MLK/Grand couplet has degraded the bicycle
network on the central eastside. That’s one of many
reasons we need smarter planning in this area.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
One of the most important neighborhoods in Portland, the central eastside industrial area, is changing fast and the City of Portland is looking for help to nudge the changes in the right direction.
As tech startups remodel warehouses and the new streetcar and MAX lines bring more housing, offices and retail into the area between the Willamette River, SE 12th Avenue, Interstate 84 and SE Powell, the city is updating its plan for the area and looking for stakeholders to join the Southeast Quadrant Plan Stakeholder Advisory Committee.
Members must “be able to commit 4-6 hours every month, which includes preparing for and attending monthly meetings (typically held in the evening), and attend workshops, charrettes and community involvement events,” according to the city’s application website. Applications are due Oct. 3.
This is an important area for the future of local biking, since it includes three of the four best bridge crossings (Burnside, Hawthorne and the new TriMet bridge opening in 2015), a potential future highway crossing at NE 7th-9th (along the route of a proposed future neighborhood greenway that would connect northeast and southeast) and many future origins and destinations. This effort is an element of the broader Central City 2035 project to update the 1988 Central City Plan.
Currently, the bicycle network is very inadequate throughout the central eastside. Since someone fell asleep at the wheel and forgot to include a bicycle facility along with the new streetcar line on MLK Jr. Blvd. and Grand, the low-stress bicycling options in this area are very few and far between. The streets west of MLK/Grand are busy with delivery trucks and other industrial uses, while the streets east of the couplet have many tricky crossings. SE 7th is one option, but as a recent serious injury hit-and-run illustrates, that street is far from what we should expect in America’s most bike friendly city.