City of Portland will take ‘deep dive’ into data to assess neighborhood greenway system

City of Portland will take ‘deep dive’ into data to assess neighborhood greenway system

A family ride from NoPo to Sellwood-18

Greenways use speed bumps to calm traffic,
diverters to reduce volumes, signals to cross busy
streets and sharrow markings and signs to guide users
through the city.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

As cities from Seattle to St. Louis to Louisville work to duplicate Portland’s “neighborhood greenway” concept on their residential streets, Portland is giving its trend-setting system a closer look.

A team of experts in the city’s transportation bureau will spend part of their time in the next few months looking closely at trends in how people use the system while biking, walking and driving.

A public report is due in early 2015.

City Active Transportation Division Manager Margi Bradway said Wednesday that the goal of this report, which she predicted will receive national attention once it’s complete, is to inform an upcoming policy conversation here in Portland about how best to keep improving the greenway system.

“I’m excited about the results — I don’t think we’ve actually done this before,” Bradway said. “We haven’t been able to pause and know where we’re at.”

The decision comes after the local advocacy group BikeLoudPDX and other Portlanders called attention this summer to what they described as unacceptably high auto traffic on SE Clinton Street, which shares some but not all characteristics of newer greenways like NE Going or SE 53rd Avenue.

A map of the greenway system from 2013.

Bradway said she looks forward to a public debate next year over where future investments should go, but is focused for now purely on gathering the data that’ll inform that debate.

“I appreciate all the attention it’s brought to Clinton,” Bradway said. “I think it’s important. But I’m trying to push my staff into not being reactive. I want to come up with a plan, but I want to take a system-wide look.”

Portland Bicycle Planning Coordinator Roger Geller and Traffic Safety Specialist Greg Raisman, the co-creator of the neighborhood greenway concept, will be among those on the fact-finding team.

The project is one of Bradway’s first major initiatives in her key city position, which she accepted in June.

Source: Portland Bureau of Transportation.

As we reported in February, Portland mostly stopped expanding its greenway network last year, citing a lack of available local funding as it shifted resources to fog-seal pavement maintenance and other goals.

The Portland Street Fund under discussion at City Hall this afternoon would, if approved, dedicate 3 percent of its revenue to the neighborhood greenway network, enough to resume greenway network expansion at the rates seen in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

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