographic and land ownership issues. The project also involves an update of previous budgets and potential phasing of design and construction.”

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Willamette Greenway Trail heads to Planning Commission

npGreenway Trail community meeting

Metro trail planner Mel Huie and
npGreenway core member Pam
Arden at a 2007 meeting.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Tonight, the Portland Planning Commission — a nine-member body appointed by the Mayor that advises the city on all planning issues — will hold a public hearing for the “North Reach” phase of Portland’s River Plan.

The River Plan is a massive planning project for all land along the Willamette River in Portland.

Buried among the many volumes and reams of pages in the North Reach section of the plan is language that would help establish easements and official policy for the northern section of the Willamette River Greenway Trail (which currently ends at the Steel Bridge).

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