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Metro gives east Portland bikeway and safety projects highest rankings for federal funding

Metro gives east Portland bikeway and safety projects highest rankings for federal funding

map-halsey-safety-access

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.

A $130 million pot of federal funding is up for grabs through Metro’s “regional flexible funding” program. Of that amount, $33 million is up for transportation projects. Unlike most federal funds, RFF money isn’t tied to the federal gas tax and can be spent on a wide variety of projects — including infrastructure that makes it easier to walk and roll.

The 31 proposed projects — four in the freight category where there’s $7.3 million available and 27 in the active transportation category where there’s $25.8 million available — come from pre-existing lists put together by cities and counties throughout the region. A committee at Metro has already given each project a technical ranking and PBOT has earned gold and silver: Their plan to update NE Halsey street and make it easier to walk and roll to the 82nd Avenue MAX light rail station is ranked #1 and their “walking and biking parkway” through the Cully neighborhood on NE 72nd is ranked #2.

Here’s the entire list with final rankings on the right (I’ve put a star next to PBOT’s projects):

rff-rankinglist

The Halsey project is estimated to cost $5.1 million total (PBOT is requesting $3 million from Metro) and would build a new separated bike lane from 65th to 83rd, a neighborhood greenway connection between Tillamook and Halsey along 65th and 81st, and a new multi-use path that would connect 81st (at Halsey) to a new path over I-205 near Gateway Green.

The $6 million Cully Parkway project (PBOT is asking Metro for half that amount) would build a multi-use path on both sides of NE 72nd Avenue from Killingsworth to Fremont.

map-cully-parkway

If funded, the City’s NE Halsey Safety and Access to Transit project would be just the latest bit of good news for this currently auto-centric “high crash corridor.” As we reported last month, PBOT has a shovel-ready project to redesign outer Halsey with buffered bike lanes and new sidewalks between 122nd and the Gresham border. In between these two City projects, the Portland Development Commission has already announced plans to build protected bikeways on the Halsey-Weidler couplet just east of I-205, making it one of the bike-friendliest commercial streets in the entire city.







Map of PDC's Gateway Regional Center shows location of Halsey and Stark in relation to I-205.

Map of PDC’s Gateway Regional Center shows location of Halsey and Stark in relation to I-205.

In addition to the changes on Halsey, PBOT has also requested $300,000 to further develop these projects and do public outreach not just on Halsey but further south on Stark Street as well. Among the goals of their Outer Stark/Halsey Complete Streets project is an, “Evaluation of alternative cross-sections for all roadway segments and major intersection approaches to determine optimal allocation of right-of-way between medians, turn lanes, median islands, travel lanes, bike lanes, sidewalks, parking, etc.” This is the type of outreach and analysis they need to do prior creating concrete designs for significant streetscape changes (like the ones planned for Halsey) in the future. This project has been ranked sixth out of the 27 flexible fund project candidates.

(Note: Both the Halsey-Weidler couplet and the Stark-Washington couplet are part of the PDC’s Gateway Regional Center urban renewal area.)

The key to these strong rankings isn’t just because these projects would improve safety for everyone, it’s because they would do it in a place with above average concentrations of low-income, elderly, and non-white households. “Residents of these communities, many of whom have limited or no access to motor vehicles, and some of whom had been displaced from inner Portland neighborhoods with better active transportation infrastructure,” reads PBOT’s grant application, “will benefit from the ultimately constructed project by having access to safer infrastructure for walking, bicycling and accessing transit.”

If you like the sound of these projects, now is the time to comment. Metro has a great interactive comment map where you can learn more about all the projects. You can also email transportation@oregonmetro.gov or come to a public hearing at 4:00 pm on October 27th at Metro headquarters (600 NE Grand Ave). To see the full project grant applications and learn more about regional flexible funds, see this page at OreognMetro.gov.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Highway amendment fails, Metro committee adopts spending plan

Highway amendment fails, Metro committee adopts spending plan

JPACT meeting.jpg

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.

“If we are truly committed to solving freight bottlenecks and if we are truly committed to air quality we’d be discussing investments that will improve traffic flow.”
— Paul Savas, Clackamas County Commissioner

Back in August 2014 the Bicycle Transportation Alliance zeroed in on this pot of money as a way to bring Safe Routes funding to all 150,000 of the region’s schoolkids. They built up the For Every Kid coalition with 89 partners and campaigned for $15 million to be dedicated to a mix of programmatic (education and marketing) and infrastructure spending around schools. This morning the coalition filled two sides of the Metro Council Chambers with people holding bright yellow signs that read, “Invest in Safe Routes” and “Don’t Cut Biking and Walking.”

As we reported back in March the proposal up for adoption had nowhere near the $15 million the coalition had hoped for. Instead that number was $1.5 million — or just $500,000 per year for the three-year funding cycle. With that battle fought, and the final vote postponed last month until today, the only remaining suspense was whether or not any JPACT member would try to amend the proposal in a significant way.

And boy did one of them try.

The proposal on the table called for bonding $3.78 million out of the flexible fund pot to create $12 million in revenue for freight and active transportation project development: $10 million for “regional bottlenecks” at the I-205 Abernethy Bridge, I-5/I-84 at the Rose Quarter, and Hwy 217; and $2 million for, “capital investment for active transportation projects, including Safe Routes to School for Title 1 schools, regional trails and other regionally significant active transportation facilities.”

Then came Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas.

savas-1







Screenshots from the Paul Savas amendment.

Screenshots from the Paul Savas amendment.

Savas put forward an amendment that would have completely eliminated the $2 million for active transportation projects and he proposed an additional $6 million in project development funds for major highway projects (he named Sunrise Corridor and the Basalt Creek Parkway specifically).

Commissioner Savas said we need more and wider highways because car and truck congestion is causing 30% more toxic fumes to be spewed into the air. “If we are truly committed to solving freight bottlenecks and if we are truly committed to air quality we’d be discussing investments that will improve traffic flow,” he said.

Once put to the committee for discussion, Savas’ amendment was quickly denounced.

Metro Councilor Sam Chase.jpg

Councilor Chase was having none of Savas’ amendment.

Metro Councilor Sam Chase was not thrilled:

“I would really speak out and say that this is not the right approach… We are often looking at one strategy to address freight issues in our region and I think we’re missing the bigger picture… By taking out active transportation, by taking out those components that take cars off the road, we’re fighting against our own economic development strategy. If you talk to business leaders they talk about quality of life and active transportation is part of that. I think it’s short-sighted… I think we need to protect the active transportation investments for the future of our region.”

Savas also wanted to reduce high capacity transit bond commitments by $5 million. TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane said those cuts would be, “Fundamentally nearly fatal to our capacity to advance these projects.”

And then came the final nail in the coffin: Wilsonville Mayor Tim Knapp — representing the cities of Clackamas County — said that even he could not support Savas’ amendment.

Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas.jpg

Mr. Savas garnered no support for his highway-building amendment.

When the vote on his amendment was called, Savas was the only JPACT member to vote “yes” on his amendment. It failed 15-1. And that wasn’t the only lonely vote for Savas. He was also the only person to vote against the policy package that was ultimately adopted.

Here’s a chart showing how the $130 million will be spent (we added a label for the Safe Routes money because the small slice was so hard to see):

Regional Flexible Fund adopted spending categories (2019-2021).(Chart by Metro)

Regional Flexible Fund adopted spending categories (2019-2021).
(Chart by Metro)

When the dust settled, Safe Routes to School didn’t do anywhere near as well as advocates had hoped — but there are some positives.

In addition to the $500,000 per year in Safe Routes program funding, there’s the $2 million in project development and capital investment that will will be split up between capital investments in Safe Routes projects near Title 1 schools, regional multi-use paths, and other active transportation projects. And on the infrastructure side, the adopted proposal includes $26 million for active transportation projects. Another small step for Safe Routes is that improving access to schools has been upgraded to the highest priority in project selection criteria.

This $130 million in spending will be spread out across three years, 2019-2021. The next step is for agencies and jurisdictions to come up with project proposals. Those lists are due to Metro by August and will be out for public comment in October. A final funding decision will be made in January 2017.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Metro proposal rejects Safe Routes to School, spends more on freight routes

Metro proposal rejects Safe Routes to School, spends more on freight routes

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.

“We got left on the cutting room floor.”
— Gerik Kransky, Bicycle Transportation Alliance

Though the most recent federal transportation bill sent $16 million of new flexible money to regional government Metro, Bicycle Transportation Alliance Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky said a Metro proposal circulated last Friday would dedicate none of that to the “Safe Routes” infrastructure program proposed by the BTA.

The organization had organized 3,500 residents to send postcards and emails to Metro’s elected officials in its support.

Among many attempts to demonstrate support, the coalition organized and videoed an evening meeting in East Portland where one person after another testified in five languages that they feared to walk on the streets near their homes.

Metro’s proposal might even increase the amount of money going to freight-related projects. That’s even though five of Metro’s seven elected councilors told BikePortland earlier this month that they would probably not support slicing off more of this program for motor vehicle travel when the state and region already get hundreds of millions of dollars each year for that purpose.

“These are the only sort of flexible dollars that we have in the region,” Kransky said Wednesday. “This is the wrong place to go for those new freight projects.”

build-funding-timeline

Current spending vastly favors highway widening and freight projects (black line) over biking and walking projects (green line).

At recent spending rates, the region’s active transportation network won’t be built until the year 2209. The region’s current road plans would be finished by 2057, and its mass transit plans by 2040.

Metro council could decide to veto proposal

The proposal circulated Friday could send up to $12.5 million of flexible dollars to freight projects, compared with $9.23 million if the current freight program were simply adjusted for inflation.

dirksen

JPACT Chair Craig Dirksen.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

How could this happen even though every Metro councilor we spoke with a few weeks ago said they would almost certainly oppose dedicating a larger share of flexible money to freight?

In part, the answer is that the Metro council itself doesn’t have direct control over federal transportation spending. Instead that money is allocated by a 17-member Metro committee called JPACT, the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, which is made up mostly of elected officials from local governments.

But the Metro council does have one bit of control over JPACT: it could vote to veto the JPACT decision and send it back for revision.






That almost never happens. Craig Dirksen, the Metro councilor who chairs JPACT (and casts the deciding vote there in the event of a tie) told us he’d be “very surprised” if the council were to override JPACT on this issue.

“The way we like to do business is we have conversations with one another and we come to consensus before we vote, so that everybody can be satisfied with what comes out of the discussion,” Dirksen said.

In other words, Metro — the only elected regional government in the country — strives to be a no-drama zone.

All the sitting Metro councilors, with the possible exception of President Tom Hughes, could be described as progressives on transportation issues. Four of the seven (Sam Chase, Carlotta Colette, Kathryn Harrington and Bob Stacey) tend to strongly support infrastructure that reduces the region’s auto dependence. But the agency’s culture of consensus (and the theoretical threat of a suburban revolt against the agency) means that officials who see ever-expanding auto infrastructure as essential to the regional economy have substantial influence, too.

The structure of JPACT also gives more influence to people who live in less populated areas. Multnomah County gets one JPACT vote for its 775,000 residents; Clackamas County gets one vote for its 395,000.

Metro vote set for April 21

rff chart

Under the proposal, new money (the red band above) would be split mostly between transit and freight projects.

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance, whose campaign for Safe Routes has been underwritten in part by the American Heart Association, does seem to have scored one much smaller victory: up to $2.1 million in new Metro support for Safe Routes programming in schools, enough to create walking and biking education and encouragement programs around the region like those the BTA currently provides in Portland schools.

Kransky said the BTA is glad to have that in the proposal, but described it as a small silver lining. The For Every Kid Coalition (led by the BTA along with Upstream Public Health, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Oregon Walks, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, the Asian Pacific-American Network of Oregon and the Community Cycling Center) had asked Metro for $15 million for Safe Routes infrastructure.

“We got left on the cutting room floor,” he said.

There’s still a possibility that Metro could de-fund its other active transportation priorities in the coming years in order to guarantee projects near schools. And it could guarantee that its upcoming transit projects include lots of walking and biking projects that help people reach transit stations.

But neither of those options would meaningfully increase the amount being spent on walking or biking — even as the region considers tying up some of its scarce flexible funds so it can take out long-term loans that would increase the amount it spends on motor vehicles.

The JPACT vote is April 21. The For Every Kid Coalition is pushing a last-ditch effort on social media to block the proposed increase in freight funding.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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Correction 1:40 pm: An earlier version of this post said $17.5 million in new flexible funds will be available from the federal government. It’s more like $16 million.

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Counting votes at Metro: Will the region invest in walking and biking near schools?

Counting votes at Metro: Will the region invest in walking and biking near schools?

Beach Elem. School encourages biking and walking-2

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.

So we called all of them.

Five of the seven people on the Metro council responded. (We left two messages each with the two who didn’t: President Tom Hughes and Councilor Carlotta Collette.) Here’s what we learned:

“We would be making a big mistake if we were to reduce the amount of active transportation dollars.”
— Sam Chase, Metro Councilor

1) This debate is almost entirely about a collection of federal transportation dollars, granted automatically to Metro from multiple sources and rolled into a program called “Regional Flexible Funds.” For the three years from October 2018 to September 2021 — those are the years currently up for discussion, but they’re also sure to be the starting point for future negotiations — it’ll come to about $130 million total.

For comparison’s sake, one mile of sidewalk might cost about $1 million. Portland’s proposed 10-cent gas tax would raise about $15 million for each of four years.

2) This money is probably going to be divided into five different categories. First, $48 million comes off the top to pay down loans TriMet took out in order to build the region’s various MAX lines. Second, about $16 million is being set aside for new purposes; it’s essentially “new money” created by the recent federal transportation bill. Third, $28 million goes to three smaller Metro programs that subsidize dense development, underwrite marketing efforts like the annual Bike Challenge and upgrade traffic signal hardware. Finally, the remaining $38 million is split 75/25 between the last two sources: 75 percent to walking and biking projects and 25 percent to freight-related projects.

Here’s what that would look like on a chart:

rff chart

3) There will almost certainly be unanimous support on the council for preserving what’s known as “the 75/25 split” in that last pot — that is, the relative width of the orange and purple stripes. “It would take convincing to get me to do something different,” said Metro Councilor Craig Dirksen. “We would be making a big mistake if we were to reduce the amount of active transportation dollars,” said Councilor Sam Chase.

4) Every Metro councilor we talked to is open to supporting Safe Routes to School somehow, but each currently has a different plan for doing so. Councilor Bob Stacey, for example, doesn’t envision greatly increasing the total amount of money going directly to active transportation (he seems inclined to spend the new $16 million on mass transit projects instead) but would support making sure that all $28.5 million of Metro’s active transportation flex funds be spent near a school. Councilor Kathryn Harrington, meanwhile, thinks the new money could be split between school projects and off-road paths.

With over 3,500 messages from their constituents being delivered in support of better biking and walking near low-income schools (thanks to an organizing effort by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance), the Metro councilors are under substantial pressure to deliver something seen as a win for Safe Routes projects.

But they’re also facing pressure to spend money on freight improvements (like time-saving traffic signals near Port of Portland land) and public transit improvements (like the Southwest Corridor rail or rapid bus near Southwest Barbur, or the Powell-Division Corridor express bus).

And at the moment, one or both of those seem to be getting priority on the Metro council. Of the councilors we talked to, only Harrington and Chase seemed to be putting forth plans that wouldn’t simply carve new Safe Routes funding out of other money already being spent on biking and walking.





Here’s more on what each councilor said. Keep in mind that this is all preliminary to their final decisions; we only asked them to talk about their thinking on the issue, not to guarantee their votes.

Kathryn Harrington – represents Hillsboro, Northern Beaverton and Forest Grove

harrington

Kathryn Harrington, right, with Westside Economic Alliance Executive Director Pam Treece.
(Photo: Metro)

Freight access issues and other improvements for autos are important, Harrington said, but Metro and the state have plenty of other money that can be spent on them.

“These flexible funds, the heart of these funds is to help build communities and to help people 8-80 move around through our region,” Harrington said. “They only account for less than 5 percent of the overall transportation dollars that we have. … The [federal] FAST Act directs a lot of funding toward roadways and highways that we as individuals take advantage of, but we also have investment needs for transportation options in our communities that help bring communities together.”

Harrington was one of several councilors who brought up the council’s recent “Climate Smart Communities” plan, which sets ambitious goals for boosting biking and walking even faster than it would boost transit. But the plan, she noted, is mostly unfunded.

“Now is the time for us to put the resources behind that agreement,” Harrington said.

Harrington didn’t say she was committed to finding $15 million for Safe Routes, but said she’s receptive to the idea, especially in the areas surrounding the region’s 124 schools where more than half of students are from households poor enough to receive federal aid for lunch. But she wanted to balance that against the continued construction of regional paths like the Council Creek Regional Trail.

Shirley Craddick – represents East Portland, Gresham and Damascus

Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-51

Shirley Craddick, right, with Nancy Hales at the Cycle Oregon Policy Makers Ride in 2013.

Craddick backs Safe Routes investment but says Metro more time to study which schools should get biking and walking infrastructure nearby.

“Because we have such a limited source of funds, we need to be able to focus funds wisely,” she said. “What are the least safe intersections that effect children? That’s where we should be focusing on first.”

Craddick doesn’t think that’ll be possible in the current cycle, so any federal funds for Safe Routes would need to wait until 2022.

“This is going to be something that’s going to take a while,” she said. “We need to bring the school districts together; we need to bring the advocates together.”

She doesn’t support any reduction in spending for freight access.

“[The] freight mode is probably as challenging as the bicycle mode,” she said. “We obviously need to focus on our economy and make sure that freight can get around like it should.”

Sam Chase – represents northern Portland and downtown

N Tualatin Mtns open house-4

Sam Chase at a Metro open house in 2014.

Chase definitely isn’t opposed to transit spending, but he stands out as the councilor saying most clearly that biking and walking have been underfunded compared to transit.

“We are so grossly short on active transportation goals,” Chase said. “It’s going to take more than 100 years to build out our active transportation goals. We should be able to do it in 30 years.”

That’d take four times the money — more than RFF could offer even if it completely eliminated spending on freight.

“Even if you took it from 75 percent to 100 percent, you’re still at just a tiny fraction of the transportation resources for our entire region,” Chase said. “You’re still looking at just a tiny fraction of resources going to active transportation. So we’ve really got to identify strategies that will get significantly more resources into that transportation solution, which may include approaching voters at some point.”

Chase disagrees with Craddick’s call for a regional Safe Routes plan before money is spent.

“I don’t see a huge need for more process,” he said.

Chase said he’s trying to find a “compromise strategy” that would fund both biking/walking and mass transit.

“I understand that people are going towards transit, and that’s an important priority also,” Chase said. “But we also need to find a new way to bring significant resources into Safe Routes to School.”

In particular, Chase is not a fan of locking up RFF money for 20 years to pay off transit construction bonds; he’d rather just spend money up front but not commit to the loan payments. But he’d bow to the group if others insist on that.

“If the general consensus is that we need a larger amount of resources to prepare projects for the Southwest Corridor, Division Corridor,” Chase said, “then I’m OK with that.”

Bob Stacey – represents southern Portland

Safe Routes rally at Metro meeting-3.jpg

Bob Stacey speaks at a rally last month for regional Safe Routes funding.

Stacey was the one councilor who called us before we called him — he heard that we were working on a story and wanted to make sure he could share his take.

“I am one Metro councilor that’s voting yes for $15 million for Safe Routes to School, and I intend to stick by that as we negotiate the contours,” Stacey said. “I have been so impressed by the strength of their support and by the strength of their logic that I participated in that rally at Metro last week at which they submitted several thousand postcards to members of the JPACT committee.”

Stacey’s suggestion for doing that is twofold: first, he wants to use one of Metro’s smaller programs, the regional travel options fund, to pay for more Safe Routes education programs in schools. This would come out of money currently being spent on other education and marketing programs around the region.

Second, he wants to change the criteria for the existing biking and walking funds to make sure some or all of the projects serve schools, especially ones with many poorer children.

“I can easily envision spending all 75 percent on Safe Routes to School mobility projects,” Stacey said.

Stacey is also deeply opposed to spending future federal windfalls on auto capacity projects, something he said happened in the last few years with minimal political debate.

As for the new $16 million, Stacey said his top priority is to help build the Barbur and Powell-Division transit corridors. (It’s worth noting that both of those would get federal matching funds to improve biking and walking connections to transit.)

Craig Dirksen – represents Wilsonville and southeastern Washington County

Tigard Get Together-9

Craig Dirksen, then the mayor of Tigard, at a BikePortland Get Together in 2010.

Dirksen also chairs the committee of local officials (the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation) that has direct control over the federal dollars.

“Metro doesn’t really have the authority to override JPACT,” Dirksen said. “The most we can do is if we disagree with it, we have the authority to send it back to JPACT and say ‘try again.’”

He thinks that’s unlikely.

“I have never seen it happen and I would be very surprised if it happened,” Dirksen said. “The way we like to do business is we have conversations with one another and we come to consensus before we vote, so that everybody can be satisfied with what comes out of the discussion.”

Dirksen said he never makes decisions in advance of hearing from everyone, but in general did not seem interested in reducing either transit or freight spending for Safe Routes.

“The mama bird comes back to the nest and there’s a lot of open beaks and only so many worms,” Dirksen said. “As the economy grows and we see greater congestion, greater demand for moving goods around the region and whatnot, we run the risk of starving that option as well if we choose to do something else.”

As for mass transit, he said: “If we want to move forward with these future projects, be they Southwest Corridor or Powell-Division or whatever, we need to find a source for that as well.” Locking up the new federal money for transit bonds, he said, “would be in line with what we’ve done in the past.”

Dirksen seemed open to Stacey’s plan to carve Safe Routes money out of existing biking/walking money, though he might not go as far as allocating all of it for the purpose.

In fact, he said, many potential Safe Routes projects near schools are probably already in Metro’s Active Transportation Plan.

“I would guess that a lot of the projects in there would probably qualify,” Dirksen said.

JPACT’s next meeting is Thursday, March 17. If you’d like to contact the councilors to let them know what you think (whatever it might be) the For Every Kid Coalition has a page to help do that.

Correction 5:21 pm: An earlier version of this post incorrectly described Metro’s support of past MAX construction bonds. TriMet issued the bonds; Metro sends payments to TriMet to help pay them down.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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Advocates fear loss of dedicated biking and walking funds from Metro

Advocates fear loss of dedicated biking and walking funds from Metro

JPACT meeting-2

A JPACT meeting at Metro.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

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).

Prior to 2010 the allocation was done on a project-by-project basis; but freight advocates began to cry foul when active transportation projects started gobbling up all the money. So in 2010 freight and business interests lobbied for a big change: They proposed that 75% of the funds should go to freight projects and just 25% should go to active transportation projects.

They lost.

“The policy takes us back to the era when it was unique to put a sidewalk or bike lane on a project. It’s not unique anymore.”
— Roy Rogers, Washington County Commissioner

When the votes were cast, Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) voted 7-6 to flip that proposal and instead give active transportation 75% of the funds and freight 25%. While it represented a decrease in bike funding from the previous year, The Bicycle Transportation Alliance hailed the vote as a major victory because it guaranteed bike funding and it quelled a major freight money-grab.

This allocation cycle happens every three years. In 2012, when JPACT voted against using the 75/25 split and instead threw freight, active transportation, and even traditional highway projects all into the same pot — biking and walking didn’t do well, receiving just $9 million of $39 million dollars in funding.

Now the drama around this funding source is heating up again.

JPACT, a 17-member committee made up of mayors, commissioners and agency directors from around the region, met yesterday to decide how the present this policy to the public. Metro staff asked them for input on how to present the policy to the public in advance of a comment period which starts in January. Here are the two options that Metro staff presented to JPACT for feedback (taken from meeting packet):

Do you think we should:
a) set aside some money for walking and biking improvements and some for freight improvements, letting the projects compete within these two categories? [maintain the 75/25 split]

b) put all of the funds toward an overall group of projects that could collectively demonstrate benefits to both walking or biking and freight movement? [do away with dedicated pots]

JPACT member Tim Knapp, the mayor of Wilsonville who represents the cities of Clackamas County, said they want to do away with the 75/25 split. “There’s a strong feeling among all of our cities that we need to not keep carving into smaller and smaller portions.” Small portions, he and others argue, make it, “increasingly difficult to fund anything significant.” A system that put all the funds together and then made each project meet certain evaluation criteria would be better, Knapp said.


Multnomah County Commissioner Diane McKeel said she also wants to remove the 75/25 split because it presents “a lot of challenges for us in developing a complete project.”

Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle, one of JPACT’s Washington County representatives, echoed Knapp’s comments and added that the current language is too difficult for the public to fully grasp. Like Knapp, he’d rather ask people about their values. “Make it more understandable… hit the 7th grade [reading] level,” he said.

Metro Council Vice-Chair Shirley Craddick went against the grain and said she wants to maintain the 75/25 split. “The public is smarter than we generally give them the benefit of when we sit around tables like this,” she said. Craddick added that the dedicated pots should be maintained because of the lack of funding options that exist for active transportation projects. “We have tendency to move them [dollars] all into highway projects,” she said. “The goal was to protect those funds.” If the policy was changed and it was just one large pot, Craddick wants to make sure walking and biking projects don’t get left out.

Many of the voices in favor of dropping the 75/25 policy say it’s not needed because biking and walking are already engrained into the policies of every jurisdiction. Even highway projects they say, now almost always include bike lanes, so there’s no need for dedicated funding.

“We believe that dedicating funds is truly the only way to ensure our priorities are funded regularly and consistently.”
— Gerik Kransky, Bicycle Transportation Alliance

On that note, Washington County Commissioner Roy Rogers said option A is “counterproductive.” “We understand we’re a multimodal system. About 25% of all our project costs go to walking and biking.” Rogers said JPACT members could be trusted to not “deviate” from biking and walking projects. He said the dedicated funding approach, “The policy takes us back to the era when it was unique to put a sidewalk or bike lane on a project. It’s not unique anymore.”

Should bike advocates trust Rogers that he and other electeds would still fund active transportation if they weren’t forced to? Bicycle Transportation Alliance Advocacy Director Gerik Kranksy doesn’t think so. He issued a BTA action alert today urging people to email JPACT members and tell them to keep the 75/25 split. He thinks without dedicated pots, all the money will to go auto-centric road projects.

“We believe that dedicating funds is truly the only way to ensure our priorities are funded regularly and consistently,” Kransky wrote in the action alert.

“Whatever answer the public gave, I still think we should pursue a 75/25 split.”
— Steve Novick, Portland City Commissioner

He has reason to be suspicious. In 2010 Rogers was one of the six JPACT members who voted against the 75/25 active transportation/freight project split. At that time we were in a recession and freight projects were synonmous with economic development. “Frankly, if we want to keep this economy going,” Rogers said. “Anything that helps the business community we have to take a hard look at.”

Where does the City of Portland stand? City Commissioner Steve Novick said he wants to stick with the 75/25 split whether it’s specifically stated in policy or not. (He clarified his stance with me in a phone call after the meeting.) “The question we’re proposing to ask the public isn’t inconsistent with the idea of a 75-25 split,” he said. “Whatever answer the public gave, I still think we should pursue a 75/25 split. And although we go with option b, it might involve making some judgment calls about how much of a project is bike and ped and how much is freight.”

For what it’s worth, the City of Portland’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committees took an informal vote on the policy at their meeting earlier this week. A majority of their members said (not surprisingly) that they’d support a flexible fund allocation that asks for 100% to be invested in biking and walking.

The main argument from active transportation advocates is that there are many other large funding sources for freight projects, and only a precious few for biking and walking. That argument is even stronger now after passage of the federal FAST Act which includes two new freight funding programs, one of which will send $80 million (over five years) to Oregon.

At this point it seems likely that JPACT will vote to end the 75/25 split. If they do, Metro says it would be possible to set up an evaluation system to make sure projects “achieve certain outcomes.”

(While the BTA will fight to maintain the existing policy, they are also pushing to get more money from these flexible funds for Safe Routes to School. We’ll have more on that next week.)

Update, Saturday 8:06 am: We’ve clarified and changed Commissioner Novick’s stance on the issue after he contacted us to explain it further.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org


The post Advocates fear loss of dedicated biking and walking funds from Metro appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Path under construction will link Springwater system to central Gresham (photos)

Path under construction will link Springwater system to central Gresham (photos)

gresham path lead

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.

When it opens sometime this year, it’ll be a million-dollar upgrade to the made path that’s run in the grass alongside the tracks for years.

made path

Here’s a Metro map of the route, with the Springwater Corridor and Gresham-Fairview Trail marked in green:

MAXPath-route-map

David Daly, Gresham’s engineer on the project, said Tuesday that the route will be fully ready to ride by Oct. 17 at the latest. That’s the contracting firm’s deadline to finish everything, including new plantings.

Daly said the path might open sooner than that.

“The track belongs to our contractor until they’ve reached substantial completion,” he said. “We’ve had good weather this spring, so we’ve been able to keep out ahead of schedule so far.”

On Sunday, with construction halted for the moment, a friend and I headed west on the future path out of downtown Gresham. Though I wouldn’t recommend it as a transportation route with or without anyone at work, it was easy to see what a nice amenity this will be once it’s complete.

It runs adjacent to TriMet land, interacting gracefully with stops along the way like the Civic Drive station here:

josh by mid rail stop

trucks on right

As it approaches Ruby Junction, the route cuts beneath the rail line:

under the arch

And almost to the Ruby Junction station, it meets the existing Gresham-Fairview Trail, which runs south to the Springwater.

trail intersection

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Another option for folks headed toward Portland is to follow this sidewalk just south of the Ruby Junction station…

ruby junction

past ruby junction

…and onto Yamhill Street, which is moderately comfortable at best due to wide lanes and regular traffic. Fortunately, this section is due for some modest improvement — sharrow markings in the lane — thanks to a Regional Travel Options grant from Metro announced last week.

yamhill uncomfortable

…until you reach a calmer part of the street.

yamhill comfortable

Yamhill, in turn, connects to Main Street and the planned 4M Neighborhood Greenway, which snakes all the way west through the neighborhoods to Interstate 205.

parkrose school

After navigating our way east using the narrow, busy Springwater on a sunny weekend morning, seeing the wide right-of-way set aside for this path was its own sort of fresh air.

You can read Gresham’s account of the trail plans here.

If I have any major concerns about the route, it’d be nighttime safety in a setting that’s quite separate from the street grid — “ultimately, the best way to deter crime and vandalism on the trail is to have a large volume of users,” the city writes — and that other bane of the outer Springwater: the street crossings. It won’t be until we see the design elements there that it’ll be clear whether this nice new facility is going to make itself truly obvious to people whenever they drive across it.

The post Path under construction will link Springwater system to central Gresham (photos) appeared first on BikePortland.org.

As Congress drops Safe Routes to School, advocates ask Metro to step in

As Congress drops Safe Routes to School, advocates ask Metro to step in

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)

Second in a week-long series about the BTA’s five new advocacy campaigns.

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.

“Safe Routes,” as it’s often known for short, paid for in-school walking education workshops for 2nd and 3rd graders, biking education classes for 4th and 5th graders and safety infrastructure like crosswalks and traffic signals near elementary and middle schools.

“Safe Routes [to School] funding is gone, but the basis that was laid over the past 10 years prior to that has really helped show people how effective it can be.”
— Kari Schlosshauer, Pacific Northwest Regional Policy Manager for the Safe Routes National Partnership

But the 2012 federal transportation bill pulled dedicated funding, instead letting states and regions decide whether or not to continue the program using their federal allocations.

In Portland, the program has been so popular that the city and Portland Public Schools began paying for it in 2006 using their own money. This month, a coalition of advocates including the Bicycle Transportation Alliance launched a charge for Metro to use federal funds to do the same thing across the region.

“Safe Routes funding is gone, but the basis that was laid over the past 10 years prior to that has really helped show people how effective it can be,” said Kari Schlosshauer, Pacific Northwest Regional Policy Manager for the Safe Routes National Partnership. “It’s a great time for it. it seems like there’s a lot of desire from it around the region that I’ve seen.”

The strategy, in a nutshell, is to rally suburban families and school districts to convince the Metro regional government that every school deserves the programs that many Portland elementary schoolers already get.

“Gresham’s a great example of a community where there’s a groundswell of interest and support for Safe Routes to Schools among school district personnel, community members, partners,” BTA Deputy Director Stephanie Noll said in an interview. “Folks working in the schools are on board. The one thing that’s missing is funding.”

If it’s to be found, the BTA says that funding would come the place some of the federal money landed after Congress abandoned Safe Routes: in the Metro regional government’s regional flexible fund allocation.

The goal is for $2 million to $11 million every two years, out of a total regional flexible funding pot of $90 million to $120 million.

BTA Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky said the organization hopes to secure that money without forfeiting any of the regional flexible funds that Metro already dedicates to active transportation.

“There’s plenty of room for a $2 to $11 million allocation to safer routes to schools for our kids all across the region without reducing the amount of money we are currently investing in bicycle, pedestrian and transit capital projects,” Krasky said.

Kransky said he sees Safe Routes as a way to build political support for active transportation — sort of nascent American version of the successful “Stop de Kindermoord” movement that kicked off the Dutch embrace of bicycle infrastructure in the 1970s.

And Noll noted that infrastructure around schools is often infrastructure the whole neighborhood can use to get around safely.

“They don’t just serve our schools,” she said. “They make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. But it really makes sense to start with our most vulnerable community members.”

Quick take: BikePortland’s summary of the project

safe routes

Safe Routes supporters at the BTA’s member meeting this month.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Where the idea comes from: The BTA coordinates Oregon’s Walk + Bike Network, a forum for interested parents, school officials and faculty and other advocates for better student transportation. The concept of metro-level funding developed from their conversations.

Obstacles: Advocates will need to win votes, probably some time in the next year, at JPACT, a Metro committee dominated by suburban politicians, and the regional Metro council.

Likely tradeoffs: Regional flexible funds are in stiff demand because they’re flexible. In the last few years, both TriMet and freight interests have grabbed some of them despite the comparatively small size of the funding stream. To get dedicated Safe Routes funding, it’ll probably need to be perceived not as “more stuff for the bike people” but as a way to support schools and education.

How you could help: Contact BTA Safe Routes to Schools advocate LeeAnne Ferguson: (503) 226-0676 x26 or leeanne@btaoregon.org. Sign the BTA’s petition to Metro. Attend the Safe Routes coalition meeting at 2 p.m. this Thursday, Aug. 28, at Woodstock Library.

Check back each day this week for another post in our series about new advocacy campaigns.

The post As Congress drops Safe Routes to School, advocates ask Metro to step in appeared first on BikePortland.org.

An annotated map to the future of bicycling in downtown Portland

An annotated map to the future of bicycling in downtown Portland

Map 5d from the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability’s West Quadrant Plan “Transportation Modal Concepts” series. (Modified with numbers by BikePortland)

For months, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has been mum about its ideas for how to spend the $6.6 million for better downtown transportation that has been working its way through the bureaucratic pipeline.

Yesterday, Metro Council approved the plan. So it’s high time we got the serious speculation started — and the map above is a fine place to begin.

This is map 5d from the city’s West Quadrant Plan, which is planning the future of the area most Portlanders just call “downtown.” It’s focused on which routes and connections the city would prioritize for bike traffic over the next few decades or so. Even though it’s actually a long-term planning document, this map was put together with lots of help from transportation planner Mauricio LeClerc of PBOT, who’s plugged in to the short-term discussions happening behind the scenes at PBOT.

Early this week, I spoke with LeClerc about some of the many interesting details of this map — which, keep in mind, includes many long-term goals as well as possible short-term ones.

Downtown, LeClerc said, “should be a nice place to bike around,” especially with “bikeshare and all the new users that will come with that.” Yet “the bicycle network is the least developed in the west quadrant, in the central city in general” compared to the rest of Portland, he said.

Here are a few details from their long-term plan to fix that.

1) The Broadway Bridge connection.

New striping on Broadway ramp-2

The Post Office is on the right.

We noticed two things about this part of the map right away. First, it’s the only downtown crossing that’s not marked as having “access issues.” Though Northwest Broadway’s wide new bike lanes are a big improvement, the connection is far from perfect. Should we be calling the west-side bridge landings the Great Wall of Portland Biking?

Second, the marked bike routes here go straight through a large building … the downtown Post Office. “The Post Office is the Post Office, and they may not want to move,” LeClerc said. On the other hand, they “may want to relocate to the airport,” at least their trucking operation. That’d create some big new possibilities for the Northwest. LeClerc said he’d heard “employment industrial more than residential” discussed for the area. But in the absence of long-term information, the planning office simply drew a line through the property, which has some interesting effects (see No. 5 below).

2) The Flanders crossing of I-405.


View Larger Map

Step into your time machine: LeClerc said to make this crossing work, we’ll need a bridge.

“This is a long-term vision,” LeClerc said. “That’s all very expensive, but that’s how we build what we’ve [planned].”

A bridge here — between downtown and the dense neighborhoods of Northwest Portland — was very close to a reality; but after political pressure became too intense, mayoral candidate Sam Adams scrapped the idea in 2008. A new bridge over I-405 is still in the 2030 bike plan, which designates Flanders as the only continuous bike corridor in the area.

3) The Couch crossing of I-405.


View Larger Map

Though neither Burnside or Couch is marked as a bike corridor, LeClerc said this tough crossing might finally get some help “very soon” in making it less auto-dominated.

“We got some TIP money to make improvements in that area,” he said. “We will take some of the roads out and install a couple more signals. [At Couch] we’re going to make it more obvious that you’re actually crossing a street.”

4) SW Second Avenue: downtown’s missing north-south bikeway?


View Larger Map

If you don’t want to cross Naito and don’t feel like mixing with the absurd traffic behaviors on the transit mall, downtown is not an intuitive place for biking north and south.

LeClerc said a dedicated bikeway on Second Avenue could solve that.

“Fourth has a lot of auto demand and a lot of parking structures, and a lot of demand for right turns onto the bridges, so we thought a bike lane would create a lot of conflicts,” LeClerc said. Second, by contrast, “can get you up from Southwest Portland, but also it can get you access to the bridges and Old Town.”

On the other hand, Fourth Avenue is a popular place to drive for the same reasons it could be a popular place to bike: it’s closer than Second Avenue to many popular destinations and it provides a good connection to the Broadway Bridge. Still, Second Avenue could work.

5) A Park Blocks bikeway?


View Larger Map

Remember when Adams was planning a parking-protected bike lane on the North Park Blocks as part of his first 100 days as mayor? Me, neither. But some have thought for years that the Park Blocks could make a great connector — even a car-free space like they are near Portland State University.

This idea is vague — planners simply drew a line down the middle of both the north and south Park Blocks — but it’s too interesting to ignore, especially if it could be a straight shot from the Broadway Bridge to the Powell’s Books area and on south to PSU.

6) Freeway caps.


View Larger Map

At a conference last spring, I heard a Florida traffic engineer say Portland will never live up to its mythical reputation until it removes the “noose” of freeways that “choke” its central city. The city has no plans to do that — in fact, it’s looking for ways to invest in the freeway connections in an effort to remove speeding traffic from the streets near PSU — but it is making long-term plans to build “caps” over I-405 at these shaded areas, perhaps as part of the same project.

“It is abstract, but it’s a desire,” LeClerc said. “It’s just filling in a tunnel. You can actually cap something and maintain the mobility underneath. … Reconnecting the PSU area south of downtown to the area just south of it — reconnecting that barrier that the freeway creates — that’s something we would like to do.”

City Council backs $21 million for better walking and biking, citing boost to economy

City Council backs $21 million for better walking and biking, citing boost to economy

Commissioner Steve Novick at Green Lane Project event

Commissioner Steve Novick speaking at a
Green Lane Project event earlier this week.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The ways people talk about active transportation seems to be changing in Portland, both inside and outside of government.

At a unanimous City Council vote Wednesday in favor of $20.7 million in federally backed walking and biking improvements throughout the city, including $9.1 million to enact parts of the East Portland in Motion plan and $6.6 million for what promises to be a historic upgrade of central Portland bike facilities, people on both sides of the council dais were repeating an idea that isn’t always common: Improving biking improves the city for people who don’t.

Leading the shift: new Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick, who echoed and rephrased some of the observations we shared from his speech two nights before.

“It should be obvious to everybody that the freight improvements are connected to economic development,” Novick said Wednesday, referring to $4.1 million dedicated to efficient truck movement. “But the things that make it easier to walk and bike are economic investments. … There’s a couple of ways to improve your family’s economic position. One is to make more money, and one is to reduce your expenses. Active transportation investments help people reduce their expenses.”

The city said it would match $22.2 million in federal flexible funds, which would be awarded by regional agency Metro, with $2.6 million in local money for a total of $24.8 million in freight and active transportation projects. Full details are on the city’s website.

Novick also noted that more comfortable sidewalks, street crossings and bike lanes help businesses by cutting their health care costs.

“It’s obvious to people that when people bike, they’re healthier,” Novick said. “They’re also healthier when they have access to transit … because they’re walking.”

Commissioner Nick Fish, following Novick in voting to prioritize the biking and walking projects, congratulated the commissioner on what he said was Novick’s “finest speech to date” from the council bench.

Another theme that emerged: adding clearer separation between auto, bike and foot traffic, using physical barriers or simply more dedicated space, improves things for people on foot.

“One of the ways to make downtown more welcoming is to be able to walk on a one-way street and not have a bicycle coming at you,” said Charles Johnson, who testified at the hearing. “Are any city resources being expended to make the majority of the Portland population get around without being made to come face to face with a selfish cyclist on a sidewalk?”

Prompted by a question from Fish, Bicycle Transportation Alliance Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky testified along similar lines, though he phrased things differently.

“We’ve become victims of our own success,” Kransky said, talking about the quantity of bike and foot traffic in the central city. “It used to be that a multi-use path 10 to 14 feet in width was the gold standard. … We’re finding that that’s not enough.”

crossing PMLR bridge

Rendering of the path over TriMet’s
new bridge connecting Southeast
Portland to the South Waterfront.

The Hawthorne Bridge’s sidepaths are 10 feet wide. TriMet’s new bridge, which will also be shared by people biking and walking, will be 14 feet in each direction.

Some of the grant money will go to improving bike connections on the west landing of that new bridge.

“That section will open the door to bikes and pedestrians from the entire Southeast Portland neighborhood to the South Portland area,” said Roger Gertenrich, a former mayor of Salem who now lives near the South Waterfront.

Economic growth and pedestrian comfort weren’t the only issues raised Wednesday; many said the projects would improve safety for people on bikes and foot.

“They’re not just about livability, though that’s important,” Novick said, just before casting his vote in favor of the citywide sheaf of projects. “They’re not just about global warming, though that’s important. They’re not just about safety, though that’s very important. They’re also economic investments. Aye.”

Open house next week shows off five grants that promise street fixes

Open house next week shows off five grants that promise street fixes

cool bike rack in downtown Portland oregon

Downtown is one of several neighborhoods that
could benefit from these grants.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A fleet of major projects to improve bike and foot travel in downtown Portland, East Portland, SE Foster Road, SW Barbur Boulevard and Southwest Portland’s neighborhoods will be competing for dollars and attention with freight-related projects at an open house next week.

The five projects are among many competing for $94 million from Metro’s regional flexible fund allocation, one of the few channels of federal support for bike and walking transportation.

“Your feedback can help decide which projects get recommended to receive funding,” Metro says on its website, which is one week from tonight in the Portland Building at 1120 SW 5th Ave (PDF).

Here are the bike-related projects up for feedback, in person or by email to dan.bower@portlandoregon.gov:

East Portland: $8.3 million for numerous changes including $3 million for sidewalk and crossing improvements on Southeast Powell Boulevard, $1.5 million for missing sidewalks, crossings and walking connections identified by East Portland in Motion and the TriMet Pedestrian Network Analaysis, $1.5 million for six miles’ worth of the 100s and 150s neighborhood greenways, and $2 million for crossings, stops and shelters that’ll “greatly enhance service, safety and operations for public transportation users.” Full details in this PDF.

Downtown: A $6 million upgrade to downtown biking and walking that city staff describe as “one of the most significant investments in active transportation this region has experienced in several years.” We’ve previously covered this proposal in February and May. It doesn’t yet identify which streets would see these improvements, but it’s part of a plan to prepare downtown for major residential development by making streets safer and more traffic-efficient.

This project would also include “preliminary development of a new greenway trail south of the Marquam Bridge, providing access to the new transit bridge serving the South Waterfront.” Full details in this PDF.

Riding Portland's urban highways-25

One grant would better connect bike
lanes on Barbur Boulevard.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Southeast Foster Road: $2 million to help turn the stretches of this road between Southeast 63rd and 77th avenues and between 80th and Interstate 205 into “regional main streets” by making the street “a safe, pleasant, attractive and comfortable place to walk” and adding “dedicated bicycle facilities on Foster.” Full details in this PDF.

Southwest Barbur Boulevard: $1.8 million to connect gaps in the sidewalks and bike lanes between Southwest 19th Avenue and 26th Way/Barbur Court, including major upgrades to the crossings at Southwest 22nd Avenue and the Southwest Barbur Court connections to 26th Way. Full details in this PDF.

Southwest in Motion: $272,000 to create a five-year strategy for transportation improvements to all of Southwest Portland south of Sunset Highway and outside the South Waterfront. This would be modeled on the city’s recent East Portland in Motion project. Full details in this PDF.

Taken together, these five proposals represent $18.3 million of the $122 million requested by various Multnomah County governments, many of whom (like Portland) included active transportation as well as freight projects in their requests. Metro has $95 million to spend.

Projects will be selected for funding by JPACT and the Metro Council in October, based in part on comments received at next week’s open house and/or sent to Active Transportation Division Manager Dan Bower at dan.bower@portlandoregon.gov.