The New Foster Road?

The Portland Bureau of transportation has unveiled their list of options for the Foster Road Streetscape. Keep in mind that these are not final, and we are not limited to what is shown here. I wish it were a simpler task, but the given all of the factors at play we’re left with a fairly large set of 14 options. (Even beyond this list, each option can be tweaked and adjusted into more permutations, not to mention options not even included in their analysis.)

I’ve presented all of their options below for you to look at, but the bottom line is this: we don’t have enough information to decide.


As far as I’m concerned, there are two fundamental questions we need to answer before we make any hard decisions on the streetscape:

What are the traffic impacts of these different configurations?
It does us no good to debate the merits of 5 lanes vs 2 lanes without knowing what it does to traffic. I think most people would say they want the fewest lanes possible without causing bad congestion. If we can do that with 2, great! if we need 3, awesome. If we need to stick with 4, we understand! But I worry we’re going to go in circles while we wait for the technical analysis.

How much money will it cost to relocate curbs, and how likely is it that we can fund it?
Moving the sidewalk curb is a very, very, very expensive proposition, but it may turn out that to create the best street for everyone we need to do it.  How much would that cost? And more importantly, how likely is it that we can get it funded. We’ve spent 10 years waiting to fund the original streetscape plan, how long are we willing to wait if we double cost?

If we decide that the cost of moving the curb is too expensive, we will find our options much more limited, and the necessary tradeoffs more extreme.  Personally, I’d rather aim for world-class and create the best street, not the cheapest street. But maybe that’s just me.

The City’s Proposals

The city split the street into three segments based on how much ‘street’ there is. This impacts what elements can be included within the street area, and as you’ll see below, not all sections are provided the same quality of design.

52nd to 72nd

This section has the most room and the most flexibility of all of Foster. With 94 ft between buildings, and ample 17ft sidewalks, this section provide some wiggle room for squeezing in higher quality bikeways without compromising on the quality of the pedestrian environment.

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72nd to 80th

This section is a little tighter than farther west, and the proposed options show it. Sidewalks stay smaller, bike lane configurations are reduced.

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82nd to the Couplet

This is the most challenging, and arguably the most important section of the entire street to get right. If our goal is to make Foster Road a pleasant place, this stretch is the farthest behind.

Because there is only 60 ft between buildings, the options here are much more limited. The street could see wider sidewalks and protected bikeways, but it might have to come at the expense of auto lanes.

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The city’s options all operate under the assumption that property acquisition or dedication is off the table. I think this is a mistake, and it unnecessarily limits the options available for enhancing the street here. If we’re willing to spend a few million dollars to relocate the curb, we should also be willing to do the same to bring this part of Foster road to a similar standard as the rest of the corridor. By acquiring thin strips of property along the road, the 5 ft sidewalks can be expanded to the wonderful 10-15 ft sidewalks enjoyed by the rest of the street.

That said, this could only improve parts of the corridor. Much of the area is built up with buildings against the street, constricting the potential to widen sidewalks in those areas. As the map below shows, the area from 84th to 86th is built up, and there really isn’t room for expansion. In these areas, 60 feet is all we’ve got.

 I’m on the stakeholder advisory committee for the Foster Road Transportation and Streetscape Plan Update. Do you have a vision for what foster should look like? Do you have ideas for where crosswalks should go? If you feel strongly about what Foster should look like, please attend. If you can’t make it, leave comments below and I’ll bring them to the committee for consideration.

Thursday, November 15th. SE Works (79th & Foster)

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77 Responses to The New Foster Road?

  1. Cora Potter says:

    I’d like to see a cross section for 52-72 where the planting zone is moved into the parking lanes (with parking in between swales) and 5 ft of the lane-side portion of the 17′ sidewalk is converted to a cycle track. The bus bulbs, streetcar platforms pedestrian bulb outs etc can all fit within the parking lane as well.

    The only challenge I see is the utility poles and whether we’d have to move them or if the bike lane could share space with them/go around them.

    • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

      Any thoughts on 84th-90th? It’s a toughie. I’ve got some ideas, but we really are limited to 60 feet it some areas.

      • Cora Potter says:

        I’m still mulling it over …it is a tough one, unless we go eminent domain. We really are only constrained in the section between 84th and 86th. Where the buildings abut one side of the road but not the other, you can always shift the roadway to one side. That’s what we did on Woodstock where Tidee Didee is – we just moved the whole road so we could widen the sidewalk in front of Tidee Didee.

        There’s also Ellis street to consider as the alternate bicycle route. If we route bikes between 82nd and 87th onto Ellis, it’s really not out of direction travel in most cases. So, I’d say, in our constrained area, focus on sidewalks and move the bike facilities over.

        • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

          I’d love to find a way to directly connect Foster’s bikeway onto the Lents Town Center bike lanes and onto the I205 path southbound to the Springwater Corridor. Staying on Foster would be best for that if it can be done.

          I ride Ellis often, but to get back to Foster and LTC, you’re stuck on 92nd for a short, but uncomfortable few blocks.

          Do you know if there are plans to fill the LTC bike lane gap along 92nd?

          • Cora Potter says:

            I think Ellis is a good solution. We also have $1-2m in the Transportation Task Force recommendation for improvements on Ellis – so we have room to work out solutions.

            I usually take Reedway from 87th if I’m going to the area between Foster and Harold. I use Ramona to get on the 205 path if I’m headed that direction.

            Final engineering docs for Foster/Woodstock are here http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/417015

            I’m not seeing any striping for bike lanes south of Foster – which is a bit perplexing.

          • Cora Potter says:

            Okay – after days of thought I got as far as holistically solving the bike issue for the Foster corridor in a manner that provides better inter-neighborhood connectivity and addresses the Ellis Street to LTC bike treatment. BONUS – if this is pitched as a separate project from the Foster Streetscape the funds allocated for Ellis in the transportation Task Force recommendation could be used as match.

            http://goo.gl/maps/s9mIT

          • Cora Potter says:

            Also – the Holgate/Ellis cycle track route should be coupled with slower speed bike tracks in the side walk area on Foster and planing/bulbs etc in the parking lanes as I described above. The idea is that you accomodate bikes on Foster, but at slower business district speeds and provide a point to point route for faster mobility between key areas.

          • Jeff says:

            Cora,

            I like the designation of three distinct business districts along Foster: Arleta, Manhattan, and LTC. I know it’s somewhat outlined in the streetscape plan with the various nodes, but calling them as you have is intriguing. I’m also a big proponent of using “Arleta” as a way to better integrate the two neighboring ‘hoods west of Foster.

            In terms of biking, I’m glad to see the amount of advocacy from both sides of 82nd. The more it’s pushed forward collaboratively, even with differing ideas of where/what/when/how, the more the Foster area gets what it needs.

          • NJ says:

            Cora, you’re vision for a network of high quality bikeways is fantastic, and would provide, hands down, the best bike connectivity in the city.

            I disagree that a criss-crossing network can replace the amazing utility of a diagonal, direct-to-destination corridor like Foster. People riding bikes want to use Foster for the same reason people driving like to use Foster.

            Asking people on bikes to take Holgate/72nd instead of Foster would be like closing Foster to cars and asking them to take 82nd and Powell as an alternate.

            A FULL set of well-balanced complete streets is the way to go. This includes 72nd, Holgate and Foster working in concert.

          • Cora Potter says:

            NJ – that actually is my vision. These aren’t meant to replace bike facilities on Foster, but are meant to create the “mobility” point to point connections that allow folks to travel quickly. That frees us up to use different treatments on Foster that provide “accessibility” – slower speed grade separate facilities in the sidewalk ROW for example – rather than just providing narrow in-roadway facilities for the strong and confident cyclists.

  2. Tim says:

    I am very happy PBOT brought lane reduction options to the table, especially for the stretch running through the heart of foster (52nd – 72nd). Fewer lanes would slow down traffic, increase safety and create a more livable road conducive to local businesses. I strongly support the fewest amount of lanes realistically possible in terms of traffic flow. Plus I LOVE the bike lane addition. Vote option 1 in the 52 – 72nd corridor : ) Excellent job!

  3. Cora Potter says:

    I’m also having a hard time wrapping my head around how they got to a 1 auto lane in each direction “streetcar ready” cross section. The only spot I’m award of where there is no passing auto lane around streetcar is at Harrison Parkway (which has traffic counts of about zero – okay I’m being hyperbolic but it really isn’t a well utilized road). How can they conclude that an auto lane that is technically wide enough for streetcar, but provides no passing opportunities is “streetcar ready”? To me, this is a ludicrous red herring proposition.

    • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

      Streetcar operates just fine on two lanes streets in NW on Northrup and Lovejoy; there is no technical reason to not call a two lane street “streetcar ready.” Operationally, the same concerns about being able to pass apply to any of the three lane cross sections.

      But this doesn’t only apply to streetcar. Because the original plan also called for transit curb extensions, the issue of transit standing the the lane during loading is guaranteed to come up at the meeting.

      • Cora Potter says:

        Northrup and Lovejoy get nowhere near the traffic counts that Foster does though.

      • zefwagner says:

        NW Northrup and Lovejoy are not comparable because they are one-way. I think Cora is saying this would not be streetcar-ready because it would be impossible to pass. I do think it will be difficult to pull off bus bulbs if there is no passing lane, unfortunately, considering the amount of time it can take sometimes to load the bus, especially with wheelchairs. It works fine on some streets, like Alberta, but of course that is not as important for traffic flow. I would love to see Foster transition to that kind of street, but it might be a hard sell, in which case bus bulbs should not be used.

        • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

          Has Northrup and Lovejoy past 405 been turned into a couplet? I haven’t been up there recently, but google tells me they are still two-way.

  4. Brandon Rhodes says:

    4 for 52-72
    1 for 72-80
    3 for 84-couplet

    Buffered bicycle lanes are amazing. Parking in that scheme also encourages up-to-the-sidewalk retail development instead of parking lots.

  5. Jed says:

    Love where this is going! I am game for pretty much any option that has just one EB and WB travel lane. Where possible the protected bike lane is really attractive too.

    I am really interested to see results of the traffic modeling that results from the lane reductions. When is that coming?

    • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

      The traffic analysis is coming in the December meeting I think. Last month we learned that while the traffic volumes are high they are distributed evenly throughout the day. This is good news for anyone wanting fewer lanes, because it means there is no extreme peak of traffic during the commute times that would demand multiple lanes.

      • Jed says:

        Right. I heard that from our NA representative and was very pleased. It’s a good sign — now we just need the analysis to show reducing lanes wouldn’t push too much traffic into the neighborhood.

  6. Anderson says:

    Leave the street alone! Its already too narrow at 4/5 lanes (major thoroughfares should be 6/7 lanes, which are pretty much standard in any medium sized US city). Cars are NOT going away no matter how much is spent on road diets, over sized bike lanes, or bubble curbs.

    • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

      Thanks for posting Anderson. I think you might misunderstand the point of the project. The people involved are not expecting “cars to go away.” The primary goal is to make the street safer for everyone, including people driving.

      Foster Road has a higher frequency of car crashes than similar streets in the City of Portland. This is due to a number of things, and thankfully, there are ways to address these problems. The addition of a turn lane and potential lane reconfiguration are great ways to reduce crashes, which is why we’re looking at them.

      • Jake says:

        I don’t think anyone misunderstands anything. You want to make it more difficult to drive a car in Portland because of your political ideas regarding transportation. I think the 97% of Portlanders who drive are finally waking up. We are the 97% ! And I think our new mayor hears us.

        • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

          Are you the 97% that don’t live in the Foster-area neighborhoods? Because that would explain your absolute disregard for our neighbors’ priorities and interests.

          Nothing is set in stone, and it may turn out that the traffic engineering doesn’t work on many of the configurations shown here. Believe it or not, maintaining traffic flow is a vital part of the project!

          We’re having the conversation, and we’re exploring the potential. There is nothing wrong with that.

      • Anderson says:

        Streets are safest while free flowing and with little obstruction; thats why modern roadways are usually constructed with wide lanes, fewer driveways, and left turns restricted to intersections. Don’t fool yourself; this plan has NOTHING to do with safety… it has to do with the continuing implementation of a crony development plan that Portland and Metro put together decades ago.

        • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

          What you are describing does bring safety to limited access highways, but not to neighborhood serving surface streets.

          The FHWA calls road reconfiguration with a center turn lane a “Proven Safety Countermeasure” expected to bring all crashes down by 29%. This isn’t some Portland or Metro agenda, it’s real-world traffic engineering:

          http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/provencountermeasures/fhwa_sa_12_013.htm

          • Cora Potter says:

            That FHWA guideline is also for roadways that carry 20,000 average daily trips or less and that very good results in safety, operations and livability improvements were achieved on roadways that had 15,000 ADT or less.

            Foster has over 23,000 ADT.

          • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

            Cora, yes, Foster has 23,000 cars per day, which is why the three lane conversion was always considered iffy.

            That said, the devil is in the details, and the latest count data shows that the peak hour traffic is more similar to a street with 19,000 cars per day, which is well into the range where it’s worth exploring.

          • Cora Potter says:

            Yes, but 19,000 is still more than 15,000 which is the level where you see the actual safety, operations and livability improvements.

          • zefwagner says:

            Both of you are completely ignoring induced demand! By reducing to 3 lanes, some drivers will decide to take alternate routes like 82nd and Powell. Sure, that will worsen traffic on those roads, but they are better engineered for it. In any case, I would expect Foster traffic to fall to well below 20,000 after a road diet. I would hope that any traffic analysis would take induced demand into account–otherwise we are acting as if demand is fixed, when it actually changes according to road characteristics.

          • Cora Potter says:

            The diversion actually is a big concern – particularly for equity where 82nd is in play. And more than state highway facilities may be effected. Neighborhood streets like 52nd, 72nd, Holgate and Harold are also potential routes that will be effected by induced demand. When the purpose and history of Foster is taken into account, diverting onto these streets is not really an acceptable outcome.

            82nd is actually less safe than Foster and the amount of turn movements and traffic at the Foster and 82nd intersection make it the most dangerous place in the whole of the Foster corridor (although some ignore/minimize the deaths and injuries that have occurred on 82nd to draw more attention to places on Foster further west, during this process) and one of the most dangerous intersections on the 82nd corridor (if not the most dangerous now that they’ve upgraded the signal at Powell). Causing more intensive use in this area is a huge equity concern.

          • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

            Diversion is a big deal. However, given the volume profile we may be able to do a 3-lane reconfiguration without any diversion pressure.

            If diversion is projected, there are techniques for managing volumes on those other streets. This will need to be explored in parallel with the traffic analysis.

            One of the less-talked about features of a 3-lane conversion is that by doing the conversion, traffic volumes on Foster Road will be forever capped at their current level. Overall trips will increase on the corridor as more are made by bus, bike and foot, but no additional car trips will be added.

            Without the conversion, Foster’s volumes will increase to up to 40,000, approaching 82nd avenue territory, and bringing down the livability of Foster neighborhoods and Lents Town Center.

          • Cora Potter says:

            As long as there isn’t a jobs-housing balance in Outer SE, some of those 40,000 trips are going to need to get from one side of the corridor to the other, and it will be in automobiles regardless of the types of modes the corridor will accept.

            So, we also have to consider where we’re forcing that increase in trips, and if it’s equitable to make decisions for other neighborhoods that they have to accept the burdens while Foster between 72nd and 52nd gets to draw a line in the sand.

          • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

            I’ve got a couple thoughts on this.

            First, prioritizing auto capacity is a dangerous line of thinking. Why stop at 4-lanes if our goal is to move people? Why not go to 6 lanes and crank that sucker up to 60,000. Lents, more than any other neighborhood in the city has suffered in the name of automobility, hopefully we’ve learned since then. At some point, the City of Portland needs to be making places to be, rather than places to drive through.

            And the 40,000 cars per day is not inevitable unless we provide for it. No one is talking about stopping regional travel by car. My wife drives to Aloha every day. Believe me, if there is anyone that doesn’t want to make her life harder, it’s me. We’re talking about providing high-quality alternative travel options for a significant chunk of current and future tripmaking.

            Why draw the line in the sand at 72nd? Why not 92nd? If reduced lanes is a benefit, why doesn’t Lents take some of that too, rather than be a martyr (a second time) in the name of car travel.

          • Cora Potter says:

            As far as I know (from the previous 89th -94th streetscape project) further lane reductions in Lents Town Center are not an option. It’s an interchange area. That’s why.

          • Cora Potter says:

            The other thing to consider is that the economic development of the 82nd and Foster commercial area is highly dependent on high volumes of regional travel. If the character of that area changes at all, it will look more like a lifestyle center, like Bridgeport Village or Cascade Parkway.

            The solution we devise for Foster as an entire corridor has to be supportive of both neighborhood commercial and high volumes of regional travel.

            What I’m hearing from the “coalition” is that they want to change the classification of Foster from a Regional Collector to a Neighborhood Collector. Holgate is a neighborhood collector. Foster needs to maintain it’s regional collector designation.

          • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

            I understand and appreciate the challenges of working within the overspill area of the freeway. The transition into and out of the couplet is a key pieces of this puzzle that hasn’t yet been discussed much, but it is important.

            From my understanding, the “Coalition” looked to Hawthorne as a potential model of a high-volume, four-lane street that can also support a pedestrian friendly environment. The traffic classification is the only TSP difference between Foster and Hawthorne, and the description provided in the TSP was more in-line with with vision of the original streetscape plan.

          • Cora Potter says:

            I’m pretty sure that the main reason Hawthorne is classified as a neighborhood collector is that it was a strategic move to prevent any new drive-through businesses from locating in the corridor.

            In addition, it doesn’t have three major highway/freeway interchanges. It only meets with 99 E.

            But, even beyond that – it has four lanes, no bike lanes and their streetscape plan prioritized maintaining the lane cross section and parking, while creating curb extensions for pedestrians, over adding things like bike lanes. So, if Hawthorne is the model, then the road-diet does not jive with that.

  7. John Lewis says:

    Foster is great road to access 205 and for getting to and from cities like Damascus and Boring. Clogging it with cyclists and Dave’s Bread pedal carts will make it another parking lot of idling motorists.
    I would love to see the crash data comparing SE Foster to “similar streets in the City of Portland.”
    Street Cars are expensive to run and maintain. In an emergency, they’re not reliable. Buses are always the way to go. They’re versatile, they can adapt to new routes and have many fuel options.
    I predict Foster to become a cyclist death trap like N. Williams.

  8. Jon renner says:

    are you people really serious!?
    Ruining Foster Rd…..Ah, what a novel byke friendly idea. I’d like to propose routing truck traffic thru the side streets around midnight – anyone with me?

  9. Rachel says:

    If there are going to be bike lanes on Foster, then they need to be buffered. If they aren’t going to be protected, then they shouldn’t be added to this busy of a street. As someone who lives in the neighborhood and has a household that fairly equally commutes by car, bus and bike, I would very much support something along the lines of the 4th and 5th slides for the section between 52/72. Protected bike lanes and a middle turning lane are very important. I would prefer not to see much sidewalk shrinkage. These ideas make me really excited for my neighborhood and our potential!

    • Rachel says:

      Oops, actually I like the 3rd and 4th slides the best. While I would prefer not to shrink the sidewalks, the buffered bike lanes and the middle turning lane are essential.

      • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

        Thanks for the constructive comments Rachel.

        I absolutely agree that buffered bike lanes are better than the conventional skinny bike lanes. The big question is if we can get funding to relocate the curbs slightly.

  10. Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

    Foster United would like to welcome the readers of bojack.org to our website! While I’m sure there are a few readers who live nearby, I suspect many of you don’t.

    While this post was written to present the situation diplomatically, the framing on bojack.org as “Car haters zoom in on Foster Road” is sure to bias your opinion of the project.

    This is very much a neighborhood-initiated project. And while it is clear you want us to leave Foster alone (or widen it even!) it is equally clear that others want to see it changed.

    If you are honestly interested in Foster Road, we encourage you to come to the meeting this Thursday, and to future open houses to participate in the official process.

  11. Chris Snethen says:

    I live near 136th and Foster and commute the entire length from 136th to Powell Monday through Friday. As has already been pointed out above, Foster carriers a lot of commuter traffic from Damascus and Boring. I see it every morning as I turn on to Foster from 136th. It’s also served by a freeway exit. Neither of these facts are news to anyone reading this. My concern is by choking Foster down to a single lane, we’re going to be forcing traffic onto streets not designed to carry it. Where does the commuter from the east go? Where does the freeway traffic go?

    I *LOVE* FoPo and I do what I can to support the area, but choking it off like this doesn’t seem to be the way to go. I’d be open, I think, to some changes from say Holgate westward, but the entire length? Count me out.

    What time is the meeting on Thursday?

    • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

      The meeting is from 6-8 pm at SE Works (79th & Foster). It’s an advisory committee meeting that is open to the public, and they will be taking public testimony toward the end of the meeting.

      The issue of traffic impacts along the corridor and on other streets has been brought up previously, and I’m sure will be discussed during the meeting. It is unclear if PBOT has any traffic analysis completed to measure the impacts of the changes, but when they do, we’ll be posting about it here.

      I live near 82nd and like you, my family will bear the brunt of corridor-wide changes. As a stakeholder committee member I will always keep those impacts in mind while at the same time balancing the needs of the neighborhoods Foster cuts through.

  12. Tim says:

    Foster is not a highway and that’s the problem. Drivers think it is and drive accordingly, which creates massive safety concerns for the residents who live and play on foster. Many areas of foster are NEIGHBORHOOD corridors, not traffic thoroughfares. The heart of foster (65th etc.) has great potential to become a strong, vibrant local business and neighborhood center like those found on Mississippi, Alberta, or Hawthorne, but the growth is strangled by the mismatched size and use of foster road. Shrinking the road to is proper proportion, is essential for allowing these areas to develop to their maximum potential. If a smaller road adds five minutes to a commuter’s time, I think the safety and economic community gains outweighs the extra travel time. I believe the city realizes the potential for foster and I’m happy it is serious in making foster a smaller, safer, and more neighborhood friendly road. If you want to drive into the city on a divided 4 lane thoroughfare, take the Powell exit.

    • Anderson says:

      False. Foster IS thoroughfare and has been since I can remember (and yes, I am from the area). Just because some planner who lives in the pearl district decided to trace a map with a pink highlighter instead of orange doesn’t change the nature of the street. Demand should influence development, not the other way around.

    • Anderson says:

      False. Foster IS thoroughfare and has been since I can remember (and yes, I am from the area). Just because some planner who lives in the pearl district decided to trace a map with a pink highlighter instead of orange doesn’t change the nature of the street. Demand should influence development, not the other way around.

  13. Don says:

    I live in the Heart of Foster, and I think we should look at other alternatives than a road diet in that area. I drive through Woodstock Blvd between 39th and 52nd regularly, and I worry that Foster will look like rushour through that area, but all day long. Basically a long line of impatient drivers who cut off crossing pedestrians because they’ll let someone in from a side street and lose their “place” in line. Foster does have direct access to the freeway, and the volume of cars that come through are pretty high.

    There should be other ways to slow down the SPEED of traffic while minimally impacting the CONGESTION of traffic. I might suggest better traffic light timing, lowering speed limits, skinnier lanes, and sidewalk extensions. I just don’t see how simply reducing lanes will be the most benefit, both commuters AND residents.

    (I have no opinion on bike lanes. For or against, I am equally ok.)

  14. Jon Leonard says:

    This is a plan which punishes the people who live outside 205 (lower income). There is a lack of East West traffic corridors in the city. I fear this may be the nail in the coffin which forces many people who work west of the river to move from the SE.

    Then there is the pollution to consider. The traffic is going to be horrendous. What is the carbon impact of idling cars for 4-10 hours a day? This will reduce the quality of life for many and only benefit the few with money.

    • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

      I want to be clear that so far, all options are on the table, including leaving the street alone.

      No one wants to to make traffic horrendous. We all live here, we all drive on Foster. If any of the options shown above is determined to cause a major disruption to traffic, it will be rejected by the committee.

      One of the project goals is focused on maintaining smooth traffic flow. Check it out:

      “Create a safe corridor for motor vehicle travel with smooth, consistent traffic movement. “

      I will bring your concerns about traffic impacts to the Advisory Committee meeting this week, and I will reiterate how important that goal is.

  15. Sia says:

    I will say that they’re are more than a few folks in the affected areas who do not support the reduced car lanes in favor in buffered bike lanes. Unfortunately, they are not in the privileged position of being able to participate. Everyone is not able to take time from dinner/baths/homework time, to hopes that they may be called on during the brief public comment section. I think it is essential for members of the Advisory Committee to ensure that opinions that differ from their own are presented and that a economically, educationally, and ethnically diverse group that is representative of the actual neighborhood is surveyed before such drastic changes are considered. That’s called inclusion. It’s hard, it’s messy and it might prevent one from “getting their way” but it’s also fair and just.

    • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

      I hear you Sia.

      The advisory committee meetings are not the primary means of public input on a project like this, precisely because they have limited time and often restrictive schedules. At these meetings the members should be conversing with their constituents to bring the voices of those that cannot be there. I’ll bring up the need to make sure our open house events, listening sessions, and other public input sessions are advertised broadly and comprehensively, and scheduled across multiple days to make it more likely that anyone who wants to attend can.

  16. Shawn says:

    As a longtime resident of Mt. Scott Arleta, I oppose reducing auto traffic to one lane in each direction. I think this will make Foster hopelessly congested. I favor options that retain four auto travel lanes and include bike paths where possible.

    While I don’t want Foster to continue as a freeway or see a continuation of the fatalities near my home, I also deeply resent the way in which neighbors in Sellwood were able to render Tacoma essentially useless as a thoroughfare to the rest of the community. I don’t want that to happen here (Woodstock was also aptly mentioned above as the rush hour linear parking lot that it is.) There should be a moderate solution that suits the needs of many, neighbors and passers-through included.

    52nd to 72nd: 2
    72nd to 80th: 4
    80th to couplet: 2

    • Alex Reed says:

      Interesting! I see Tacoma as a pretty good example of how to turn a street from drive-through-as-fast-as-possible to hmm-maybe-we-should-come-visit-these-cute-businesses! I agree that car traffic flows slower there now, but there is no way to have a pleasant, walkable neighborhood Main Street with cars going 40 mph. I prefer the new Tacoma but I see why others may not.

      • Cora Potter says:

        For the most part, drivers on Foster are not exceeding the speed limit. The existing conditions report indicated that 10% or less exceeded 35 mph. I believe the average speed was 33 mph (don’t have the report handy).

        In the couplet area (where I participated in the advisory process for the streetscape design) we didn’t reduce auto lanes (with the exception of converting one block of slip lane to parking on Foster), we actually were able to get better crossing extensions and shorter crossing distances for pedestrians, and ODOT pre-emptively lowered the speed limit to 30 mph (from 35) after reviewing the engineering documents.

        You can effectively lower the speeds in an area, without reducing auto lanes, through good design.

        • Alex Reed says:

          That’s good to know. Now that I think about it, the least pleasant part about walking on Foster is the difficulty of crossing it. A narrower profile and more crossing infrastructure (I dream of every two blocks!) would really help. Having cars go slower would help too but you’re right, we’re not talking about a 40+ mph flow of traffic currently. If we could get the average speed down to 29 mph that would be lovely.

          • Cora Potter says:

            With the amount of money that’s available, I think our best (near term) course of action is to build as many curb extensions as possible and leave the rest of the road alone (for the most part).

            I really hope PBOT starts to effectively communicate the difference between the scope of what is currently funded, and the scope of an aspirational project.

          • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

            PBOT is submitting a grant request to the state for another $2.5 million, so we’re on a roll.

          • Cora Potter says:

            Ah yes – I’m currently filling out that same application for another project.

  17. Kurt says:

    I like a lot of these options, I do think that people that live on the streets in question should have a say in how they are developed. Yes, people that commute through the area should have a voice too but I’m not sure if it is the same as those who live on foster.

  18. Kat M says:

    An option I’m not seeing (82nd to couplet) is 5′ sidewalk, 5′ planter, no bike lane, 10′ protime parking (maybe) and 10′ travel lane. Use option 1 from 82nd to Ellis. Install a signal at Ellis, divert bike traffic to Ellis, and change the 5′ bike lanes to 5′ planters as a buffer zone between peds and cars. It works well on E Burnside around 39th. As long as you keep most plantings low enough that people can see business names/signs I would think it would work. This option would involve upgrades on 92nd from Ellis to Foster and upgrades to Ellis – maybe that’s why it’s not on the table?

    What about lowering posted speed limit to 30? Is that being talked about at all?

    • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

      Yes, speed limits were discussed. In Oregon, speed limits are set by the State, not the city, and they can generally not be changed without accompanying physical infrastructure changes.

      • Sia says:

        The speed through Lents Town Center on 92nd was recently reduced to 25 MPH, what infrastructure changes preceded that?

        • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

          Speed limits can be reduced if drivers are already driving at that slower speed, which I presume was the case in the Lents Town Center. What ODOT will not do is take at a street where everyone drives 35, and set the limit down to 30. In order for the limit to be set lower, changes must be made to actually make drivers go slower.

          Neighbors commonly request lowering the speed limit to slow drivers down. Unfortunately, changing the numbers on signs don’t actually change driver behavior, which is why ODOT won’t do it.

          • Cora Potter says:

            Nick – ODOT did lower the speed limits on Foster/Woodstock after looking at our engineering documents for the streetscape. They didn’t make us wait for the streetscape to finish construction and observe resulting driver speeds.

      • Kat M says:

        Any input regarding the rest of it?

        • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

          I like it! I think adding a planting zone to this part would be one of the most positive things we can do in the area.

          Personally, I’m a fan of trying to get a bikeway all along Foster (otherwise, what’s the point of those lanes just sitting empty in Lents town center?) But given the constraints, we will definitely want to explore alternate routes.

          I like your idea of the signal at Ellis, There would definitely need to be some sort of way to get bicyclists across Foster. The signal may offer other benefits for the businesses in the area as well.

          We can definitely include improvements on other streets as a part of this process.

  19. Brian Horay says:

    While any of the above are going to be improvements for the 52nd-72nd stretch of Foster, I say let’s go for the boldest choice: Option 5! It would be extremely exciting if my neighborhood took the lead when it comes to progressive city planning. Also, I hope a reduced speed limit is also in the works for Foster. Very exciting!

  20. Kim says:

    Hi Nick,

    It seems like the committee more generally, all users of Foster are putting a lot of deep thought into this project. I know that there are many options on the table and many ways to use the existing right of way. It seems like many people here have weighed in on the importance of Foster as a motor vehicle commuting corridor. I’m wondering how PBOT (and the neighborhood advisory) committee are evaluating alternatives? Perhaps there is a chance to set performance targets, or performance metrics like the city does when implementing neighborhood greenways? I know you can really only move curbs once, but I wonder if you could do a temporary road diet to see how the road is impacted… just a thought!

    • Kim says:

      I used to live in the neighborhood and have spent time walking, driving and bicycling along Foster. I would like to see a narrow roadway that is easier to cross that still retains functionality for all users!

  21. Kat M says:

    Looking at the 52nd to 72 options: again, I don’t like any of them. My choice would be 60′ curb-to-curb (max! would prefer less): 5′ bike, 8′ parking, 12′ travel lane, 10′ median/turn lane, 12′ travel lane, 8′ parking, 5′ bike. When you put permanent parking in (not protime) you can have curb extensions (humped for bike lane pass-through) for ped visibility and safety.

    Four travel lanes with no turn lane doesn’t work for cars – that’s what Foster has now and it’s awful. You’re driving along in the left lane and suddenly everyone in front of you is stopped waiting for someone to turn. If you add a turn lane to the four travel lanes it becomes too wide for peds to cross safely (e.g. Powell @ 37th or E Burnside @ 20th or 82nd Ave). It even becomes difficult for cars to cross it! One travel lane with a turn lane allows smooth traffic flow and easy crossing for both peds and cars. The only difficulty with having only one travel lane is in turning on to Foster from side streets. This is remedied by putting in more signals and timing them to keep traffic flowing on Foster while allowing people to turn on to Foster without having to wait very long.

    • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

      You’ve basically described Option 1. With only 5 feet, you can’t put bicyclists between parked cars and the curb, they’ll need to be on the the normal bike-lane side. (Or, alternatively, you widen the bikeway, and you have a design like Option 3, only without the protime parking). I agree that protime parking is not great, since you can’t do curb extensions.

      Clearly, there is some disagreement out there about 4-lanes vs 3-lanes. Foster road’s traffic patterns put it right on the edge of supporting the 3-lane conversion as you’ve described it.

      Thankfully, we’re going to get a more comprehensive traffic analysis to tell us what it means. Only then can we weigh the benefits with the potential travel time costs.

      Would you be willing to trade 120 seconds of travel time along the full stretch of 90th-52nd for the 3-lane cross section with curb extensions and bikeways? That’s the kind of question we’ll be seeking the answer to in the coming months.

      • Kat M says:

        Why in the world can you put in a 5′ bike lane on the driver side of parked cars but not the passenger side? Seems to me the passenger side would be much safer. Far less chance of a car door opening, and if one does, you don’t swerve into traffic to escape it. Sure, you might bend a wheel running into the curb, but you’re not dead.

        • Nick FalboNick Falbo says:

          It’s a little counter-intuitive, but there are good reasons not to put a narrow bike lane between parked cars and the sidewalk.

          “Dooring” is a problem, no matter which side you put it on. The solution to dooring is a wider bike lane to allow for maneuvering. This dooring risk is why all of the designs showing that configuration have a 2-3′ buffer space.

          Additionally, debris a common reason you may see bicyclists riding out of the bike lane. On the left side of parked cars, they have an alternative by using the regular lane, but when it’s next to a curb, there is no easy way out. Curbside bike lanes are more likely to accumulate debris in the first place, which is another reason for more space.

          I share your preference for a protected bike lane. We just need to make sure enough space is provided to design a bike lane that is safe to use, which requires about 8′ at an absolute minimum when next to parking.

          In any of the proposed alternatives that include moving the curb, I’m going to recommend a protected bikeway design, preferably raised up by 3″ or so, to make it more like an extension of the sidewalk. (This is similar to a bikeway on NE Cully Blvd) .

          • Kat M says:

            Ah yes. Street sweepers, of course. Get that glass out of the bike path. Can’t do that in a 5′ lane…

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