Every street has a public right-of-way. It’s all the space between parcels of land: not only the street but also sidewalks, parking strips and curbs, both above ground and below.
The right-of-way grows crowded as we find more ways to use it:
- Transportation: people walking and using buses, cars, bikes, wheelchairs, freight trucks, scooters, and more
- Utilities: stormwater, sewer, water, electricity, natural gas, telecommunications and more
- Trees and greenery
- Community: restaurant seating and other gathering spaces
Crowded rights-of-way means policies sometimes conflict. 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 starts with assumption that all right-of-way uses are valuable and aims to identify opportunities to share space or utilize minimum dimensions when there is not space to meet all desired widths or clearances. In some cases, tradeoffs may need to be made where everything does not fit. Streets 2035 will not dictate those tradeoffs, but rather create a framework for their consideration. This framework will:
- Confirm what uses should be considered in the right-of-way with new PBOT projects and for property development
- Provide clarity on existing city policies and how they should be applied to projects in the right-of-way when space is limited
- Cut down on cases in which city bureaus and staff negotiate with each other when infrastructure needs compete for space
- Increase certainty and clarity for property development — which often includes work both next to the right-of-way and within it
The project will put right-of-way policy and process into action, including:
- Guidelines for allocating space on different street types
- Graphics that show options for balancing multiple uses of the right-of-way
- New tools and processes for City staff who review development applications and plan capital projects
- Updates to city code and administrative rules, as needed
- A project resource website that brings together multi-bureau resources for City staff and those wishing to develop in and adjacent to the right-of-way
|Discovery||2019 into 2020 (complete)|
|Right-of-way policy development||Mid to late 2020 into 2021 (in progress)|
|Implementation and tools development||2021 into 2022|
Discovery was the first phase of Streets 2035. It evaluated existing conditions in the right-of-way. This included:
- Identifying the most frequent conflicts bureaus have when carrying out their policies. These are the issues Streets 2035 is addressing.
- Describing how conditions vary in different parts of the city.
- Defining street typesas a basis for decision-making.
Results of this phase are in the document at the bottom of this page.
In Phase 2, we’ll create clearer guidance on balancing existing City policies based on everything we discovered in Phase 1.
Note that Streets 2035 does not influence how projects are selected for funding or expectations of community involvement during project development.
Who is involved?
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) manages the right-of-way and leads this project — but it’s not alone. PBOT is consulting with partner bureaus and advisory committees in this phase. Public engagement will become important once clearer consolidated guidance for balancing existing policies is available for review.
- Bureaus and partner agencies that influence transportation access and movement, stormwater management, water distribution, private utilities, tree canopy and community use.
- Advisory Committees focused on Urban Forestry, bicycle, pedestrian, development and more.
Technical Advisory Group
- Matt Berkow (Project Manager, PBOT)
- Teresa Montalvo (Development, Permitting & Transit, PBOT)
- Denver Igarta (Policy, Planning & Projects, PBOT)
- Kurt Krueger (Development, Permitting & Transit, PBOT)
- Wendy Cawley (Traffic Design, PBOT)
- Kim Roske (Civil Design, PBOT)
- Michelle Marx (Pedestrian Coordinator, PBOT)
- Roger Geller (Bicycle Coordinator, PBOT)
- April Bertelsen (Transit Coordinator, PBOT)
- Bob Hillier (Freight Coordinator, PBOT)
- Kathryn Doherty-Chapman (Parking Services, PBOT)
- Ryan Mace (Utilities, Construction & Inspection, PBOT)
- 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)
We’re also consulting with City bureau directors, managers and subject-matter experts, both within and outside of Technical Advisory Group meetings.
City advisory bodies and other stakeholders
We report to and seek feedback from City Advisory Bodies. They speak up for community needs and help make sure the project’s goals match with everyday reality on our streets. Here’s when we've met with these groups:
|Urban Forestry Commission||10/18/18, 2/20/20, 2/18/21|
|Development Review Advisory Committee||7/18/19, 5/21/20|
|Bicycle Advisory Committee||10/22/19|
|Pedestrian Advisory Committee||11/19/19|
|Portland Freight Committee||7/1/21|
|Bureau and Budget Advisory Committee||6/17/21|
|Planning and Development Directors||1/9/20, 12/10/20|
|Planning and Sustainability Commission||5/25/21|
|Homebuilders Association||7/2/19, 5/20/20|
Update June 2021 – The Phase 1 summary report came out July of last year (linked below). The project is currently in the middle of Phase 2. Progress was slowed due to the pandemic, but the project continues to work through a framework for addressing the topics identified in the Phase 1 report. There is still much to do. As the framework takes shape, the project manager will provide updates to the city’s advisory bodies for feedback.
Matt Berkow, Streets 2035 Project Manager