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Ask BikePortland: What’s up with Zidell and the future of South Waterfront greenway path?

Ask BikePortland: What’s up with Zidell and the future of South Waterfront greenway path?

City of Portland graphic showing path location in front of Zidell property.

City of Portland graphic showing future path location in front of Zidell property.

Today’s question (actually it’s more of a statement in need of clarification) comes from reader Doug K.:

Zidell says they’ll be building just one more barge. That could clear one of the last major obstacles to completing the Willamette Greenway trail sooner than expected.

Could it? Many of you have contacted about this in the past few days. Here’s the lowdown and background on the issue:

One of the most common signs of Portland’s ever-changing urban landscape is movement of industrial manufacturing away from the the central city. It happened in northwest Portland before the Pearl District became a thing and it’s happening right before our eyes in the central eastside.

The South Waterfront area was never as developed as those two areas but the presence of manufacturing still looms over all the new condos, OHSU medical buildings and food carts. With the announcement last week that Zidell Marine Corporation will stop building shipping barges, many of you instantly thought of the South Waterfront Greenway path.

The path currently ends abruptly at the start of Zidell’s shipyard near the Ross Island Bridge.

Vision for path design XXXXX

One vision for future path design via Pinterest. Notice the nod to shipbuilding.







(Graphic: City of Portland)

(Graphic: City of Portland)

So back to the question: Does Zidell’s announcement mean we’ll be riding on the path sooner than expected? Not exactly.

We asked Portland Parks & Recreation for the official word:

Zidell’s endeavor does not change the timeline for design of the Greenway. That process is already underway. Zidell’s plans could potentially change the timeline for construction, but as we understand it, barge operations in the form of repairs and modifications to existing barges are expected to continue at the site. The announcement mentions that only the building of new barges is being stopped with the one currently being built on the site.

The timeline for the Greenway construction is set forth in the Development Agreement (PDF) between the City and Zidell (ZRZ Realty). This part of the Greenway (from Tilikum Bridge south to Gibbs Street) is identified as “Phase 3” of 3 phases, so the last phase. That phase in the Development Agreement is shown as years 2025-2035.

It has always been anticipated that the Greenway build-out would occur in conjunction with immediately adjacent development. Zidell is undertaking a Master Plan, which will set the timing and location for their development.

The City refers to this section of the path project as the North Reach. You can learn more about it on the Parks bureau website.

Get more burning questions answered in the Ask BikePortland archives.

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

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

The post Ask BikePortland: What’s up with Zidell and the future of South Waterfront greenway path? appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Ask BikePortland: What’s up with Zidell and the future of South Waterfront greenway path?

Ask BikePortland: What’s up with Zidell and the future of South Waterfront greenway path?

City of Portland graphic showing path location in front of Zidell property.

City of Portland graphic showing future path location in front of Zidell property.

Today’s question (actually it’s more of a statement in need of clarification) comes from reader Douglas K.:

Zidell says they’ll be building just one more barge. That could clear one of the last major obstacles to completing the Willamette Greenway trail sooner than expected.

Could it? Many of you have contacted about this in the past few days. Here’s the lowdown and background on the issue:

One of the most common signs of Portland’s ever-changing urban landscape is movement of industrial manufacturing away from the the central city. It happened in northwest Portland before the Pearl District became a thing and it’s happening right before our eyes in the central eastside.

The South Waterfront area was never as developed as those two areas but the presence of manufacturing still looms over all the new condos, OHSU medical buildings and food carts. With the announcement last week that Zidell Marine Corporation will stop building shipping barges, many of you instantly thought of the South Waterfront Greenway path.

The path currently ends abruptly at the start of Zidell’s shipyard near the Ross Island Bridge.

Vision for path design XXXXX

One vision for future path design via Pinterest. Notice the nod to shipbuilding.







(Graphic: City of Portland)

(Graphic: City of Portland)

So back to the question: Does Zidell’s announcement mean we’ll be riding on the path sooner than expected? Not exactly.

We asked Portland Parks & Recreation for the official word:

Zidell’s endeavor does not change the timeline for design of the Greenway. That process is already underway. Zidell’s plans could potentially change the timeline for construction, but as we understand it, barge operations in the form of repairs and modifications to existing barges are expected to continue at the site. The announcement mentions that only the building of new barges is being stopped with the one currently being built on the site.

The timeline for the Greenway construction is set forth in the Development Agreement (PDF) between the City and Zidell (ZRZ Realty). This part of the Greenway (from Tilikum Bridge south to Gibbs Street) is identified as “Phase 3” of 3 phases, so the last phase. That phase in the Development Agreement is shown as years 2025-2035.

It has always been anticipated that the Greenway build-out would occur in conjunction with immediately adjacent development. Zidell is undertaking a Master Plan, which will set the timing and location for their development.

The City refers to this section of the path project as the North Reach. You can learn more about it on the Parks bureau website.

Get more burning questions answered in the Ask BikePortland archives.

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

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

The post Ask BikePortland: What’s up with Zidell and the future of South Waterfront greenway path? appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Dominoes keep falling for a continuous river path in South Waterfront

Dominoes keep falling for a continuous river path in South Waterfront

South Waterfront Greenway path-6

An existing path segment somewhat north of the Prometheus project. White for walking, black for biking.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Last month we were overjoyed to report that automaker Tesla had voluntarily agreed to build a segment of riverfront bike path behind its future showroom on Southwest Macadam.

If a new housing and retail project that entered the city’s development pipeline Monday moves forward, it’d be the final piece of a continuous west-bank greenway from the Sellwood Bridge almost to the Ross Island Bridge — and in the coming years to Tilikum Crossing.

The vacant lot between Southwest Lowell, Lane, Bond and the Willamette River would get four new seven-story buildings with ground-floor retail and 200 to 300 apartments above, under a very early concept plan filed for a pre-application hearing by the local firm GBD Architects, which is representing San Mateo-based Prometheus Real Estate Group. Here’s the site plan for the Prometheus project marking future “recreational trails” with a string of stars:

south waterfront plan







And here’s a more detailed draft of a possible plan for the site, showing the curves of the “possible greenway trails” (which city plans will require the developer to install as a condition of development) along the river.

detailed sowa plan

Zoom out a bit, and here’s the full stretch of path along the waterfront, with each remaining gap marked:

waterfront

Here’s what the (currently disconnected) greenway segment between the Zidell barge drydock and the Prometheus land looks like. It’s one of the only paths in Portland to separate biking and walking:

South Waterfront Greenway path-12

The Zidell land might not fully develop into a planned extension of downtown’s office-tower district for another 10 years. But the Portland Development Commission has agreed to build the path segment through Zidell’s land itself using property taxes collected from new buildings in the area, so it could go in sooner.

Willamette Park is a bit below the southern end of the map above. As we reported last month, Multnomah County just completed the new path segment between the new Sellwood Bridge and Willamette Park.

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

Our work is supported by subscribers. Please become one today.

The post Dominoes keep falling for a continuous river path in South Waterfront appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Willamette Greenway trail link might wait decades if Tesla plan goes through

Willamette Greenway trail link might wait decades if Tesla plan goes through

tesla gap

(Image: Bob Cronk via South Waterfront Facebook group)

Half a mile south of the lonely riverside trail segment derided recently by The Oregonian as a “pathway to nowhere,” the city could miss a chance at a key connection.

Last week, Tesla Motors filed an application to convert an old metal-parts warehouse between Macadam Avenue and the Willamette River into an auto showroom.

But for people who would like to see a continuous riverside trail here, there’s bad news: a special section of city code exempts projects in the South Waterfront from having to connect greenway trail segments on their property unless they’re adding at least 50,000 square feet of new floor space. Because Tesla only plans to remodel the warehouse, not expand it, the unused space behind its shop wouldn’t have to redevelop.

The result is easy to see on Google Maps:

Screenshot 2016-05-04 at 2.09.58 PM

Here’s an overhead view of the area with satellite imagery. The vacant area between The Ardea and the Old Spaghetti Factory is currently owned by a development firm, so the “pathway to nowhere” at the north edge of the site could become continuous soon, except for the Tesla segment.

Screenshot 2016-05-04 at 2.09.36 PM

And here’s what you currently see when you’re biking northbound on the Willamette River Greenway from South Portland, immediately south of the would-be Tesla property:

Screenshot 2016-05-04 at 2.04.32 PM

This proposal has caught the attention of people who know the area well. One of them, Bob Cronk, posted the image at the top of this post on Facebook Tuesday, with the following message:

Tesla should complete their share of the Willamette Greenway Trail!

Tesla is remodeling a warehouse in South Waterfront. Their plans do not include completing their portion of the river path also known as the Willamette Greenway Trail. If you would like to see this trail completed, email Jeff Mitchem at Land Use Services at jeffrey.mitchem@portlandoregon.gov (case file number LU 16-116605 DZ) by May 20th and let him know you want this gap in the trail completed! Each new project in the neighborhood needs to fill in their portion so we will someday have a continuous trail along the river.





But absent some change in the rules, it doesn’t look as if the city can require Tesla to do this. Amid the various Facebook users expressing support for Cronk’s proposal, Cronk posted a reply he received from Mitchem:

You have all emailed me regarding the Tesla proposal (4330 SW Macadam Ave) and Greenway Trail requirements. First, please accept my apologies for not replying to each of you individually, but I’m sure you understand my need for efficient communication during these very busy times. If the following does not adequately address your concern or you seek information about process, please don’t hesitate to call or reply.

Unfortunately, Staff cannot require the Applicant complete the path segment with this proposal as they are not increasing floor area which is the trigger for compliance with approval criteria related to accessway connections/improvements (see relevant code citation below.) However, I have advised that they do so voluntarily (we’ll see how far that gets us.) As for what Staff can do in this Type II Land Use Review, we are limited to reviewing the scope of work as proposed vis-à-vis the applicable standards and guidelines (33.258 Non-conforming upgrades and 33.510.253 Greenway Overlay, Central City Fundamental and South Waterfront Design Guidelines). Please know that I will do everything in my discretionary review powers to ensure this project meets the applicable approval criteria.

FYI, I’ve attached Stipulated Agreement which is the legal mechanism for allowing the gravel area to remain as accessory parking for Tesla for the term of the lease (including options).

And, here’s a quick summary of the relevant Portland Zoning Code sections:

233.440.240 refers to 33.272 which specifies when trails must be constructed. Section 33.272.030.C states that sites in the South Waterfront subdistrict must comply with the regulations of Section 33.510.253. The regulations of that section specify when recreational trails must be constructed within the South Waterfront subdistrict.

33.510.253.D.3 states: Trail and pedestrian connections and public viewpoints. When development on a site, or alterations to structures, the site, or rights-of-way are made which add more than 50,000 square feet of floor area to the site, the applicant must provide public access easements that will accommodate a trail, pedestrian connections that meet the standards of Paragraph e.5.d., Trail and pedestrian connections; and Paragraph E.5.e., Public viewpoints. The square footage added to the site is calculated based on the total amount added, regardless of the amount demolished;

Thank you.

Jeff Mitchem, AICP, urban design planner

This situation has strong echoes of a story from across the river — as it happens, one of BikePortland’s first big stories, broken 10 years ago last month. The recreational vehicle firm SK Northwest moved to block a link of the Springwater Corridor through their property. That resulted in a years-long legal battle but (as yet) no trail connection.

Unfortunately for Cronk, the code does seem clear in this case: it looks as if the city can’t require Tesla or anyone else affiliated with the site to pay for this short trail segment unless they redevelop it more substantially.

That said, it’s not too hard to imagine that there might be another option here. With this tiny segment of trail in play for what might be the last time in decades, the city or some other agency might scramble to find cash to help build it. And Tesla (which almost certainly hasn’t noticed the context of this trail segment) might actually be interested in having a first-rate trail connection running between its showroom and the river, if someone took the time to approach them.

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

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The post Willamette Greenway trail link might wait decades if Tesla plan goes through appeared first on BikePortland.org.

South Waterfront Greenway is open — Go check it out!

South Waterfront Greenway is open — Go check it out!

2015 Greenway Central District credit Bruce Forster1

Now open for business.
(Photo: Bruce Forster)

2015 Greenway Central District credit Bruce Forster2


(Photo: Bruce Forster)

Portland Parks & Recreation officially opened the South Waterfront Greenway Central District project today.

They describe it as, “a city park and valuable transportation corridor with wildlife habitat along the river’s edge – all on land reclaimed from industrial use.”

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That’s a pretty impressive mouthful — but I’d quibble with the “valuable transportation corridor” part since it really doesn’t connect to anything yet.

But still. It’s beautiful to look at and very nice to ride. And it’s Portland’s best example of a separated biking and walking path. I shared a sneak peek back in March with more photos and background on the project. All that’s left to do is for you to go out and ride it.


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First look: New South Waterfront Greenway offers separate paths for walking, biking

First look: New South Waterfront Greenway offers separate paths for walking, biking

South Waterfront Greenway path-12

Stunning new paths — black for biking, white for walking — on the Willamette in South Waterfront.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

I finally got a chance to check out the new section of Portland Parks’ South Waterfront Greenway and I have to say: It just might be the best integration of public space and bike path Portland has ever built.

Now, if we can just make it actually connect to something we’d be in business.

South Waterfront Greenway path-1

The path itself has been over a decade in the making (it first shows up in city plans in 2004) and construction started in earnest about five years ago when the City of Portland purchased a quarter-mile of land along the Willamette River in South Waterfront. The project stalled three years ago due to a lack of funding but City Council finally authorized the final $4.7 million to complete it in February 2014. (The funding source was primarily System Development Charges, or SDCs, which are fees paid to the city by developers to mitigate the impacts of their developments.)

Beyond the world-class design and general excitement about a new section of riverfront bike path in Portland, what makes this project special is that walkers and bike riders will have their own, separate paths. As we’ve seen on the waterfront path just north of this location, overcrowding on Portland’s multi-use paths is a major problem. The separation of uses inherent in this design will (hopefully) alleviate some of the stress and tension of a crowded path where bikers and walkers mix.

Take a little tour and see what you think…

I rolled in at the path’s north entrance on SW Curry Street, or what the Parks bureau calls the “Curry Overlook.” Here’s the view of the path looking north…

South Waterfront Greenway path-2

And looking south…

South Waterfront Greenway path-6

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Another view south showing the entire elevation, including the expansive (and very expensive) shoreline restoration work they had to do…

South Waterfront Greenway path-5

Note that only a small section of the walking path north of Curry St is currently open. Parks has fencing up around most of the path (which I went around to get some of my photos) to make sure the new lawn and other plantings can get established before the official opening later this spring.

South Waterfront Greenway path-9

One thing I like about the design are the subtle markings. Note the classy, inlaid “bike” and “walk” symbols to direct folks to the appropriate path (these are so much better than paint or thermoplastic)…

South Waterfront Greenway path-3

South Waterfront Greenway path-4

Just north of Curry the walking path dives down a gradual ramp into the Willamette. This area will likely be busy as a kayak and canoe launch; and I have a feeling that some folks might tempted to launch off it a la the Cupcake Challenge

South Waterfront Greenway path-10

Like I alluded to above, unfortunately this path comes to an abrupt end north of Curry St at the start of the Zidell Yards (a marine services company) under the Ross Island Bridge, tantalizingly close to another section of existing path…

South Waterfront Greenway path-11

And here’s a look at the southern terminus of the path, south of SW Gaines…

South Waterfront Greenway path-13

Overall, I was very impressed by the public art, the benches, and other furnishings. All are very high-end, built to last, and they make it clear to users that the City of Portland respects this space…

South Waterfront Greenway path-12

Now our challenge is to connect this path to other sections of the existing Willamette River Greenway path to the south and the north. Hopefully that won’t take another 10 years.

— Learn more about this project at the Portland Parks & Recreation website.

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New section of riverfront path in South Waterfront nears completion

New section of riverfront path in South Waterfront nears completion

sowagreen

Looking pretty nice. (View north from SW Gaines.)
(Photo by Portland Parks)

A new, quarter-mile segment of the Willamette Greenway path through the South Waterfront is almost complete. The section of path is part of Portland Parks & Recreation’s South Waterfront Greenway project which was first envisioned in city planning documents in 2004.

sowadetail

Design drawing detail.

The path will run along the Willamette River from SW Lane to SW Gibbs Street. In a first for Portland, it will offer space for cycling and walking that’s physically separated by a row of vegetation. The $4.7 million needed for this phase of the project was paid for with System Development Charges via a City Council vote back in February.

waterfrontpaths

A new piece of riverfront trail is something to celebrate — especially in a such a growing and dense part of the city — but unfortunately we still lack a connected path. Even though Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz has called it a “vital link for commuters,” this new path does not connect to existing sections of the path to the north or the south. These connections will have to wait for future real estate development projects (like the 33 acres owned by the Zidell family) that are in the works.

To share more about this project, PP&R is holding an informational meeting on November 18th at 6:00 pm at Umpqua Bank (3606 SW Bond). As for when we can ride the new path, that will have to wait until Spring 2015 when the official opening is planned once all the new vegetation has had a chance to establish itself.

Learn more at Parks’ website.

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Council votes to spend $4.7 million on South Waterfront Greenway

Council votes to spend $4.7 million on South Waterfront Greenway

With funding just approved, this should be a reality by November.

The South Waterfront Greenway project got a much-needed boost from Portland City Council yesterday when commissioners voted to fund Phase 2 with $4.7 million from their System Development Charges account. The unanimous 4-0 vote (Mayor Hales was absent) came after a frank debate between Commissioner Novick, who voiced objections to the expenditure to former Parks & Recreation Commissioner Nick Fish and current Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz.

With budget season in full force, Novick voiced concerns over yet another capital project moving forward without any funds earmarked specifically for ongoing operations and maintenance. Council was made aware by project staff that the annual maintenance tab for the greenway — which will like come out of the City’s highly competitive General Fund — would be nearly $500,000. Novick ultimately relented with his objections and he made it clear he liked the project. “I just think it’s really unfortunate,” he said, “that the money for maintenance wasn’t built into budget targets as soon as it was approved.”

This path project has been planned for about 12 years. The ultimate vision is to connect it with the existing riverfront path that goes from the Sellwood Bridge to SW Bancroft Street. The “Central District” segment Parks is working on now, a quarter-mile section roughly between SW Gibbs and SW Lane, has proven to be much more expensive to build to due significant environmental clean-up and river habitat restoration also included in the project.

As we’ve reported in the past, the bikeway planned for this path will be higher quality than existing waterfront paths because it will be physically separated from the walking path.

At the Council meeting yesterday, the Commissioners (led by Fritz) spoke glowingly about the what this project will mean to Portland. “Not only is it a way to connect to nature in the heart of our city,” said Fritz, “it is a vital link for commuters, an improvement for our quality of life, and a promise kept to the people of Portland living in what will be the state’s most densely populated neighborhood.” Commissioner Saltzman said finishing this Central District section is key in order to “get people excited about the other sections and keep the dream alive.”

While commissioners were upbeat about the path itself, this vote likely sets up more Council debates in the future over how to pay for operations and maintenance in a bureau that already claims to have a $450 million maintenance backlog.

Phase 1 of this project has cost the City nearly $11 million. Work on Phase 2 is expected to begin this April and be completed by November 2014.

Learn more about this project on the City’s website.