red electric trail
The Portland Bureau of Parks and Recreation is rarely discussed as part of the answer to Portland’s transportation problems.
Instead of relying mostly on relatively costly off-street paths, which are the main channels for low-stress bike transportation in most of the United States, Portland generally prides itself on improving its actual streets for biking.
But the city’s parks bureau is currently facing a problem that many transportation advocates don’t know about: How to spend the tens of millions of dollars in fees from new development that have been pouring into city coffers for years now.
City Council voted 5-0 yesterday to authorize grant applications for five major bikeway projects. The $9 million in grant requests would help the Bureau of Transportation fund a host of key projects, some of which have languished on lists and in the hearts of advocates for many years.
A reader and SW Trails member just tipped me off to a new video produced to promote the Red Electric Trail project. It’s an excellent overview of what’s being worked on and it features an interview with none other than U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer. For more on the Red Electric, see our update back in October and visit SWTrails.org.
promote Red Electric Trail.
My inbox is full of updates on major multi-use path projects happening in and around Portland, so I’ve decided to round them up into one post. (And yes, you’ll notice I don’t like to refer to them as “trail” projects, even though that word is in their official names. I just feel that the word “trail” only perpetuates the false notion many people have that these paths are for recreation and shouldn’t be considered serious transportation corridors… which they are.)
When complete, the Red Electric Trail will connect the Fanno Creek Trail in Beaverton to Portland’s Southwest Waterfront district. As per usual, the planning and actual construction has been agonizingly slow (Portland City Council released a study of the trail in 2007); but lately things are on the upswing. According to project volunteer Cole Trusty with SW Trails, Portland Parks & Recreation is actively negotiating right-of-way with property owners along the route, a new bridge at the western end of the project is set to be built next summer, and other pieces are falling into place. Trusty recently shared a new brochure (PDF) he just made to “develop the community support necessary to maintain momentum” on the project (PDF). The brochure is full of great background information on the project and it comes with a quality route map. He’s already passed out 1,000 copies and plans to keep on giving them out. Trusty says there’s also a new video on the works and there’s even a new Facebook page you can “Like” to stay updated. [Read more…]