Allocating space in the right-of-way is not always straightforward. The public right-of-way is the space between private parcels of lane: the street and the area along the street including sidewalks and curbs, both above and below the ground. It is increasingly crowded since it includes:
- Transportation: buses, cars, bicycles, wheelchairs, walking, freight, scooters, and more
- Utilities: stormwater management, sewers, water, electricity, natural gas, telecommunications and more
- Trees and greenery
- Places for community gathering and events
Current policies are clear for individual uses of the right-of-way (e.g. transit, trees, or water lines). For example, transit network classifications in the Transportation System Plan designate the highest priority streets for transit. And spacing requirements aim to ensure trees, water lines, and other infrastructure are not located too close to each other.
Limited space in the right-of-way, however, can make it difficult to adhere to all applicable policies in all situations. Case-by-case decisions to balance competing demands on the right-of-way can at times result in inconsistent application and missed opportunities for achieving citywide objectives - be they for moving people, moving goods, or for delivering essential utility services. We need a citywide framework that binds these various policies and guides decision-making for the right-of-way.
Creating a citywide right-of-way framework
Streets 2035 aims to develop context-sensitive decision-making framework that guides space allocation in the right-of-way to:
- Better achieve citywide and individual bureau goals
- Reduce situations that require individual interpretation and inter-bureau negotiation
- Increase certainty and clarity for people wishing to develop in and adjacent to the ROW
- Create a consistent starting point for capital projects design development
The project will put right-of-way policy and process into action, including:
- A website to explain the right-of-way allocation decision-making framework
- Graphics that illustrate the placement (separation/mixing of functions) and dimensions (minimum and preferred) of street elements in the right-of-way, in varying space constraints and land use contexts
- Updated tools and processes for city staff who review development applications and plan capital projects
- Updates to city code or administrative rules as needed to operationalize the decision-making framework
|Discovery||2019 into 2020|
|Right-of-way policy development||Mid to late 2020 into 2021|
|Implementation and tools development||2021 into 2022|
Who is involved?
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) manages the right-of-way and is leading the Streets 2035 project, but it is not working alone. As established in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan, public rights-of-way provide multiple public services. This includes multimodal transportation access and movement, stormwater management, water distribution, private utilities, tree canopy, and community use.
Throughout this effort, PBOT will consult with other bureaus and partner agencies whose plans, policies and design standards influence the right-of-way; and private stakeholders such as utility companies, developers, and others whose operations rely on the right-of-way.
Technical Advisory Group
- Matt Berkow (Project Manager)
- Teresa Montalvo (Development, Permitting & Transit)
- Denver Igarta (Policy, Planning & Projects)
- Kurt Krueger (Development, Permitting & Transit)
- Wendy Cawley (Traffic Design)
- Kim Roske (Civil Design)
- Michelle Marx (Pedestrian Coordinator)
- Roger Geller (Bicycle Coordinator)
- April Bertelsen (Transit Coordinator)
- Bob Hillier (Freight Coordinator)
- Kathryn Doherty-Chapman (Parking Services)
- Ryan Mace (Utilities, Construction & Inspection)
- Elisabeth Reese Cadigan (Bureau of Environmental Services)
- Jenn Cairo (PP&R Urban Forestry)
- Marty Stockton (Bureau of Planning and Sustainability)
- David O'Longaigh (Portland Water Bureau)
- Tim Heron (Bureau of Developmental Services)
A wide group of the management team and subject matter experts will be consulted throughout the process in and outside of advisory group meetings to ensure tradeoffs and project considerations are well vetted. Directors of impacted bureaus will be consulted and regularly kept up to date.
City advisory bodies and other stakeholders
The Streets 2035 project team will report to and seek feedback from City Advisory Bodies such as the Urban Forestry Commission, the Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Development Review Advisory Committee. These stakeholder groups will be consulted to raise community considerations and needs and help make sure project considerations match with everyday reality on our streets. Below is a summary of outreach to these groups to date during their regularly scheduled meeting times.
|Urban Forestry Commission||10/18/18, 2/20/20, 2/18/21|
|Homebuilders Association||7/2/19, 5/20/20|
|Development Review Advisory Committee||7/18/19, 5/21/20|
|Bicycle Advisory Committee||10/22/19|
|Pedestrian Advisory Committee||11/19/19|
|Planning and Development Directors||1/9/20, 12/10/20|
The first phase of Streets 2035 evaluated existing conditions in the right-of-way. This includes how right-of-way conditions vary in different parts of the city, issues encountered by various agencies when implementing policies in the right-of-way, and an evaluation of street types as a basis for context-based decision-making. The results of this phase are summarized in the document below.
Matt Berkow, Streets 2035 Project Manager