In April 2019, Portland Parks & Recreation begin planning and design development to implement the first part of the South Entry Vision in the South Entry area of Washington Park from Highway 26.
The South Entry is one of a very limited number of ways for vehicles to enter Washington Park and access the park’s many cultural venues. For years it has been fraught by issues such as traffic backups onto Highway 26, confusing wayfinding, poor pedestrian circulation, ill-defined bike routes, and a lack of identity. All of these problems have negatively influenced the visitor experience for the park as well as the cultural institutions.
In 2012, Metro, Portland Parks & Recreation, and the Washington Park Alliance commissioned a study to address character, circulation, and park experience in the park’s South Entrance area. This study recommended creating a new roadway system, changing parking layouts, designing attractive green open space components, and improving pedestrian and bike circulation to improve service delivery, visitor experience, and the sense of being in a park. This was known as the South Entry Vision. In 2018, the Washington Park Master Plan recommended implementing the first phase of the South Entry Vision, which brings us to this project today.
In keeping with the recently updated masterplan and through the work and communication with park cultural institutions and other project stakeholders, we defined three primary goals for the project:
- Stormwater Management
- Creation of a Grand Entry to the Park
- Improved Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Vehicular Access / Circulation
As part of existing conditional use requirements for the Oregon Zoo and Washington Park, the proposed design is required to provide for a minimum of 1-acre of stormwater mitigation. The design of the entry centers around the creation of a stormwater garden to satisfy this requirement, and will filter pollutants as well as act as an attractive design feature. Through a series of cascading weirs and the use of steel and stone as well as new landscaping we will create a functional stormwater garden that is not only attractive and inviting but serves a critical environmental function.
Washington Park houses a variety of different cultural and recreational activities. This includes the Oregon Zoo, Portland Children’s Museum, World Forestry Center, Hoyt Arboretum, International Rose Test Garden, Portland Japanese Gardens, Water Bureau reservoirs, as well as memorials, playgrounds, archery range, and miles of trails. The development of the Grand Entry will include new signage, monumentation, new landscape, lighting, and site furnishings that speak to the grand nature of this regional treasure. We are very excited about the possibilities the entry holds. Through the revision and ultimate creation of this new entry, we will deliver what is a long-serving iconic main entrance to the park. The development of the Grand Entry will follow through on the visioning that took place in the master plan and in 2012 during the South Entry Vision work, as well as give this beloved world-class destination park the sense of arrival it so desperately deserves and requires.
Improve Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Vehicular Access / Circulation
Increasing access for bicycle and pedestrian park users is a critical component of this project. Coming from Highway 26 there is a significant increase of bicycles and pedestrians that are directed through this entrance and we anticipate these numbers will grow. Directly south of the Highway 26 off-ramp the 4-T trail terminates and sends people over the highway towards SW Knight Blvd. Additionally, during large events (i.e. ZooLights) overflow parking has the effect of creating increased demands on this area, creating conflicts between bikes, cars, and pedestrians. To better accommodate bicycle and pedestrian traffic, we are proposing the creation of a six foot wide sidewalk that would parallel both sides of SW Knight Blvd into the park. In addition to sidewalks, we would also provide bicycle lanes that would generally parallel these new walks. Finally, we are working with engineers to develop street and lane configurations that we hope will help alleviate some of the congestion with vehicular traffic this entrance often sees, including bus staging areas.
Should you have feedback we would love to hear from you. Please contact Project Manager, Travis Ruybal at email@example.com.
- Conceptual Design and Analysis: Spring 2020
- Construction Documentation: Summer 2020
- Permitting and Bidding: Winter / Spring 2021
- Construction: Fall 2021 through Spring 2022
- Grand Opening: Summer 2022