Bus Riders Unite! calls 82nd & Foster one of the Worst Bus Stops in Portland

Last week, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon and Bus Riders Unite! led the final meeting of their East Portland Bus Stop Prioritization project. The result was a list of the three worst bus stops in the City –a short list that includes one busy and chronically bad stop at 82nd and Foster.

portlands_worst_bus_atop_1The two-year long project involved an extensive public process, described as “Survivor-style” by the seriously great portlandafoot.org blog. The end result was that a broad group of transit users identified the East Portland bus stops in most need of upgrades.

On that short list: the sliver of sidewalk on the north side of Foster where hundreds of riders get on or off every weekday.

BRU! activist Eavan Moore told me that the stop’s heavy usage easily justifies a shelter, but there isn’t space to accomodate one given the narrow sidewalk there.

“Widening that sidewalk, by extending it into the street and/or by extending it into the adjacent parking lot, is a critical first step to making other improvements,” she says. Eavan would also like to see a garbage can, a posted schedule and better lighting too, but everything hinges on finding a way to create more space in the substandard sidewalk.

Purchasing part of the Wells Fargo parking lot to expand the sidewalk and bus stop is possible, but acquiring privately-owned right-of-way can be expensive, and hasn’t been something that’s been discussed so far by PBOT’s Foster Streetscape committee.

That’s not surprising, given the meager resources the City has allocated to that 2+ mile project.

Similarly, there’s a lot of competition for space within the existing roadway — making expansion there problematic too. The current configuration includes four auto through-lanes plus a center turn lane. The City’s 2010 Bike Plan anticipates bike lanes being added to the mix, and the 2009 Streetcar Plan includes a future Streetcar line here as well. So far, the Lents Neighborhood Association has opposed any reduction in auto lanes in the area.

It’s possible that the ongoing Foster Streetscape project could take these improvements on, but time is running short. None of the eight different possible street profiles considered by PBOT and the Streetscape committee for this area have included plans for expansion of these sidewalks beyond the current 5-foot width. (See http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/425424 at pp.9-11)

Other options could include requesting funds for improvements from Tri-Met or the PDC, but either of those paths could take years to see results on the ground.

But the activists working on the East Portland Bus Stop Prioritization Project expect to be involved for the long haul.

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OPAL Executive Director Jonathan Oster told me that the project is intended as a first step, enabling “the people who actually ride the buses in East Portland to identify, assess and prioritize the most important bus stops that warrant improvements in terms of amenities and infrastructure.” He says that the project screened more than 150 bus stops to identify 20 for further assessment. Of those, riders from the community chose the top 3 in need of immediate help.

The other two stops on the “3 Worst” list are both on SE Powell Boulevard: One is at 122nd and the other is at 127th. Both of those locations have similar issues to Foster and 82nd: inadequate space, poor lighting and amenities and terrible access for people with disabilities.

People looking to get involved in the movement for better bus stops or other aspects of advocacy for transit riders should get in touch with Bus Riders Unite! here.

Open for two years, The Porch still feels like a secret

The South Tabor neighborhood is a great family-oriented area that is long on charm but short on places to walk for coffee or conversation.

But four (or five) mornings a week, tucked away on Kelly Street near 67th, there’s a great place to get caffeinated, muffined or wifi’d.

discovery_church_67th_and_kelly (more…)

Could Your Alley Be This Awesome?

AA_onBlackFor the last few months, PSU grad students have been working hand-in-hand with Foster area neighbors in Lents, Mt. Scott-Arleta and Foster-Powell to learn about the struggles and benefits of living next to an alleyway. They’ve gathered your stories, concerns and ideas, and explored what opportunities existed to build on the strengths and overcome the problems. What they’ve come up with might knock your socks off. Check out some of the ‘visions’ they’ve created as inspiration: (more…)

May Election Reminders

ballots

“I have just received the following wire from my generous Daddy. It says, Dear Jack: Don’t buy a single vote more than is necessary. I’ll be damned if I am going to pay for a landslide.” – John F. Kennedy

 

Ballots are now in everyone’s hands –or at least sitting in a pile of mail somewhere –and the deadline to return them is less than two weeks out. (more…)

Do you have ideas for the neighborhood? Foster Green wants to hear about it.

Have you ever had an idea for a local project you’d like to see? Maybe a mural? maybe a community garden, maybe a community event?

Foster Green wants to hear about your ideas, and help you bring them to reality. All you have to do is share your idea with the Foster Green EcoDistrict Steering Committee to get the discussion rolling.

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Examples of community projects supported by the EcoDistrict include the redesign of Laurelwood Park, and the Alley Allies alley improvement project.

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Sunday Parkways Comes to Foster

sundayEvery year for the last 3 years, Portland has done something crazy: they open a loop of streets  for everyone in the neighborhoods to enjoy. This Sunday (Mothers Day!) is the first one of the 2013 season, and it’s in our neck of the woods.

For this one day from 11 am – 4 pm, car access is blocked or controlled along the route, and the full street is available for neighbors to roll, walk, skate, bike and jog. The Loop goes from park to park on quiet streets and bikeways called Neighborhood Greenways.  The east Portland loop is takes advantage of the awesome Springwater Corridor for about 1/4 of the route. Each park is filled with activities, vendors, food, and information. (more…)

Foster’s Covered Bridge

Move over Madison County… Foster Road has its own covered bridge.

The little-known charmer is tucked away on SE Deardorff Road, just a few blocks south of Foster and 134th Avenue. It was the brainchild of two legendary Portlanders: neighborhood activist Lea Wikman and Multnomah County Executive Don Clark.

In truth, it’s not a “real” covered bridge, in that the roadbed isn’t supported by a wooden truss. It’s actually a modern steel-girder roadway with a wood-beam covering built over the top. It’s also not old, being built and opened in 1982.

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The Rise of 82nd Avenue

Advocates and neighbors are gearing up to talk about 82nd avenue this Saturday, and if you live with/love/hate all that is 82nd, you should think about coming. The 82nd Community Forum will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 4, in the Madison High School cafeteria, 2735 N.E. 82nd Ave. It’s free and open to the public but registration is required due to space constraints.

82ndStreet (more…)