Foster Streetscape Diary #3: Meeting Audio Now Online

Audio and other materials online

Foster United is pleased to provide full audio recordings of Streetscape and other local meetings for download on our Community Library page here. We hope availability of these recordings and other meeting materials will allow people who can’t attend to stay up to speed.

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Lents Neighborhood Meeting

The Lents Neighborhood Association (LNA) has put out an announcement for members to give input on the Streetscape plan update. Association Chair Nick Christensen represents Lents on the Streetscape committee and is asking neighborhood residents and businesses to participate in a discussion of the plan during the next LNA meeting on Tuesday November 27, 7pm, at the Lents Activity Center at 8835 SE Woodstock.

How impactful this input will be remains to be seen, however. At the committee meeting last week, Christensen unequivocally stated that his goal for the project is to “preserve four lanes of traffic.”

Analysis of the impacts on traffic and safety from the various street options will be presented at the Streetscape Committee’s December meeting.

The missing section of Foster Road

At last week’s Streetscape Committee meeting, PBOT staffers walked through various options for future street profiles. Oddly, there was no discussion of the area from 50th to 52nd Avenues –the home to a dozen businesses, plenty of pedestrians and no bike improvements at all.

Project Manager Mauricio Leclerc seemed to take improvements here off the table, saying that the traffic counts were too high to permit any changes. He also suggested that there isn’t a need for attention to this area, since 50th and Powell are not bike routes.

But the City’s 2010 Bicycle Plan clearly anticipates an in-roadway bike lane on Foster that extends west all the way to 50th. (And in fact, anticipates a bike lane on Powell itself eventually.)

The City’s Bike Plan shows the new bike route (the blue dotted line) extending the length of Foster from Powell Blvd to Lents. The full-size Bike Plan Map is here. (Warning: this is a fairly large file.)

I’ve seen plenty of pedestrians trying to cross in this area –to and from Speedboat Coffee, Diane’s Diner and other busy spots –without a crosswalk anywhere. There’s also the often ignored lane divider intended to keep westbound traffic from making a left into the post office.

This area has all the same issues as the rest of Foster –which is to say it needs quite a bit of help. Let’s hope the committee puts it back on the table.

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6 Responses to Foster Streetscape Diary #3: Meeting Audio Now Online

  1. Cora Potter says:

    The section between 80th and 84th was also not included. It’s also noted as the most dangerous section in the existing conditions report.

    There are probably numerous complications with implementing anything in these areas though, because they are highway interchanges. If PBOT is avoiding them for this reason, then they should be straightforward about that.

  2. Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

    The original streetscape plan doesn’t shy away from those sections, and they won’t be forgotten during our process.

    I suspect their exclusion from the cross-sections has more to do with the fact that they are both high volume intersections, and will need to have their own unique designs that cannot be expressed appropriately in a single scross-section drawing.

    The PBOT planner did say that once the cross-section ideas get narrowed down a bit, they will start to do corridor plan drawings. This should include the intersections, and let us see how they plan on handling those areas.

    The planner also said that since neither 50th, nor Powell contain a bikeway at the moment, the Foster bikeway may just start at 52nd. When the planned facilities on those street are implemented, they’ll work on connections at that point. Now that I think about it, it’s important to make sure that 50th-52nd stretch is ‘bikeway ready’ if they choose to go that route.

  3. Brett Holycross says:

    I agree… any improvements to 50th-52nd should not eliminate the potential of a future bike facility, but I understand PBOT’s logic in not looking to implement bikeway facilities in this section at this time. The key bike connection will be to the pending bikeway on 52nd for the foreseeable future. I’m not sure it should be left out of the overall plan refresh though.
    Issues such as this reminds me that there are two overlapping parts of this process. One, the refresh of the Foster Streetscape Plan. The other, prioritizing parts of this plan for implementation in 2014 with the e facilxisting $3.25M. Let’s remember that what is in the plan will help guide projects well into the future (hopefully), so keep that in mind when thinking about what is included or omitted from it.
    Finally, I wanted to share a great blog post from Portland blogger Michael Anderson about effective strategies for standing up against the “bike backlash.”

    • John MulveyJohn Mulvey says:

      Thanks for the comments Brett.

      Two points: First, there are a surprising number of bikers using 50th-52nd, and feeding to and from 50th Avenue –even some on Powell (not me though). The City has never taken the approach that some areas are off-limits to bikes. Maybe that’s the right answer, but it ought to be explicit one way or the other.

      Second, the street profile discussion is broader than just “Where do we add the bike lane?” The biggest impact of someday finally implementing this plan is that we’d be creating an inviting street for pedestrians, and in that sense I hope 50th to 52nd gets some attention too. Peds are making the mad dash across in that area all the time, and they ought to get some help.

  4. Brett Holycross says:

    I’m in favor of improved pedestrian facilities throughout the project area, but if pedestrians currently wanting to cross Foster in front of Speedboat can’t be bothered to walk 200′ to an existing crosswalk (at 52nd), I’m not sure another crosswalk is going to help. I know this is just an example, but I’m always amazed at people jaywalking within a close distance to a safe crosswalk.
    That being said… maybe there is a potential for a crosswalk at Lafayette and Foster?

    • John MulveyJohn Mulvey says:

      No question –I’m not sure how far is too far to walk, but the fact that people often do cross there indicates to me that for some people it feels too far. Partly it’s the diagonal configuration, I’d imagine.

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