Tag Archives: rose quarter

Fixing the intersection at NE Broadway, Flint and Wheeler

We first met Paramount apartments owner and citizen activist Betsy Reese through our work on streetcar bikeway safety. Betsy has been working tirelessly for many years to improve conditions for people on bike and foot in her neighborhood.

Here is a video Betsy’s son Will put together demonstrating the chaotic and confusing conditions on the ground in front of the Paramount apartments.

Thankfully, PBOT has been responsive to calls for improving this intersection immediately, particularly in light of the high rate of bicycle-car collisions at this location.  As Jonathan Maus writes:

PBOT staff reviewed every recorded collision from the DMV and the Police between 2000 and 2010 and there were 20 serious bike/motor-vehicle collisions. 17 of those 20 were right hooks at Wheeler.

The momentum appears headed toward closing NE Wheeler permanently.  This is welcome news to neighborhood activists, some of whom are still dismayed that the city intends to move forward with an I-5 highway-widening project next door.  Stay tuned.

I-5/RQ and CRC Freeway Expansions: At the Crossroads of Portland’s Future

From experiences in the past, the Clackamas bike/ped bridge is likely to be deleted for cost savings as the project cost soars with inflation.

UPDATE: AROW joined the neighborhoods in voting NO to the freeway widening proposal.  The proposal still passed but will be up for future votes within the SAC and at City Council.  Further coverage:

The I-5/Rose Quarter highway expansion project presents a crossroads for Portland and the entire region. Much as the CRC is problematic, this project would further entrench our city in a piece of infrastructure destined for obsolescence.

Demolishing three good bridge structures to add one lane in each direction–while possibly receiving a few bike/ped improvements in the process–is absurd.

While there are certainly safety improvements worth making, ODOT itself admits that freeways are essentially their safest form of infrastructure in this 2009 report:

The number of crashes per million vehicle miles traveled on non-freeways for 2009 was 1.22. This is more than three times higher than the interstatefreeway crash rate of 0.38, and twice as high as the crash rate of 0.61 for other freeways and expressways. The difference between non-freeway and freeway crash rates indicates that freeway travel is safer.*

This statement, along with Metro’s recent report that main streets are deadlier than highways, raises important questions about how ODOT is choosing to spend $400 million for such small safety gains.  I think we could do a lot more to improve traffic safety with such a large pot of money. For instance, you could build out almost the entire Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 which would bring improvements to neighborhoods across the city.

Please write your comments on the proposed plan to ODOT Senior Project Manager Todd Juhasz or attend an upcoming public comment meeting.

Photo: Greenberry INC

In CRC news, today we’ve heard that River users said Columbia River Crossing too low, and planner ignored them

“The concept of taking a bridge and making it lower is so contrary to common sense,” said Tom Hickman, vice president of sales and marketing for Oregon Iron Works. “We’re kind of baffled how they got this far down the road without listening to the concerns. They seem to have just ignored us.”

Last summer, another review instigated by Kitzhaber and Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler deemed the CRC’s toll revenue projections to be inflated by nearly half a billion dollars. The CRC was relying on outdated and inaccurate traffic numbers, the review found.

Not surprisingly, the CRC is fielding some pointed criticism from area politicians, not a good thing for an organization reliant on the goodwill of Washington, D.C. and Salem and Olympia for financing.

“We are at a loss as to how such an oversight in this design could have occurred,” stated U.S. Rep. Jamie Herrera-Buetler and three other Washington Congress members in an April 30 letter to the CRC. “Given the importance of navigation to our region, we believe it is imperative that a new bridge not limit future river commerce.”

and If you’re still on board with the CRC, you’re doing it wrong.

Funding for the project seems to be in doubt as well. The feds just rejected the ask for a $1 billion loan, citing the lack of funding support from the Oregon & Washington state legislatures.

Many of the premises used to convince Oregonians that the bridge is vital and necessary have been outed as false.

And that barely scratches the surface. It’s been a hot mess for many months.

Paving the Way for the CRC: Upcoming I-5 Highway Expansion Meetings

Despite staff assertions that this project has absolutely, positively nothing to do with the 5-mile long CRC project, in reality it is one of the biggest hurdles for pushing I-5 expansion upstream.  As Evan Manvel writes on Blue Oregon:

For all the number of times the mega-project’s staff and consultants call the CRC a “long-term, comprehensive solution,” it’s anything but. The southbound traffic congestion barely changes – in fact, the congestion is projected to be worse in North Portland post-project than if we did nothing. The project’s Independent Review Panel – people hand-picked by the CRC-backing Governors – found: “Questions about the reasonableness of investment in the CRC bridge because unresolved issues remain to the south [near 405 and the Rose Quarter] threaten the viability of the project.”

The Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability along with PBOT and ODOT are deep in the process for deciding the outcome of the freeway expansion project: new larger interchanges, demolishing bridges that are in good structural shape, adding travel and merge lanes, extending on and off ramps.. which they want to marry with a vision for a high density, multi-use, multi-modal Rose Quarter.

Here is their most recent announcement on upcoming meetings:

N/NE Quadrant and I-5 Broadway/Weidler Plans
The N/NE Quadrant Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) meeting tomorrow, has been moved:
SAC Meeting #13  Meeting Packet
Thurs, February 16, 2012, 5:45 – 8:45
NEW LOCATION: ODOT, Region 1 Headquarters, 123 NW Flanders, Conference Rooms A & B
At the meeting, staff will seek Stakeholder Advisory Committee approval of the proposed concept for the overall N/NE Quadrant Plan and for the base freeway improvement project. These concept plans will then be used as a basis for developing more detailed proposals and additional analysis in the next phase of work.
Additional Upcoming Meetings
Stay involved by attending upcoming N/NE Quadrant Project meetings (see calendar for additional details as they become available). Approximately one week prior to the meeting, the agenda and other materials will be posted here
  • Stakeholder Advisory Committee Meeting #14 – Thursday, March 15, 2012 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Calaroga Terrace, 1400 NE 2nd.
  • Land Use Subcommittee Meeting (TENTATIVE) – Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 5 to 7 p.m., location to be determined.
About the N/NE Quadrant and I-5 Broadway/Weidler Plans
The N/NE Quadrant and I-5 Broadway/Weidler Plans (N/NE Quadrant Project) is a collaborative effort by the City of Portland and Oregon Department of Transportation. It is part of Phase II of Central City 2035, the City of Portland’s effort to update the 1988 Central City Plan, providing detailed planning for the Lower Albina and Lloyd District areas. Working jointly with the Oregon Department of Transportation, this project will also explore options for I-5 freeway and local transportation improvements near the Broadway/Weidler Interchange.
For more information about the N/NE Quadrant Project, visit the project website: www.portlandonline.gov/bps/cc2035/nneq or call Karl Lisle (503-823-4286) or Stephanie Beckman (503-823-6042).
The N/NE Quadrant Project Team

Williams Avenue: Lessons for Advocates

The public process around the North Williams Avenue Corridor Safety Project has been greatly expanded, in large part due to PBOT listening to the concerns of local residents.  While frustrating to those who are eager to see improvements, an extended public process is a resounding success for local democracy.

It is important that transportation safety advocates stay involved and engage with their neighbors and city officials about the larger social justice issues raised thus far, issues which are not entirely disconnected from transportation decision making.  The upcoming community forum provides a space to share with city officials and community members alike the pain imposed on our city’s black community from decades of neglect and disempowerment.  The forum also challenges people who walk and bike regularly to share their safety concerns and hopes for a safer Williams Avenue.

I hope active transportation advocates will appreciate and take advantage of these new opportunities for public input, as we have asked yet not received for the Columbia River Crossing and I-5 Rose Quarter freeway expansions.

This process has brought out many truths, one of which is that many Portlanders perceive the bicycle as a toy of privilege rather than a tool of empowerment.  Sharp advocates will see this as a call to action. It is upon the active transportation community to build better relationships with local communities-of-color, and the process begins with listening. Continue reading

Lloyd District Bikeway Project Update

A two-way cycletrack could be coming to Holladay

Public outreach consultant Scott Bricker writes:

We have posted the revised concept drawings on the City’s FTP site.

There are minor changes to both designs, but I would like to call out a few of the important changes to the Holladay concept, as we have not discussed this project at the SAC level for some time.

Holladay Street:

– 9th Avenue diagonal parking – in order mitigate parking loses on Holladay, the project team has reconfigured 9th Avenue to add parking by using diagonal parking. In addition to added spaces, diagonal parking generally has added benefits people on bicycle and foot.

– Median slimming alternative – In order to prevent parking loss between 6th and 7th, the project team has provided an alternative scenario that cuts back the hedge between the MAX tracks and Holladay Street.

– 1st Avenue – a two-way bikeway is shown on 1st Avenue, connecting to the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade ramp. Sharrows are placed on 1st Ave. north of Holladay in the event that Holladay under I-5 is temporarily being used by TriMet during construction periods.

– Interstate Avenue crossing – the project team included the design for improved safety from the Rose Quarter Transit Center and Interstate Avenue.

Innovative new turn boxes proposed for Rose Quarter

The next and potentially last Lloyd District Bikeway SAC meeting is September 29, 2011, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., 700 NE Multnomah, 3rd Floor Conference Room.  The agenda follows: Continue reading