One of the projects on the list would add a new signal, sidewalks, and a multi-use path to the sketchy intersection of NE Columbia and Cully/Alderwood Road. (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)
It’s that time again when our regional elected government needs help deciding which transportation projects to fund with a pot of federal dollars known as regional flexible funds. This opportunity only comes around once every three years, so it’s a golden opportunity to nab some cash for important projects. [Read more…]
This segment of NE 72nd in the Cully neighborhood will get a 12-foot wide walking/biking path.
Project locations. (Graphic: Metro)
On Thursday the Metro Council unanimously adopted $30 million in grants for 12 transportation projects around the region. Portland won big by garnering $12.8 million of the total awarded. The funds will go toward five different projects — four of which ($10 million worth) are focused specifically on making it easier and safer to bike and walk.
Yesterday’s decision comes after a year of public feedback and analysis of dozens of projects that vied for the money. It’s part of Metro’s regional flexible funding process that happens every three years. Out of this pot of around $130 million, $33 was up for grabs in a suballocation that Metro decided to split 75/25 between “active transportation/complete streets” projects and freight projects respectively.
Although one of Portland’s projects was in the freight category, it also includes several elements that will improve biking and overall traffic safety. [Read more…]
The top-ranked project would make walking and rolling to 82nd Avenue and Gateway much easier.
The Cully neighborhood would get a new biking and walking “parkway” and big roads that run through two major commercial districts in east Portland near I-205 could be updated and vastly improved for people on bikes and foot if the City of Portland is able to convince Metro to give them the cash to do it. [Read more…]
Yellow signs urging investment in safe routes near schools loomed over local elected and agency leaders as they considered how to allocate $130 million in regional flexible funds this morning at Metro headquarters. (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)
A nearly two-year quest to raise funds for Safe Routes to Schools across the Portland region came to an end this morning. At the monthly meeting of Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, elected and agency leaders voted to support a policy direction that will inform how $130 million in federal “flexible” transportation dollars are spent. [Read more…]
A Safe Routes to School event in 2010. The Metro regional government is proposing to start supporting the program in suburban schools, but not to increase funding for accompanying street improvements near those schools. (Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)
A two-year campaign for regional funding of better biking and walking near schools, backed by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and other advocacy groups, is in tatters.
Biking to school in North Portland. (All photos by Jonathan Maus unless otherwise noted)
With Portland’s locally funded Safe Routes to School program seeming to pay clear dividends — biking, walking and rolling to primary school became more popular than driving in 2010 and have kept rising — the case for bringing the idea to other cities may seem strong.
But the For Every Kid Coalition that’s been lobbying the regional government Metro to put $15 million into a regional Safe Routes to Schools program is competing for cash with two major forces: public transit and private freight. As Metro continues to accept public comments on the subject, we wanted to share what its councilors are thinking.
Regional leaders are hinting that it might be time to stop dedicating a key funding source to biking and walking projects. And advocates are not taking it lightly.
The discussion is centered around what is known as the regional flexible funding allocation, a pot of money Metro gets from the federal government and then hands out to cities and counties. In the next round of allocations for 2019-2021, $38 million (out of a total of $125 million) is set-aside specifically for infrastructure. (The rest goes to transit bond payments ($48 million) and region-wide planning and program investments ($28 million). There’s another $11 million that might be available for infrastructure but that’s not decided yet).
Unlike the vast majority of transportation dollars (gas tax and other mode-specific loan and grant programs), local governments can spend flexible funds however they want — which means something other than highway widening, rail transit or bridge upgrades. That makes flexible funds extremely competitive. In the past, Metro has chosen to invest these funds into two categories: freight and biking/walking (a.k.a. active transportation). [Read more…]
The new two-mile trail is funded mostly by regional flexible funds allocated by Metro at the request of east Multnomah County governments. (Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)
Though it’s possible to get between central Gresham and the Springwater Corridor by bike lane, there’s never been a truly comfortable link between the two, or first-rate bike connection between Gresham’s central business district and the dense Rockwood area. That’s about to change.
Gresham is building a wide new paved path alongside the MAX tracks between the Cleveland Avenue station, at the eastern end of the Blue Line, and the Ruby Junction station where many TriMet trains stop their runs to go out of service.
A Safe Routes to School ride in Portland in 2010. A new BTA campaign suggests tapping federal funding allocated to the Metro regional government to offer the program in suburban schools, too. (Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)
Over the last two years, people trying to reverse the spectacular 40-year slide in the number of kids who bike and walk to school have come to a gradual realization: dedicated federal funding for the Safe Routes to School program is probably gone for good.