Sunday, May 16, 2010
20 min. neighborhood: a crackdown on traffic
Planners ponder an overhaul of Barbur Boulevard
By Joe Fitzgibbon, Special to The Oregonian
March 20, 2010, 6:58AM
Picture streetcars or light rail zipping down Barbur Boulevard. Add in bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly businesses stretching from downtown Portland to Tigard.
Smarten up the image with several busy town centers and adjoining stormwater projects to protect streams and trails.
That's the vision that residents, city and regional planners shared with transportation officials during a recent community forum on the fate of the state highway over the next 10 years.
Marianne Fitzgerald, transportation chairwoman representing 17 Southwest neighborhood associations, wants to kick-start the proposals at a pretzellike configuration of streets and highways called West Portland Crossroads.
The busy hub includes Southwest Barbur Boulevard, Capitol Highway, ramps to and from Interstate 5, along with a mishmash of feeder streets from Portland Community College, densely packed apartment buildings and hillside neighborhoods.
At the top of Fitzgerald's list is the development of a 20–minute neighborhood on the site, a project to make all businesses and services accessible to residents in a 20-minute walk.
"This intersection has been a nightmare for the past 30 years," Fitzgerald says. "We've got lots of services and stores right there, but the challenge is giving families -- including about 3,000 Somalis in the area -- better access to them."
Patrick Sweeney, senior project manager with the Portland Office of Transportation, says his office would seek funding for a planning process that could start this summer, but that any redevelopment needs to be part of a comprehensive study of the entire roadway.
-- Joe Fitzgibbon
Special to The Oregonian