Upcoming Changes on Williams and Rodney

Williams Ave
Williams Ave before change to 1 lane

On Monday, the transformation of Williams will begin as construction starts on the North Williams Safety Project. There are a lot of changes, but the biggest on Williams is that most of it will be one lane and the bike path is moving to the left side. Rodney will also see the addition of speed bumps and a diagonal traffic diverter at Ivy.

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Vancouver Ave Paving

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has contracted with Dirt & Aggregate Interchange for preventive maintenance and rehabilitation of North Vancouver between Russell and Monroe. Work includes a 3” grind and 3” asphalt pavement overlay, digouts in the roadway to repair failed areas, and re-building several sidewalk corners that do not meet ADA standards. The sequence of work will generally be:

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A Bikeway on Rodney?

Last night Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) held an open house for the “Rodney Bikeway Project” at Immaculate Heart Catholic Church community room. In summary, PBOT wants to make Rodney, from Broadway up to Killingsworth a “Bikeway”. The idea is to give bikers a calm and safe route up and down Rodney. It was a well-attended event.

Looking at the designs, there are three problems to be concerned about.

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New Streetcar Route Serves Eliot

The Loop Streetcar testing on NE Broadway. Photo courtesy Portland Streetcar Inc.

To those who missed the Grand Opening on September 22-23, and are otherwise unaware of it, by the time you read this the Portland Streetcar should be alive, reasonably well, and operating on the southern fringe of Eliot.

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What’s Happening on North Williams?

You may have noticed the ‘Now Renting’ sign at the Albert just north of Fremont street or the dirt being pushed around just south of Fremont on the west side of N Williams for the future New Seasons Market. But these aren’t the biggest changes coming to our neighborhood avenue. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is in the process of applying for a $1 Million grant to make large changes in the right of way.

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The Future of North Williams Avenue

Over the past 14 months, a large group of citizens have spent 20-60 hours each planning and discussing the future of North Williams Avenue. This is a major thoroughfare through Eliot and inner North and Northeast Portland for people riding the bus, walking, bicycling and driving in motor vehicles. The street has historically been home to a dense urban neighborhood and is becoming that once again. In the interim, urban renewal projects and highway construction projects have demolished buildings on the street, displacing many residences and community businesses. Members of the community have spent significant time and energy rethinking the neighborhood with several key goals: encouraging a full-service grocery store, more employment centers for neighborhood residents and dense residential development to replace lost housing. In the coming period of housing and commercial development along N. Williams Avenue we are seeing many of these goals achieved.

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These Are Our Streets!

Since it was platted by Edwin Russell, William Page, and George Williams in 1872, the city of Albina (now Eliot) was set up with a Manhattan-style grid with long east-west blocks that are 2.5 times as long as the north-south blocks. This, combined with the steep cliffs separating the neighborhood from the river made all the north and south streets important connections for a huge area north of Eliot over the last 140 years. In 1888, the Steel Bridge opened and life on the east side was booming. Electric streetcars started running over the bridge in 1889 on the original Albina line. In the early 1900s, streetcars ran up and down Williams and Union (now Martin Luther King, Jr.) Avenues. The speed limit before cars came along was 6mph, with streetcars allowed to go 12mph. Crossing the street was no big problem for the early residents of Albina.

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Got Traffic?

Concept 4c. Three‐Point Interchange (couplet). One of several proposed freeway concepts.

The Central City plan process is in full swing in N/NE Portland.  The process will re-examine and rezone the entire “central city” which includes the Lloyd District, Convention Center, Broadway/Weidler corridor, and portions of Eliot south of Russell.  Our area of town is the first of the four central city “quadrants” to plan.  The effort in this quadrant is unusual in that it includes the participation (and funding) of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).  ODOT’s interest is in improving the freeway between I-84 and I-405.  Improvements to the freeway mainline will require changes to the freeway ramps as they intersect Broadway and Weidler.  ODOT’s preference is for a conventional freeway interchange, which will take up a much larger part of the neighborhood than the current ramps do.  In order to minimize property condemnation and demolition many of their options make use of existing surface streets.  In Eliot, this includes Flint and Hancock, which ODOT’s plans envision as part of the freeway access system.  As a result, traffic on these streets will increase significantly.

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Ride Connection Volunteers

Ride Connection is recruiting volunteer drivers to serve the Eliot Neighborhood and beyond.   The volunteer driver’s role is to provide necessary transportation services to older adults and people with disabilities in the tri-county area who are unable to drive and access public transportation for various needs, often for life-sustaining purposes.

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TriMet Service Changes Coming Soon

This past spring year TriMet held a series public hearings and open houses regarding proposals to cut certain Max and Bus lines.  Public feedback, ridership data, nearby service, transit equity issues and school/job access helped shape the final service cut plan.  For Eliot Neighborhood bus line 33-Fremont and the Max Yellow Line will see some changes.

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