Land Use and Transportation Roundup

7th Avenue Traffic Calming Island
7th Avenue Traffic Calming Island

On the transportation side, a few things are heating up. City staff hosted a meeting about a future NE 7th or 9th avenue bikeway.  There was a strong preference to use 7th in Eliot’s section of the greenway due to it being cheaper and being able to address other safety concerns on 7th avenue at the same time. There is concern from the City’s perspective about diverting many of the cars from 7th to other routes although they have some tools to help this.

7th is a neighborhood street by policy but it currently serves a lot more car trips than it should. This will need to be reduced substantially and to accomplish that, putting some diverters on NE 7th avenue is on the table.  Additionally, MLK, Jr Blvd may get some signal upgrades to help serve some of the car trips that have currently been using 7th.  A big part of the reason to support the 7th avenue route is that it is flatter, has smoother pavement and is already being used by a lot more bicycles than NE 9th avenue. This project is currently unfunded.

Another transportation note without too much detail is that ODOT is contacting parties about the Interstate 5 / NE Broadway intersection project.  It remains to be seen what their timeline is for starting that project.  Eliot has been vocally against this project due to the large construction impacts that it will have. I personally think those plans should go on a shelf and after the big earthquake we’re due for comes, we can build out what is currently in the plans.

A few new developments in the Land Use arena this quarter. A new large public housing building is being proposed on the east side of MLK between Ivy and Cook streets.  It looks like it’ll have one alley of parking in the back, a playground and 5 stories of housing units. The project by itself seems like a good one although it is somewhat concerning that North and Northeast Portland are getting most of the public housing in the city instead of it being spread around evenly as studies have shown to be most effective in helping create a pathway out of poverty. There is still a long list of projects in the pipeline, which you can find at the end of recent Land Use and Transportation Committee agendas.