There wasn’t too much Land Use news this month, but on the transportation side of things there were a number of things happening. First and foremost, the gas tax increase of 10 cents/gallon increased, which will provide money for repaving and reconfiguring some streets. This is seen as an opportunity to get changes on NE 7th avenue including removing the unsafe roundabouts which have caused many crashes over the years. There is a group of folks focused on making NE 7th a better place to be and a safer place to walk and bike.
Nearby Eliot, on NE Broadway from 7th to 24th there was a demonstration project that narrowed Broadway from 3 lanes to 2 and showed that crosswalks every block make a difference and that 2 lanes is plenty to handle the traffic load on Broadway. It might not seem like these things are connected but they are — traffic engineers at PBOT are not allowed by code to put in crosswalks without traffic signals unless the road only has 2 vehicle lanes. This project was put on by Better Block PDX, the group that also runs Better Naito and is doing 3 other projects this summers as well. The advocacy group the Broadway Weidler Alliance is continuing to push the city towards short and long-term improvements to the Broadway-Weidler corridor.
And finally- near and dear to my heart is the Rodney greenway project which has been slowly getting constructed. Most of the improvements in Eliot have been completed except for the improved crossings at Russell and Fremont. However there is 1 element of the project that I have been pushing to have changed. The city proposed turning the stop signs on all local streets as they have on other greenway projects (example: NE Going St.) The Eliot LUTC, thinking they know better than city traffic engineers, requested that a stop sign between Russell and Fremont be left facing north/south. Recently there have been crashes and near misses at this intersection including at least one car/bike crash. No one wants to witness or encourage crashes with bad design, but we are currently in a position where the Eliot LUTC may be doing just that. There are 2 problems: a) Monroe from MLK to Williams is a really long stretch of local street without a stop sign: over 1000 feet or 0.2 miles. b) Because most of the stop signs are turned on bicycle routes, folks are not used to stop signs when intersecting with other local streets and there may be reduced awareness of riders at this intersection. We recently had a vote where 2 voted to turn the stop sign, 2 voted to keep it as is and 2 abstained (1 member was absent). We are the only thing keeping the city from turning this stop sign. Please help convince a member of the Eliot LUTC to change their mind or the city to overrule our committee.